PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — St. Ann’s Catholic Church held a Good Friday processional in Peoria to spread the message of Christ to the poor.

Father Jeremy Freehill, a pastor at St. Ann’s Catholic Church, led a group of more than 50 parishioners on a walk around the Southside neighborhood of Peoria. Every few blocks, the group paused at outdoor stations of the cross while Freehill recited prayers.

“So as we walk the streets, we contemplate Christ, but also his suffering today in the lives of many poor people. But it’s also an opportunity to take the church to the streets, to also go with Christ, two people who are often very marginalized, who are often isolated, and to go to them like Jesus to show them the Father’s love and mercy,” he said.

Freehill said the goal of the walk is to see Christ’s suffering in the poor and spread love.

“To go out to the margins, to go out to people. Get involved in their lives, sometimes just with a smile and a hello, and to show people, especially to the suffering and the marginalized, God’s love,” he said.

He said he was impressed with the turnout, adding it’s the first time doing the Good Friday processional.

“I’m happy to see a lot of people, including families. [I’m] excited to take people with me to the streets,” he said.

Freehill said he hopes it becomes a new tradition for the church.