NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. - From the steps of Sacred Heart Church on Throop Avenue, they began the Via Crucis, or the Stations of the Cross.

The solemn, yet elaborate re-enactment of the day of his Jesus' crucifixion,  from the moment he was condemned to death till he was placed in his tomb, moved down Throop Avenue on Friday afternoon.

The 500 or so people who not only participated but followed the procession then turned down Townsend Street before finally arriving at St. Joseph's on Maple Street.

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Mothers pushed babies in strollers, fathers walked with their children and seniors clenched their hands together. They walked and they prayed.

Many others watched from windows and porches as the procession moved across the city.

Jesus' suffering resonates deeply with these people, said the spiritual leader at Sacred Heart.

"The people here have suffered so immensely," Father Kevin Kelly said before the event. "Like the people who will be walking today. I know them. I know their stories, why they left their counties of origin. I know their problems. Everything for undocumented is triply difficult.

Kelly said this is the sixth the congregants have staged Via Crucis. He said hundreds of people were involved, from the actors portraying the Roman soldiers and Pontius Pilate to the costume makers to the musicians to those who had to organize securing the route with the city's police department.

Kelly said the preparations for this day started in January.

"Every year we make an announcement like we're going to start doing rehearsal," he said. "Everybody comes out."

To mark Good Friday, municipal offices, the county courthouse and other institutions were closed.