Hundreds brave the rain for Way of the Cross ceremony

THE symbolism of the annual Good Friday Way of the Cross ceremony shone through the rain this morning as hundreds of people walked together to Black Hill lookout. 

The march began at St Columba's Cathedral at 10am and made its way up the hill, with the crowd pausing to read scripture and sing hymns. 

Click the image above to see more photos from the ceremony

For Ballarat Bishop Paul Bird, it was only the second time he attended the ceremony. 

He said it had become a traditional march for the Ballarat community to mark Good Friday. 

"It's easy for people to take part," Mr Bird said. 

"It's very symbolic with people walking up the hill, just as Jesus walked up the hill to Calvary."

Bishop Bird said Good Friday was a central day in the Christian calendar, which revolved around Jesus' life, death and resurrection,

"It's the heart of the story," he said.

Good Friday remembers Jesus' death. 

"The first thing written down about Jesus was his death resurrection, and the other memories followed after that." 

Bishop Bird said carrying of the cross was symbolic, and meant different things to different people.

"For many it represents suffering or pain, whether that be loss, or sickness, or something else.

"Many see Jesus in the cross, but they also see their own reflection." 

"It wasn't an easy journey for Jesus, so maybe it shouldn't always be comfortable for us." - Bishop Paul Bird

He said the crowd that attended shows Christians' commitment to the day.

"Footy fans still go to watch the footy in rain, so do the attendees today," Bishop Bird said. 

"It is good to see so many people that came and were prepared to make the journey despite the rain.

"It wasn't an easy journey for Jesus, so maybe it shouldn't always be comfortable for us."

Herman Ruyg has attended the walk for about 40 years and said people always turned up regardless of the weather.

"Whether it's raining or not, there's always a crowd," Mr Ruyg said.

Lynne and Alyssa Britnell attended the walk for the first time this year.

"Usually we go away for Easter, but we were staying in Ballarat this year so thought we'd come down," Lynne said. 

"It's just a good community event to get involved in."

Long-time attendee Richard Francis said it was a great celebration that showed what Easter was all about.

"This world isn't just for ourselves," Mr Francis said. 

"It gives us time to reflect and think what we can do to help others." 

Darren Crockett said he preferred it to be rainy than a fine day.

"It shouldn't always be a nice and comfortable walk," Mr Crockett said.

"It should be a little bit uncomfortable as that is what it was like: uncomfortable.

"I'd be here rain, hail or shine."