It is a vivid and dramatic re-enactment.
The Passion of Christ, complete with Pontius Pilate, roman soldiers, distraught women and children. It starts each year at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Takoma Park.
"What Jesus did for us by sacrificing his life for everyone. And we all should continue in this walk with him," says parishioner Jessika Cardenas.
Thousands gather and then re-create, on busy roads and through quiet neighborhoods, the stations of the cross: Christ's tortured walk to his death on a cross on Good Friday.
But even as solemn as this day is for Christians, there is an undercurrent of excitement here this year because there is a new pope and new hope.
Pope Francis, from Argentina, is the first pope from the Americas, and these faithful are part of Washington's growing Hispanic community.
"His humility is something that we really admire and something that as a Franciscan parish we try to strive for, too," says Vicky Lopez, a St. Camillus parishioner.
And as they made their way toward St. Camillus Church in Silver Spring, the sadness of the day was tempered by faith in the resurrection of Easter Sunday.