Friday, April 10, 2009

The Steps

The steps to Christ are long and hard. That is because of our sinful nature.

Today LuAnn I experienced some new steps in our walk. We went to Cincinnati to walk the steps to the Immaculata Cathedral on the top of Mount Adams.

The weather was rainy and dreary, appropriate for such a walk. People lined up farther than the eye can see to walk the walk and pray a prayer at each step. Rosary beads were common.

The crowd is silent and solemn, just like we need to be in our walk. We are humbled at what we have been given and the steps to get there.

The city replaced 85 steps and the church repaired the silent bells that are a long tradition in that community.

"Faithful return to the Steps
Curfew closed Mount Adams vigil last yearBy William A. Weathers, The Cincinnati Enquirer

By 11:55 p.m. Thursday night more than 150 people were lined up waiting to make the walk up the 85 steps to Holy Cross-Immaculata Church in Mount Adams.

Ed Duesing, 50, of Bellevue, Ky., and his mother, Vera “Boots'' Duesing, 74, of Fort Thomas, Ky., started their ascent up the steps a few minutes before Good Friday officially arrived. “Over the years we used to do this with my dad,” Mr. Duesing said of the Good Friday pilgrimage in which worshipers pause to say a prayer on each step as they climb to the top. “He died. I do it now with my mom. It takes her a little longer (than in previous years).”

I did it so long with my husband,” Mrs. Duesing said as she held on to the rail and slowly mounted the steps. “It's been kind of family tradition for me. It's been 45 years,” Stuart Press, a 49-year-old Northside resident said of the climb up the church steps. Only extraordinary circumstances could keep him from attending, he said.

“Last year I missed for the first time since 10,” Mr. Press said. Then, Mr. Press said, he was working for Red Cross helping feed the police offficers who were on duty enforcing a citywide curfew. The curfew was imposed following violence and vandalism that occurred after a Cincinnati police officer shot and killed an unarmed suspect who was fleeing police in Over-the-Rhine.

In 2001, the curfew prohibited people from “praying the steps"' until the curfew ended at 6 a.m. on Good Friday morning. By 12:15 a.m. Friday, the church steps were filled with people four abreast making the ascent. Dozens of others were lined up at the foot of the steps awaiting their turn.

“May the Lord guide us now and direct our journey in safety,” Father Stanley H. Neiheisel, pastor of Holy Cross-Immaculata Church, said in prayer as he led the procession up the steps. The tradition of praying the steps evolved from Cincinnati Archbishop John B. Purcell's request that people pray for the project while the church was being built on the highest point in Cincinnati. And they did as they climbed the muddy slopes to the construction site. The cornerstone of “The Church of the Steps” was laid in 1859 and the church was dedicated in 1860. The church was constructed of stone quarried from the slopes of Mount Adams. In 1911, the city of Cincinnati helped the church build concrete steps to replace wooden ones."

It was quite an event, one I think could become a tradition until we can't climb those steps anymore.

Ed Winkle


  1. It was good to see you on the way, God Bless and Happy Easter.

  2. You too, Father. Easter Vigil was, well, no words to describe it. God Bless!