On Good Friday, which falls on April 15, thousands of Cincinnatians will ascend the steps of Holy Cross-Immaculata (HCI) in Mount Adams for the annual Praying of the Steps event.
The practice of "praying the steps" is a Cincinnati tradition that started in the 1850s, "when Archbishop Purcell asked people to climb the hillside, praying that enough money would be raised to build Immaculata Church," says a release from the church.
Every year since that first Praying of the Steps, Cincinnatians and out-of-towners (some even traveling from other countries) alike have made a pilgrimage to the Mount Adams holy site on Good Friday.
The pilgrimage up the hillside begins at 12:01 a.m. on Good Friday, with Catholics (or anyone of any religion — or non-religion) reciting a "Hail Mary," praying the rosary, saying "Lord Jesus, thank you for your most holy sacrifice" or reflecting on their own while making their way up the 100ish steps from St. Gregory Street to the church.
The church will be open throughout the night after the 7 p.m. Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Thursday and for the full 24 hours on Friday. On Wednesday and Thursday, the church will be open for private prayer from 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Visitors can find votive candles inside the church to use for prayer intentions. Prayer requests can also be written in the intention book. The Sacrament of Reconciliation will be offered both inside and outside of the church when priests are available.
Parishioners will be serving doughnuts and coffee to visitors from 6 a.m.-1 p.m. while supplies last. Unfortunately, hungry visitors will have to go without the church’s annual fish fry this year, as it had to be canceled due to supply chain issues.
Depending perhaps on the athletic ability of the visitors, the steps leading up to HCI are divided into three separate sections: The upper steps, which begin on St. Gregory Street just below the church’s entrance (the easiest option); the middle steps, which begin on Columbia Parkway; and the lower steps, which begin on Riverside Drive (the most physically-challenging option).
Good Friday services will be held at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and will include the reading of the Passion Narrative, reception of Holy Communion and the Veneration of the Cross.
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