For more than a century, every Good Friday, the faithful have been ascending the steps at Holy Cross-Immaculata in Mount Adams.
The practice of "praying the steps" is a Cincinnati tradition that 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 praying or reflecting on their own while making their way up 100ish steps from St. Gregory Street to the church.
But this year, April 8 will see no one making the journey, which typically ends in donuts, coffee, LaRosa's pizza and an evening fish fry.
After Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine extended his Stay at Home order through May 1 (the original lift date was April 6), Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati continued the suspension of public Catholic mass and liturgies through May 3.
"Out of deep concern for the common good, as well as the physical and spiritual well-being of all the people of Ohio, the Catholic Bishops of Ohio have agreed once again to cooperate with the governor’s direction," Schnurr said in a release. "To that end, the Catholic Bishops of Ohio extend the temporary suspension of all publicly celebrated Masses/liturgies at least through and including Sunday May 3rd. The Bishops of Ohio dispense the Catholic faithful who reside in their respective dioceses and all other Catholics currently in Ohio from the obligation of attending Sunday Mass during this time period."
"The most sacred week of the church year and all the services are canceled," Holy Cross-Immaculata's Father Len Fecko told WCPO of the cancellation. "No one would ever think that would happen in their lifetime."
Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday masses will still be streaming online, in both English and Spanish, from St. Peter in Chains Cathedral for those who wish to watch.
This year is the 160th anniversary of the church's first mass, held in 1860. Holy Cross has been asking visitors and others to give $20 in 2020 to help keep up the historic building.
Holy Cross-Immaculata is located at 30 Guido St., Mount Adams.