Praying of the Steps Returns to Mount Adams' Holy Cross-Immaculata Church on Good Friday

Mount Adams' Holy Cross-Immaculata Church has announced the return of a beloved Holy Week tradition: The Praying of the Steps.

Praying the steps

Mount Adams' Holy Cross-Immaculata Church has announced the return of a beloved Holy Week tradition: The Praying of the Steps.

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley gave the parish the OK to move ahead with the annual ascent, which typically draws a large crowd. (Holy Cross-Immaculata does note that those with a compromised immune system — or those who want to avoid crowds — may wish to visit earlier in the week and conduct their prayers then.)

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. 

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.

Due to COVID restrictions, the church canceled the praying of the steps and all other associated Good Friday events last year.  

This year, Holy Cross-Immaculata will be open for prayer 9 a.m.-6 p.m. March 29-April 1. Volunteers will be present to help light votive candles or to help the public "spend time in adoration of the relic of the cross that will be on display," says the church.

And then the church will stay open from the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday through 11 p.m. Friday. 

Good Friday services will be held at 7 p.m.; there will not be afternoon service or food and drink. Those who wish to dine before or after are encouraged to visit Mount Adams eateries. 

Social distancing and occupancy restrictions will be in place in Holy Cross-Immaculata and masks are required,

For more information, visit

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