Saturday, April 03, 1999

Good Friday: day of prayer and reflection

The Cincinnati Enquirer

[kids with rosaries]
Eden McDaniel and Celeste Shumrick count rosary beads after climbing the steps to Holy Cross-Immaculata Church.
(Glenn Hartong photo)
| ZOOM |
        Tristate Christians commemorated Jesus' death on the cross on Good Friday, in private and public ways.

        Thousands of Protestants and Catholics kept alive a 140-year Cincinnati tradition by climbing the steps to Holy Cross-Immaculata Church in Mount Adams.

        It's 356 steps from Columbia Parkway to the church, at Guido and Pavilion streets, and the faithful stop on each step to say a prayer. Many Catholics carry rosaries and move the beads through their fingers as they ascend.

        Ron Ewing, 61, and his wife, Carol, 59, made the 90-minute climb Friday morning.

        “I've been doing this since high school,” said Mr. Ewing, of Bellevue. “I've missed only a very few times, when it was torrential rain or 10 degrees. It's a devotion I started as a way of quiet reflection.”

        On their minds this Good Friday were three captured U.S. soldiers in Yugoslavia and genocide victims in Kosovo.

        The armed conflict in the Balkans was also in the hearts and on the lips the several hundred people who participated in the 16th annual Way of the Cross/Way of Justice walk Friday afternoon.

        Marchers remembered Jesus' walk to death and affirmed the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 10 stops from Fountain Square to Washington Park in Over-the-Rhine.

        At the Aronoff Center, students from McAuley High School remembered Jesus' fall on his death walk and called for all people to have the right to participate in the cultural life of their community.

        At 13th and Vine streets in Over-the-Rhine, students from Purcell Marian High School recalled Jesus' death on the cross and challenged marchers to hear the voices of the unheard — the poor, homeless and members of inner-city Cincinnati churches that are scheduled to be closed and merged.

        “I hope things like this make a difference inside people so they can go back to their neighborhoods and make a difference,” said Purcell Marian junior Jonathan Williams, 16, of Finneytown.

        Paul Henskens, 37, of Loveland, marched with his wife, Kate, and three children.

        “We want to lead our kids by example,” Mr. Henskens said. “We're all trying to grow closer to God.”

        Said Mrs. Henskens, “It's hard not to feel so frustrated and helpless about the problems in Yugoslavia. This is a way to show our solidarity with people who are suffering.”

        From a playground picnic shelter in Over-the-Rhine, a man screamed and cursed repeatedly at marchers. They continued on their path, singing, “My people, my people, what have I done to you?”

        As they passed the Hamilton County Justice Center on Ninth Street, many marchers looked up and waved. Prisoners waved back, pumping their fists and flashing V-shaped peace signs.


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