I’m all about traditions. They give a real sense of stability in a not-so stable world. In fact, the sense of tradition is one of the things that I love most about my Catholic faith.
One tradition that I’ve grown to cherish takes place every year on Good Friday here in Cincinnati. It is praying the steps to Holy Cross-Immaculata Parish. My dad prayed the steps as a boy and it’s a tradition he has passed down to my sisters and me.
You can watch a video about the tradition here.
Two years ago, I did an article on the tradition for St. Anthony Messenger, so I gathered my dad and my two oldest kids, Maddie and Alex, and headed out on a very rainy Good Friday to pray the steps. I wanted to pass on the tradition to my kids. It turned out to be one of those mom moments that gets imprinted on your heart for years. My kids prayed silently for over an hour–no fidgeting, no whining, no fighting, no “Mom, this is boring.” Just quiet. In my life that’s very rare. In society it’s even more rare.
Father Marty Moran, pastor of Holy Cross-Immaculata, spoke to that phenomena in our 2009 interview when he pointed out that it can take up to an hour and a half to make it up the steps. That says a lot, he says “in an age of no patience.”
The tradition has certainly changed over time. It began with people walking up a dirt hill to pray at a makeshift cross. These days, people climb newly built steps and can download a brand new app to use while praying the steps, complete with the history of the tradition and prayers. But no matter how the times change, the people keep coming–eight to-10,000 of them–for over 150 years.
It has changed for me personally, too. Since the four of us prayed the steps two years ago my dad suffered a minor stroke and I gave birth to my daughter, Kacey. But amidst all those changes, there are still traditions to hold on to, to provide solid grounding. That is why today Maddie, Alex and I will head to the steps to take part in the type of tradition we need in today’s crazy world.