Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday started early in Cincinnati

Last night, after the Holy Thursday Mass, I wanted to get something to eat. It's probably no surprise, but seminarians are generally in favor of eating, so I brought him along and we went and got some food. Earlier in the day, I'd been telling the seminarian about Cincinnati's custom of "praying the steps," and he wanted to keep the tradition, and wanted to know the starting point.

I'd explained to him that you could start at more than one point: the short set of steps begins on St. Gregory Street in Mount Adams; but there's a second set of steps that goes down to the foot of the hill. I recalled that it began on Riverside (aka Eastern Avenue), but an item online said Columbia Parkway. I was pretty sure that was wrong, because you can't park on Columbia.

So, after a late dinner, we drove down there.

First I drove along Columbia Parkway. (Hint: folks along there get excited when you drive under 40 miles per hour.) Couldn't see any steps. Drove along Riverside. Lots of new construction there since I last prayed the steps. Couldn't find the steps. So now we drove almost all the way back to Saint Rose and turned up to Taft, and we made our way to Victory Parkway. (Our seminarian, who didn't grow up in Cincinnati, wanted to know how to get there on his own when he headed over after midnight.)

So, through Eden Park, we found our way to "the hill," and wound our way up. I couldn't exactly remember just where St. Gregory Street is--and, anyway, it's not easy driving anywhere on Mount Adams, because of all the one-ways; I always end up going around and around.

We found it. And guess what? The steps were jammed--it was about 10:30 pm.

But where are the other steps, I said to myself. Around we drove, and found them not far away. Putting on my flashers, I parked the car and we jumped out. Thankfully, the city had a sign with a map, showing where the steps ended at the bottom. Just behind the "Adams Landing" development on Riverside. Aha! I said, with a fist-pump; but I realized pilgrims were ascending the stairs, so we cleared out so they could pray.

So, back down the hill we went, and we found the foot of the stairs--not far from where I thought they were, but not actually on Riverside.

Around midnight, our seminarian lit out with some friends to pray the stairs. I don't know when he got back. But I didn't know, till last night, that a good number of folks start the pilgrimage on Holy Thursday night.

1 comment:

Mark Milliron said...

You can indeed begin praying the steps on Columbia Parkway, but as you mention, you're not able to park at that particular starting point. And, they're not easy to spot when your cruising westbound at 50 mph.

The steps that ascend from the parkway begin on the north side of the pedestrian bridge that crosses over the parkway, connecting Adam's Crossing to Hill Street in Mt. Adams. Literally, the steps are at the foot of the hill.

Our family traditionally prays the steps very early on Good Friday morning - we're there between 4:30-5:00am. We've always found plenty of parking in Immaculata's lot on Guido Street at that hour. The steps are well lit (all the way to Adam's Crossing), and we just quietly walk down all of them to begin at Columbia Parkway without disturbing the few faithful folks already praying on the steps.