News & Events
Mar 24, 2017
Twenty-five years of the Stations of the Cross
This year will mark 25 years that I have led the Stations of the Cross up Mt. Tzouhalem in Duncan.
Twenty-four years ago when our children were aged 13, 12 and 9, I asked Fr. John Cardo, then-pastor at St. Edwards, “Would you mind if we led a ‘Stations of the Cross’ experience on Mt. Tzouhalem?” He responded, “Go for it.”
What began with a few families has grown to as many as 100 people making their way to the top. We start with an opening prayer and song on the steps of St. Ann’s Church. We stop at the 14 Stations that I have marked the day before, and hang a wooden cross. I choose different readers for each Station, and provide a child’s version at each, inviting different children to read. People also take turns carrying a larger cross to the top.
It takes about two hours to get to the top of Mt. Tzouhalem, and when we reach the summit we conduct the Veneration of the Cross, with prayers and song. Some people choose to stay and have a light lunch that they bring, and some return to attend the 3pm Good Friday Service at St. Edwards. Over the years we have had priests from St. Edward’s and St. Ann’s join us, and were delighted to have Bishop Gary join us in 2015.
Many who come belong to different parishes of the Diocese—Duncan, Victoria, Nanaimo and elsewhere—and some are from different denominations or faiths. We are connected by the solemnity of this journey, and the beauty of our earth.
We travel this path regardless of the weather. We have climbed in sun, rain, snow, wind, clouds—whatever God gives us that day, we accept. There was only one occasion when, for reasons of safety, we made a decision to walk around the parking lot and driveway of St. Ann’s and concluded with a service in the church, as the wind was howling and trees were coming down. In Everyone’s Way of the Cross by Clarence Enzler, Christ speaks: “These 14 steps that you are now about to walk you do not take alone. I walk with you. Though you are you, and I am I, yet we are truly one—one Christ. And therefore, my way of the Cross two thousand years ago and your ‘way’ now are also one. But note this difference: my life was incomplete until I crowned it by my death. Your 14 steps will only be complete when you have crowned them by your life.”
I invite you to join us. We meet at 9am on Good Friday (April 14), in front of St. Ann’s church. No dogs please; dress for the weather; and be prepared for exertion. The walk is rigorous, and is not undertaken lightly. If one wants, they can start with us, go to the first Station, and then return.
Written by Mary Hof, a parishioner of St. Edward’s in Duncan. For more information about this year’s Way of the Cross, email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.