March 28, 2023 // Diocese
South Bend Neighborhood Hosts Annual Stations of the Cross
When everything was shut down for Covid in 2020, many Catholics were left wondering how best to celebrate their faith during Holy Week. One South Bend neighborhood, Sunnymede, decided to create a neighborhood outdoor walking Stations of the Cross so that families could honor the week while taking precautions. Lori Divita, a St. Anthony of South Bend parishioner, spearheaded this endeavor and has continued to organize the Sunnymede Stations of the Cross since then, and will continue to do so this year.
Divita said, “I was inspired by an idea posted on Facebook for neighborhood Stations of the Cross as a way for people to make a pilgrimage during Holy Week at a time when churches were closed. Since our Sunnymede neighborhood had some window scavenger hunts that seemed popular during the shutdown, I thought this idea might work well. I contacted a few neighbors from our parish, St. Anthony’s, as well as others who might be interested.”
She continued, “Through a long exchange of emails, Facebook messages, and word of mouth, we ended up with 14 hosting families, from at least 3 local Catholic parishes as well as a Methodist parish. I rounded up yard signs, poster board, and stakes and then printed out the colored images for each station. My husband, Michael, helped make a route map and my children, Mary and Juliana, assisted with covering the signs and adding coloring pages. It was so inspiring that first year to see more than 100 people participating and praying. We had lots of foot and even bicycle and car traffic on the nearby streets for two days. Even when I was ready to take the signs down in the late afternoon on Holy Saturday, pilgrims were still coming.”
Because there was such a positive outpouring of support, Lori and her neighbors decided to continue on with the walking Stations of the Cross yearly. One of the Sunnymede families even donated financially last year in order to be able to professionally print yard signs for each of the stations.
Divita said she has continued to be inspired by the pilgrims who come to the Sunnymede neighborhood to pray. “My favorite part of seeing the Stations of the Cross come to life in my neighborhood is that this is a wonderful way to involve families and children to walk with Jesus on a pilgrimage. It has been so moving to see people of all ages come with prayerful reverence in rain or shine or even snow during Holy Week.”
Divita said that historically, the origins of stations go back to Early Christians in Jerusalem who walked as pilgrims the path that Jesus took before He died. She said, “By having Stations of the Cross in our neighborhood, everyone is invited to journey with Jesus, meditate on His suffering, and to pray for those who carry crosses and are suffering today.”
Anyone is welcome to make the pilgrimage to the Sunnymede neighborhood this coming Holy Week. The Stations of the Cross will go up at the beginning of Holy Week and remain up through Holy Saturday. The route will begin in the 1400 block of Sunnymede and route maps will be posted at each station.
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