Holy Cross-Immaculata Church

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Even before midnight, people began gathering at the foot of Mount Adams to participate in a Good Friday tradition dating back to the late 1860s: praying the steps. 

An estimated 8-10,000 people are expected to climb the stairs up the side of Mount Adams to Holy Cross-Immaculata.  Some pray, some read the Bible, and some meditate.

Church historian Jim Steiner says it's not limited to Catholics.  “It’s a spiritual experience,” he says.  “You don’t have to be Catholic to be spiritual.  You don’t even have to be religious to be spiritual.”

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

It's Good Friday, a holy day of preparation for Christians around the world. In Cincinnati, it also means the return of an annual tradition.

If you've never heard about the annual Good Friday pilgrimage up the Holy Cross-Immaculata church steps in Mt. Adams, then as the saying goes: "You're not from around here, are you?"

It's a rite of passage for many and a yearly tradition for thousands of faithful. People began climbing at midnight, stopping on each step to say a prayer.

The church writes:

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

An annual Good Friday tradition is underway in Mt. Adams.

At midnight, Bishop Joseph Binzer blessed the steps of Holy Cross - Immaculata church and the annual praying of the steps began.

Thousands of people will spend a portion of this Good Friday in prayer and reflection, slowly climbing the steps leading up to the church.

It's a tradition that dates back more than 150 years.