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Posted on Jul 9, 2012 | 3 comments

A Long, Hot Climb

A Long, Hot Climb

Event co-organizers Beth Lichter (left) and Ava Straight (right) after surviving the climb.

The intrepid few who turned out for Pray the Steps for Freedom on the 4th of July found out why “praying the steps” is generally a once-a-year proposition.

The steps to Holy Cross-Immaculata are steep. There’s no shade. And in 100-degree weather, it’s a test of will as well as a test of faith.

About 18 young people (plus one who didn’t get the message to do only the short set, and who prayed the whole extra hundred by himself) turned out for the Fortnight for Freedom event organized by Greater Cincinnati Young Adults for Life, a good turnout considering that it was dreamed up only days before and advertised only on Facebook (and The Catholic Beat). And considering the ongoing, oven-like heat.

Fore more than 180 years, Catholics have prayed the rosary on the steps of the Mt. Adams (OH) church on Good Friday. The weather hazards then are usually rain and cold temperatures. On July 2, says co-organizer Beth Lichter, “it was 98 degrees in the shade!” The intrepid “prayer warriors,” armed with water bottles and rosaries, headed up the stairs led by one of the organization’s officers, Joe Burwinkel.

“We actually ended the last few Glorious Mysteries in the church itself, and it was amazing to hear the building echo with all the voices,” says Lichter. “The church had three red, white, and blue votive candles near the altar rail, and I was so glad we were able to pray Our Lady’s Rosary right there in her church, the Immaculata.”

Participant Albert Bloomfield says he was glad to make the climb despite the heat. “I participated for the simple reason that one of my friends was organizing it and it was something simple, visible, but not ostentatious, to do for the Fortnight for Freedom, which up until that point had mostly passed me by unobserved,” he says. “The refreshing coolness of the church for the last three mysteries and the icy-coldness of the water we drank afterwards were a welcome change from the burning heat of the sun.”

After the climb the prayer warriors took one last trip together, to the Mt. Adams UDF for ice cream. Talk turned to upcoming projects for the group and Fourth of July celebrations later that day, but all agreed it would be a day to remember, and not just because of the record-breaking temperatures.

“It is really something to be standing on those steps, praying, and look up to the Blessed Mother and the Cross,” says Lichter.

Photos courtesy Greater Cincinnati Young Adults for Life. See a photo gallery here.


  1. I started at the base of the steps (near Riverside Drive). I got to the bottom steps as the last of them were finishing at the top, and wasn’t sure until later when I saw them at UDF that they were this group. So you can add one to your figure of prayer attendees.

    • You’re added! You are the Champion Prayer Warrior, because you did the whole set up steps and you did them by yourself!

    • Oh wow, I feel horrible about that! We wondered if anyone would miss us and waited at the meeting place on the lower level til about 1:15 – so sorry we missed you!
      THANK YOU for coming and way to go all by yourself – such an inspiration!