|
|
|
The Dansville Online
  • Wayland Cross Walk celebrates 40 years

  • This Good Friday at noon, an expected 75 people from differing Christian denominations and from outlying towns will meet  in front of Wayland Town Court to mark the 40th annual Wayland Cross Walk.

    • email print
  • At first it seemed as if no one was going to show.
    It was Good Friday 1973. Wayland Cross Walk coordinator John Landino, Wayland Methodist minister Rev. Franke and a handful of others stood at the meeting place in front of Wayland Town Court waiting for 1 p.m. to roll around.
    But as Landino’s watch ticked closer to the start time, no one else was showing. Then, all of the sudden, between 200 and 300 people appeared from out of the woodwork.
    That was the beginning. This Good Friday at noon, an expected 75 people from differing Christian denominations and from outlying towns will meet  in front of Wayland Town Court to mark the 40th annual Wayland Cross Walk.   
    Participants journey two-and-a-half miles from the courthouse – symbolic of Christ’s condemnation – down Fremont Street and Second Ave. Extention, then up Selbig Hill to a 25-foot high steel cross; then two-and-a-half miles back.
    The participants begin with a reading and prayer at the courthouse, then make an additional 13 stops for more readings  that coincide with the Catholic tradition of “The Stations of the Cross.”
    In the walk’s second or third year, St. Joseph’s 8th graders painted the signs marking the different stations.
    “It’s my committment to my Christian faith,” Landino said about what the Cross Walk has meant to him, adding the longevity has been “by the grace of God,” and that it has been an edifying experience.
    Landino said that although he’s been the coordinator for all these years, he prefers to stay in the background and let ministers and other participants take with the readings.
    The inspiration to pursue a cross walk came to Landino while on a hike with his family. He approached Wayland Area Council of Churches with the idea in 1973.
    Since it’s inception that spring, he’s been to all of the walks except for one – and has seen anywhere from five (during rain) to 500 people attend.
    Landino recalled a number of elderly people who attended the walks in the beginning, some well into their 80s and at least one in her 90s, that braved the steep and challenging hill.
    “They’re a hardy group,” he said about the elderly that came, adding that their determination has shown him a strong dedication to their faith.
    He also reminisced about someone having braved the hill in a motorized wheelchair, again a secure devotion of faith.
    A 12-foot tall wooden cross was placed on top of the hill for the hike’s second year.
    Page 2 of 2 - The following year, Landino and Edwin Miller put together the 25-by-15-foot cross that still stands there today. The steel was donated by Foster Wheeler, and was set in place by NYSEG.
    That year saw some 500 people attend, the peak year in attendance, and was popular enough to have garnered attention from Rochester’s Democrat and Chronicle.
    Catholic Courier, a newspaper of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester, has also had stories on the Wayland Cross Walk.
    The wooden cross was replaced because it was vandalized. Today, the I-beamed steel cross stands riddled with bullet holes.
    “It’s kind of sad, really,”?he said, adding he can’t understand why anyone would have the desire to desecrate such a sacred symbol. “That’s the modern age,”?he said.
    A few years ago, the Cross Walk changed its starting time from 1 p.m. to noon, to more closely resemble the hour tradition states Jesus was hung.
    Those wishing to attend the 40th walk only needs to gather at noon on Good Friday, April 6, in front of Wayland Town Court; and be ready for an overall five-mile hike from the courthouse to the top of Selbig Hill and back.

        calendar