“Praying the Steps” at Holy Cross Immaculata, and Helping a Friend in Need


Atop Mount Adams, the highest point in Cincinnati, Ohio, stands Holy Cross Immaculata Church.  Overlooking the downtown area and the Ohio River, it is a beacon of faith to local Catholics.

On Good Friday, pilgrims from the local community and around the world flock to the historic church for a 150-year-old tradition called “Praying the Steps.”

From midnight on Holy Thursday until midnight on Good Friday, more than 10,000 pilgrims climb the long winding staircase to the church, praying the rosary or other devotions along the way.  Sometimes three generations of a family will come to participate; sometimes travelers come great distances to share in this tradition which recalls Christ’s journey to Calvary.

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Father Kyle Schnippel


In residence at Holy Cross Immaculata is Father Kyle Schnippel, who serves as Vocations Director for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

Father Schnippel woke on the morning of March 14 in the rectory and walked downstairs….to find his iPad, iPhone and personal Macbook all missing from where he had left them the night before.

Father Schnippel remembered locking all the doors and windows before turning in for the night.  As dawn broke, though, he was able to see that the screen in one of the rectory windows had been busted out.  He’d been robbed!

The following day was a blur of activity:  police reports were filed, service for the missing electronics was stopped, and gradually, some of the items were recovered.

  • The stolen phone was found along the Columbia Parkway and returned; but the thief had tossed it out the car window, leaving the screen broken and black.  
  • The stolen iPad was sold via eBay; but when the recipient opened it and saw via the lock screen that it had been stolen, he called the number and left a message about it.   Father Schnippel returned the call, and the purchaser of the stolen iPad returned it at no cost.  He also provided the seller’s name, address and contact number to police investigators.
  • Father Schnippel contacted Apple Customer Care, where he encountered a very helpful service representative.  The line he remembers, spoken by one of the Apple representatives: “I am going to stay on the line with you until I get you to the right person who can help you with this issue.” 

So little by little, Father Schnippel’s life returns to normal.  Insurance will cover some of the replacement costs; but the parish and Father Schnippel will need to cover the cost of a large deductible.  

Friends, led by Catholic blogger Sarah Vabulas (Catholic Drinkie) and blogger and stewardship professional Tom Pringle, have set up a donation site and are raising funds to cover the insurance deductible, and to upgrade security at the rectory.  If you’re able to help with a large or small gift, click here.

And if you’d like to learn more about “Praying the Steps,” check out this video!


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