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Day Trip: Walk with Jesus at Indiana shrine

Statues bring Christ's last hours to life

ST. JOHN, Ind. – The Shrine of Christ’s Passion welcomes visitors to experience the walk made by Jesus on his way to crucifixion and resurrection.

A half-mile, paved prayer trail follows the Stations of the Cross. Those who cannot walk well can make the journey in a club car with a guide, but those arrangements must be made by reservation. Contact or call. Wheelchairs also are available by reservation.

Life-size bronze statues bring the walk to life. Forty of them make up the scene, complemented by music and gardens.

The scenes begin with the Last Supper, when Jesus celebrated Passover with his apostles. Viewers proceed to the Agony in the Garden, where they see the anguish on his face as he prays.

Next, Jesus is condemned to death by Pilate. This scene takes place just outside a Roman-style building. From there, visitors tread with him as he carries the cross, walking beside him, almost rubbing elbows with a Roman soldier, and looking on as he’s nailed to a cross.

Three crosses, erected on the path, show his final hour. The journey then takes walkers to his burial, and at last, they witness his resurrection and ascension into heaven. This is depicted by a bronze figure dressed in white, hair blowing in the wind as he rises above the ground.

After taking the walk, guests can visit The Gift Shoppe of the Shrine of Christ’s Passion. Its building is worth a look even if no one wants to buy. A winding staircase leads to the mezzanine level, where you find Christmas items at any time of the year.

The showroom sticks to the Holy Land theme with Roman columns and arches. The building has hand-painted ceiling murals, two fireplaces, a library of inspirational books with chairs for browsing, and an art gallery. Music adds to a relaxing atmosphere.

Also on site is a cafe, which serves beverages and snacks.

The shrine is near other day-trip locations – a 22-minute drive to the Albanese Candy Factory in Merrillville, Indiana, and 37 minutes to Fair Oaks Farms in Fair Oaks, Indiana, in case anyone is interested in combining adventures.

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