Dutchess Cluster Unites Parishes For Stations of the Cross

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Hope Andrews knew this was no ordinary Friday evening at Stations of the Cross.

“Hearing all the voices praying, it really hit me,” she said.

The 16-year-old was referring to the nearly 200 people in attendance at St. Stanislaus Kostka in Pleasant Valley on Feb. 19 for the first Stations of the Cross organized by five parishes in the Northeast Cluster of Dutchess County.

It was the second Friday of Lent, and the first of five where one church hosted the Stations of the Cross for all parishes in the Northeast Cluster. It’s one way the cluster is carrying out the Making All Things New pastoral planning process “to strengthen and enhance parish life in the Archdiocese of New York and to assist the archdiocese in serving its Catholic faithful most effectively.”

Father John Backes, the pastor of St. Stanislaus Kostka, was encouraged by the turnout. On Feb. 12, 30 parishoners attended Stations at St. Stanislaus. “We had no idea how many people would come,” he said. “It’s encouraging to see this many people, and it’s going to grow each week.”

A decision was made at a Northeast Cluster meeting to bring the parishes together for the Stations of the Cross. Each church held its own Stations of the Cross on the first Friday of Lent and will do so again on Good Friday, March 25.

Five parishes in the cluster—St. Stanislaus Kostka, St. Joseph’s in Millbrook on Feb. 26, Immaculate Conception in Amenia on March 4, St. Charles Borromeo in Dover Plains on March 11 and St. John the Evangelist in Pawling on March 18—are each hosting Stations of the Cross for the cluster on one of the remaining five Fridays in Lent.

“Clusters are supposed to work together. Parishes are supposed to come up with ideas and plans to assist each other in spiritual and educational missions,’’ said Msgr. Gerardo J. Colacicco, pastor of St. Joseph’s.

“We share all of them. We advertise for our parishioners to attend programs at other parishes.”

Eileen Moore, a parishioner at St. Joseph’s, was one of the visitors at St. Stanislaus Kostka with her husband Lonn.

“We were at the Stations of the Cross (on the first Friday of Lent) and felt rewarded spiritually,” she said. “We’re going to enjoy seeing how other churches are doing this.”

At St. Stanislaus, the Stations featured a presentation with images of paintings by Father Sieger Koder on a video screen. The paintings illustrated the 14 Stations of the Cross and are featured in the book, “The Folly of God” by John Caputo. It’s a presentation Father Backes has used each Lenten season in his years at St. Stanislaus Kostka.

“It was awesome,’’ said Ms. Andrews, a member of parish youth group at St. Stanislaus Kostka. “I’ve come here the last few years for the Stations of the Cross. The pictures got me a little emotional. It’s bringing you a certain type of realization and reflection of what Jesus went through, and where I see Jesus in my life. I can reflect on my life and how Jesus has been there for me.”

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