CNA Newsroom, Jan 14, 2023 / 08:00 am (CNA).
The largest Stations of the Cross in South America, located in the city of Tandil in the Buenos Aires province in Argentina, turned 80 on Jan. 10.
Bishop Fortunato Devoto — then auxiliary bishop of Buenos Aires — along with his cousin, Pedro Redolatti, promoted the initiative, which was finally dedicated in 1943.
The crucifix depicting the 12th station is almost 50 feet tall. The other sculptures representing Christ’s Way of the Cross are about twice life-size.
The faithful and tourists can get to the crucifix by climbing a 195-step stone staircase that goes up the hill on which the crucifix stands.
The Via Crucis is a very popular site for those visiting the mountainous area of Buenos Aires province and is one of the most impressive sites in the city of Tandil.
Contributing to the construction of the project were the municipality of Tandil and the provincial and national governments, as well as private donors.
The original cross was made from a 100-year-old conifer tree, a donation from the director of Provincial Parks, Ezequiel Bustillo. Over time the cross deteriorated, and in 1949 it was replaced by a cement one.
The dedication ceremony was attended by the then president of Argentina, Ramón Castillo, and the mayor of the city of Tandil, William Leeson.
Among the clergy present were the apostolic nuncio, Bishop Giuseppe Fietta; the bishop of Azul, César Caneva; Bishop Miguel D’Andrea, auxiliary bishop of Buenos Aires; and Father Julio Chienno, the pastor of Tandil.
It is estimated that the dedication ceremony was attended by about 40,000 people. By then, Bishop Fortunato Devoto had already passed away — he died in 1941.
During Holy Week, thousands of believers from different parts of Argentina and other countries come to the Via Crucis.
In the first few days of 2023, the National Commission of Monuments, Places, and Historical Assets of the Chamber of Deputies (lower house) issued its opinion in favor of having the Mount Calvary of Tandil declared a National Historic Monument.
A bill to that effect was introduced in June 2022 by Rogelio Iparraguirre, a representative in the Chamber of Deputies. If it becomes law, it will enable greater investment for the site’s conservation.
This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.
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