Holy Family Shrine has new Stations of Cross

Brightly refinished brass Stations of the Cross set against a wood, cruciform background now line the chapel at the Holy Family Shrine along Interstate 80 near Gretna.

A gift from now-closed Blessed Sacrament Church in Omaha, the stations were made possible in part by a volunteer woodworker and donations that paid for refinishing and protecting the brass against the sunlight that beams into the largely-glass chapel, said caretaker Matt Sakowski of St. Patrick Parish in Gretna.

The stations were installed March 20, just in time for the shrine’s annual Stations of the Cross and soup dinners during Lent, he said. Gatherings were held March 24 and 31, and a similar prayer and dinner get-together will be held April 7 at 6:30 p.m., Sakowski said.

Frequent visitors and newcomers to the shrine will appreciate the faith-filled artistry of the stations, he said.

"A lot of visitors we get through the shrine have never set foot in a Catholic church," Sakowski said. "These stations really grab your attention. And they celebrate all the work – the design, planning and labor – that goes into building a church, a beautiful place to celebrate God."

The shrine had used framed photographs depicting the Stations of the Cross, but the sunlight caused them to fade, Sakowski said. For about nine years, shrine officials sought a proper replacement, he said.

A volunteer mentioned the stations at Blessed Sacrament Parish as that church closed and the congregation merged with St. Philip Neri Parish in 2014, and discussions led to the donation through the pastor, Father John Andrews, Sakowski said.

Larry Ziska, who was chairman of the parishes’ merger committee, said the Holy Family Shrine is a good place for the stations, in part because people attached to the former church can visit and pray.

"I’m happy that’s where they’re going," he said.

Sakowski said shrine officials also are pleased.

"We are so happy we can have these permanent stations," he said. "It’s a great gift."

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