The Cross on Penitentiary Mountain
Whether a Christian or not, no man on earth escapes the cross. It is a part of life, summing up the descent towards darkness, or the rise towards light. The Cross was a major part of the founder of Caritas’ walk in living the messages of Our Lady. In essence, his walk, the way of life that Our Lady showed him, can be summed up by the words, “The Cross.” Penitentiary Mountain, the mountain behind the Field of Apparitions at Caritas of Birmingham, was destined to be crowned with the Cross.
Twenty years ago, in 1993, a Friend of Medjugorje first hoped to build the cross. But, when it didn’t materialize immediately, he came to realize that while it was in God’s plan to have the cross built, God required many sacrifices from him, his family and the community. God didn’t want just a stone cross on a mountain. He wanted the love from which the cross was made “for the soul of America.” There was a price to be paid for this cross. It did not just happen.
Therefore, this cross is not just a symbol, but is a real place of grace that took 20 years of blood, sweat and tears…and a lot of prayers before God gave His “yes” to build it.
In 2013, our founder and his sons, with the community, worked tirelessly in excavating the area, forming a foundation that could hold a three-quarter million pound Cross and its base. In constructing and pouring the Cross, the Community of Caritas supported this work daily, moving rocks, and clearing trees, in a project that lasted six months. The Cross is built to the exact dimensions of the Cross on Cross Mountain in Medjugorje. It was built with a lot of sacrifice in order that it would give grace. Our Lady said:
With the Cross now raised out of Penitentiary’s peak, the name itself speaks of it being ordained by God. “Penitentiary” means a place for imprisonment, a prison for people convicted of serious crimes. What happened upon the Cross released man from the prison of being alienated from God, opening the gates of Heaven, granting freedom from exile.
For the complete story about the miraculous building of The Cross on Penitentiary Mountain, read “For the Soul of America.”