ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y., Oct. 13, 2009 — For St. Bonaventure students Chris Hoffman and Christina Messner, the wooded trails behind Francis Hall offer a peaceful respite along a path decorated by nature’s beauty. So the sight of a worn wooden cross propped against a tree last spring caught their attention and wouldn’t let go.
The cross, once bright blue and part of 14 Stations of the Cross in the wooded area, had been aged by time and the elements since its installation 29 years ago. After talking with Bob Donius, vice president for University Ministries, about the Stations, Hoffman offered to construct new crosses to help make this spiritual pilgrimage of prayer available again.
“For me, it was something I could do to give back to the school,” explained Hoffman, a second-year computer science major from Lebanon, Pa.
The new Stations of the Cross will be dedicated at 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22. The campus community is invited to participate.
Christina Messner, a second-year biology (pre-pharmacy) major, has prayed the Stations of the Cross at her home church in Livonia, N.Y. The devotion is new to Hoffman, who is not Catholic, but he said the project “was a religious experience for me.”
“Since I’ve been at St. Bonaventure my spirituality has increased so much. I have been drawn to do this,” Hoffman said.
He selected “red cedar — wood that gave me the natural color I was looking for” to craft the simple crosses, which have been affixed to posts that were installed in the ground by members of the SBU grounds crew. Books with the prayer for each station are available at the first station.
DIRECTIONS: The Stations of the Cross are accessible behind Francis Hall near the student parking lot.
About the University: St. Bonaventure is in the top 15 percent of institutions in U.S.News & World Report’s 2010 ranking of Northern universities that offer master’s degrees. It has a history of accomplishment and service that extends back 150 years. At the heart of St. Bonaventure University is the Franciscan affirmation of the dignity and worth of the entire created order. Fundamental to this vision is an awareness that it is within relationships and community that individuals discover and develop their potential.