The cross is on a pilgrimage to visit all of the capital cities in the world by the year 2033, the 2,000th anniversary of the crucifixion.
Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachthani?
My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?
Many of us have found ourselves repeating these words at some point or other in our lives. Perhaps more than once these past two years. These words are among the last Christ uttered as he hung on the Cross at His crucifixion.
In 2033 we will celebrate the 2,000th jubilee anniversary of this very crucifixion. But we will also celebrate the 2,000th anniversary of Jesus Christ’s resurrection, ascension, and of Pentecost. A reminder that death did not have the last word. Rather it was the necessary sacrifice to grant all eternal life.
A 30-year pilgrimage to visit every capital city
To mark this anniversary, The Cross of Gratitude, or The Thanking Cross, is on a pilgrimage to visit all the capital cities of the world, in order to “unite all peoples of the world (as one family) under the Cross of our Lord and invite us all to contemplate the great suffering and sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross, which He freely embraced out of love for us.”
This mission was placed in the heart of Vitaliy Sobolivsky, a Ukrainian man, on Easter Sunday 2003. He heard the words spoken to him, “Take my Cross and carry it to all the capital cities of the world as a sign of gratitude for the salvation we receive through Jesus Christ.” The goal is for this missionary Cross to visit every capital city of the world by 2033.
On March 10, 2004, St. John Paul II blessed the initiators of this mission in the Vatican. In 2006, Pope Benedict XVI blessed the Cross during a pilgrimage in Krakow, Poland. In 2016, Pope Francis also blessed the Cross and all those carrying out this evangelization mission.
The beautiful Cross is carved from Ukrainian oak and is massive, almost life-size. Thus far, the Cross has journeyed to 46 capitals in Eastern and Western Europe. It is currently in North America, where it will make its way to Central and South America before making its way to Asia, Africa, Indonesia, and Australia.
Over the last 17 years, the Cross has been carried on the shoulders of men and women of different nations, cultures, and even faiths. Drawn to the power of the Cross and the simplicity of its mission, Muslim and Buddhist men and women have also helped carry the Cross on their shoulders, much like Simon of Cyrene.
The Cross of Gratitude stops in Washington, DC
Vitaliy and his team have entrusted the Cross’ pilgrimage to Divine Providence. They rely on the goodwill of local people to host the Cross and help it along the next step of its journey. The Cross currently rests at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Washington, DC, and will make its way to the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle on November 1.
The Cross has been celebrated at each place of rest through Holy Mass, adoration, night vigils, the Way of the Cross, and even processions. Last night, Immaculate Conception held Eucharistic Adoration and a reflection on the Cross of Gratitude. Father Charlie Gallagher shared, “To be Christian is to be ready at all times to be on the Cross. The Cross helps make us docile to the Will of God. The Church holds up the Cross; will we accept it?”
And so, on those days that we feel like calling out, Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachthani? Let us take up our Cross and unite our sufferings to Christ as we await the jubilee of His Resurrection.