Way of the Cross – St. Donatus, Iowa

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Way of the Cross – St. Donatus, Iowa – The outdoor Way of the Cross is believed to be the first of its kind in the U.S., according to its brochure. Built in 1861 under the direction of the parish’s pastor, Rev. Michael Flammang, the 14 brick alcoves of the Way of the Cross zigzag up the bluff. The brick exteriors of the alcoves have weathered well over the years. Each alcove contains an original lithographic print detailing Christ’s journey to his crucifixion.

At the end of the Way of the Cross is the Pietà Chapel, built in 1885 with funds left by Father Flammang and dedicated in his memory. Inside the chapel — modeled after one in Luxembourg — is the pietà, Mary cradling her dead son on her lap.

The present church was dedicated in 1860 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Location: Calvary Hill

Phone: 563-583-0092 or 800-342-1837

Open: Spring, Summer and Fall

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