COPPER HARBOR - As part of the Year of Faith declared by Pope Benedict XVI, Bishop Alexander Sample traveled throughout the Upper Peninsula this weekend, making the shape of the cross with his destinations.
In traveling north to south, then west to east, his first destination was Our Lady of the Pines Mission in Copper Harbor Saturday morning. Over the weekend, he traveled to Menominee, Ironwood and then to Drummond Island. The length of the entire trip was about 1,140 miles.
At each spot he participated in a procession with a large wooden cross, which was then placed in the ground at the site of each church.
Scott Viau/Daily Mining Gazette
Bishop Alexander Sample (center with cross) stands outside Our Lady of the Pines Chapel in Copper Harbor and plants a cross in the ground as part of the Year of Faith decared by Pope Benedict XVI.
Sample said there was no better way to kick off the Year of Faith than to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor, the Venerable Frederic Baraga.
"Certainly we could have done this in a lot of different ways," Sample said. "I wanted to do something different, something attention getting, something that's going to wake people up."
Sample said he wanted to remind people of the importance of sharing faith with others.
"We need to be renewed ourselves in our faith. There's a Latin proverb that translates to 'You cannot give what you do not have.'" Sample said. "We can't give the gift of faith to others unless we are strong in our own faith. We need to get more serious in our own faith, for the sake of sharing that gift with others, to be a light unto others."
The idea for this event came from a council the Bishop formed. Suggestions were brainstormed and the idea of traveling the U.P. in the form of a cross came about quickly. When it was suggested he travel by plane, Bishop Sample was quick to dismiss the idea.
"The whole idea is to travel land of the U.P. as Baraga did," Sample said. "It's the idea of crossing the land, touching the land."
Joe and Mo Finch, residents of Copper Harbor, wanted to come out and see the Bishop.
"We were anxious to get more involved," Joe said. "This is a good thing for Copper Harbor. We're just glad to be here and for him to celebrate Mass. I think it's very special."