LABOR OF LOVE Jonathan Hutch Long welcomes people to the blessing of his Eagle Scout Stations of the Cross project at DePaul Catholic High School in Wayne on May 21.

Grad’s Stations of the Cross remind visitors of Jesus’ love

Dana Sevean, a freshman theology teacher at DePaul Catholic High School in Wayne, a while ago noticed a few trees that stand outside next to each other near her classroom. She often thought, ‘If the Stations of the Cross were on the trees, that would be really neat.’ ”

The teacher’s initial thought became reality, when Jonathan Hutch Long, a DePaul senior, designed and built a Stations of the Cross for an Eagle Scout service project as a member of Troop 130. He had much help building the 14 stations that remind visitors of Jesus’ love for us. It’s located behind the school on the side of a walkway leading to athletic fields. Long graduated from DePaul on June 5.

“It is beautiful, and it is really going to be a very nice thing for the school. It’s going to be there for a very long time. Teachers can use it for lessons around Lenten time. It can be used for prayer services. It will be an asset to the school, for sure,” said Long, who is also a parishioner of Immaculate Heart of Mary in Wayne.

An “At the foot of the Cross” greeting board bears bible verses from Jeremiah 29:11, 1 Peter 5:6, and Philippians 2:3. It welcomes visitors to the stained and polyurethaned stations, which display glorious artwork and wording depicting Jesus’s journey, as well as gold dedication plaques. Mulch and foliage adorn the foot of every station, and two benches offer a spot to sit and reflect. Lighting also has been installed.

As a freshman, Long was tasked with being involved in DePaul’s Christian Service Program. Some of that service was through the Boy Scouts. Sevean then brought up the Stations of the Cross idea, saying that it would look great outdoors on school grounds. 

Long agreed and submitted his plans to DePaul Catholic President John Merritt, who approved the idea. Work commenced during the 2023 — 24 school year. Father Joey Mactal, a DePaul chaplain and parochial vicar of St. James of the Marches Parish in Totowa, blessed the stations on May 31.

About 40 people helped Long with the project, including Sevean; Jean Caughey, a fellow theology teacher; and Kevin Borneman, a fellow recent DePaul graduate and Long’s friend. Bornemann compared the long hours “pitching in” on the project to Jesus’ road to Calvary.

“At one point, we had to carry those poles over — and they were big poles. I was thinking, ‘I am carrying this heavy pole. I wonder what Jesus felt like when he carried the whole cross as far as he did with all the pain and suffering,’ ” Bornemann said.

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