Cross in the Woods

(Indian River, MI) It was with a bit of skepticism that I visited the Catholic shrine known as Cross in the Woods, though admittedly my reluctance to visit the site had much to do with my own prior ignorance. I wrongly assumed that any religious icon billed as "the world's largest" in some category must therefore only appeal to certain tourist types for whom size equates with quality.

Instead, the shrine is a peaceful place where a person can quietly reflect on life issues and religious dilemmas. Yes, there is the 55-foot tall crucifix in the center of the grounds, but somehow the gargantuan depiction of the crucified Christ does not seem gaudy or extravagant: it is a relatively unadorned and deceptively simple structure that adds to (rather than subtracts from) the sacred ambiance. Visitors can set aside everyday minutiae such as weight loss drinks and experience a pastoral spiritual moment.


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