ETNA (KDKA) — Men bearing a cross, joined by the faithful, go on a solemn procession through Etna.

The Drama of the Cross is a Good Friday tradition symbolizing the final journey of Christ.

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But organizers have lightened the load.

“It took 30 men to carry an 800-pound telephone pole cross,” Nick Salera, an organizer, said. “Over the years, we’ve lost some men and interest maybe, so we’ve begun to alter the cross to a smaller weight.”

The men who carry the cross bear a lighter burden this year, but the somber mood of this procession has not changed.

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Up High Street they march to the final ceremony in the congregational church cemetery.

Turnout is not limited to the four churches of Etna. Brian and Peggy Loosz have come each year from West Mifflin.

Peggy’s sister, Lydia Elsesser, comes here each year from Jamestown, NY.

“The beliefs and what it all stands for sort of ingrains it into the kids and helps you,” she said. “I just feel good about doing it with my family.”

They find comfort in cherished hymns, tradition and each other.

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