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Hundreds attend Good Friday service in outdoor amphitheater

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BELLEVILLE, IL (KTVI)-- Hundreds turn out at The Our Lady of the Snows Shrine in Belleville for Good Friday services.

The National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows is the largest outdoor shrine in North America.

Since 1962, with weather permitting, they've been holding Easter service in the outdoor amphitheater.

With more than 200 acres of sculpted grounds and sunny skies, Catholics and folks of all denominations gathered for a holy celebration.

More than 800 people gathered outdoors, some from as far away as Chicago to celebrate Holy Week and Good Friday.

Most followed the outdoor Stations of the Cross.

It's one of the many sites, gardens and pathways that many use to pray and reflect at the shrine.

Actors portraying biblical characters told the story of Jesus’ journey to Calvary, his crucifixion and death.

The participatory event featured some visitors carrying the cross on the symbolic journey with many singing, praying and honoring their commitment to their faith.

Many of those gathered for the hour long journey around the Stations of the Cross continued on to the Good Friday service at the church on the shrine grounds.

This is a big weekend for attendance at the shrine which was founded by Father Edwin J. Guild in 1959.

The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate get more than one million people through these grounds every year.

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