John Baptist Grieco’s Holy Theme Park may come back to life. I remember years ago on my many trips home to New Jersey passing by a Calvary scene poised on mountain top in Waterbury, Connecticut. How impressive it was, and so large, overlooking Interstate 84. A devout lawyer had planted it there with all the Stations of the Cross leading up the mountain to Calvary. I never did visit the Passion shrine, always in a hurry, to beat New York traffic. What a shame I didn’t take the time out to make these Stations that one man lovingly dedicated his wealth to erecting.
I did, however, sometime in the 1970s, visit Mr. Grieco in his downtown office. I did not have an appointment, I just stopped by. He was a diminutive man, maybe seventy years old, who struck you immediately with the glow of his smile and his humble bearing. He told me the story of his achievement in maybe ten sentences. Here was a man who loved Our Lord and Our Lady and his Catholic Faith, and it was an honor for me to have met him. All I can remember is thanking him for his labor of love, shaking his hand, and then I left — telling him before doing so I hoped to do the Stations on another trip. I never did.
What l do not remember him telling me was that there was much more to the Stations of the Cross — indeed it was his life’s work — the Holy Land Theme Park. God bless John Baptist Grieco. May he forever rejoice in the peace of the Lord.
UCANews: The Garden of Gethsemane is gone. The Via Dolorosa, now overgrown with brush, is impassable. A statue of Christ with outstretched arms at the park’s entrance is missing a head. The roof on Herod’s Temple has collapsed.
Holy Land USA once awed the curious and the faithful. Lately it endured vandalism, wrestled (and lost) a battle with nature and faded from memory. Now the abandoned Bible-themed shrine from the 1950s may find new life. Read more here.