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Giant cross draws diverse crowd for Good Friday

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GROOM - Thousands of Christians made pilgrimage today in honor of Good Friday, but not all of them were heading to the holy land.

"We usually come every year just to get all of us together and try to understand and grow closer to Christ," West Texas A&M Catholic student Jeffrey Cendejas.

The Catholic student organization from West Texas A&M isn't the only group that's made a tradition of visiting the 190 foot cross in Groom during the Lent season.

Busloads of people showed up Friday to through the stations of the cross and reflect on the story of Jesus.

Jim Cummus has volunteered for the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ Ministries since it the giant symbol was built in 1995. He says Christians from all the globe travel here.

"To a lot of them, it's a life changing experience for them," Cummus said.

Many came to the site just specifically for Good Friday, but many more just happened upon the giant cross and had to stop.

"We really couldn't avoid the cross. It's absolutely enormous. So we decided to stop, it's such an amazing place," traveler Graham King said.

King and his daughter are tourists from Sydney Australia. They're driving across the United States and said they've never heard of anything like the site of the cross in Groom.
 
"We had no idea this was even here. I've been planning this trip with my daughter for months and I never knew we'd be coming here," King said.
 
There were also visitors from Mexico and Myanmar at the site Friday.
 
"There are people from all walks of life, from all over the world," Cummus said.

The Tourist Bureau estimates that 10,000 vehicles a day pass through Groom on I4;: making advertising easy for the panhandle's place of pilgrimage.

"Whenever you just run across it like this it can be an earth-moving thing," Cummus said.

There will be a sunrise service at the site of the cross Easter morning starting around 7 a.m. Organizers say anyone is welcome.

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