Like a message in a bottle, a massive 20-foot cross washed ashore in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, over the weekend.
Some were confused Saturday evening, when the barnacle-encrusted Christian symbol washed ashore in front of the Ocean Manor Beach Resort, but its presence has caused something of a spiritual awakening, according to The Sun Sentinel.
One passerby who saw the cross, Mary Ann Smolinski, described the mammoth structure as “fantastic,” “amazing” and “very spiritual.”
“We were just lying on the beach and we saw a crowd of people around and I just got up to see what was going on,” she said. “It was a cross that was laying right in the water.”
Where did it come from?
It’s not immediately clear how the cross landed in Fort Lauderdale, but many believe it might have floated from Puerto Rico after a series of hurricanes in the region.
John Skorupa, 74, told the Sentinel he’s heard a handful of theories about where the cross came from, but said, “The one that makes the most sense to me was Puerto Rico, because of the hurricanes they had there.”
“But,” he added, “it may be a sign of some kind.”
In fact, Skorupa was so moved by the cross’ presence on the beach, he decided to call a girlfriend he had attended church with in the past. “I said, ‘Let’s start meeting again for church services,’” he recounted.
He brought her flowers.
Where is it going?
Frank Talerico, owner of the Ocean Manor Beach Resort, told WSVN-TV he sees the cross as a sign of protection, describing its presence on the shoreline as either a coincidence or divine intervention.
He noted his sister was praying at the beach Saturday morning.
“She’s like, ‘You know what. It’s not that big a deal. I just had a bad dream and a bad feeling, so I wanted to come here and pray,’” he recalled. “And I said, ‘OK, thanks for doing that.’”
Talerico said he’s “glad” the cross is in front of his hotel.
“It’s staying here and if anybody wants to come see it or take a picture with it,” he added, “they’re more than welcome.”