What the history ISN’T:
Many believe that the Tres Dias cross originated from the view of the cross-beams of the Mid-Hudson Bridge that crosses the Hudson River between the City of Poughkeepsie and Town of Highland in New York State (this bridge is located in the heart of the Mid-Hudson Community). As the pictures below show, it’s easy to see how this “urban legend” came to be.
What the history IS:
According to Anton Wellbrock, one of the early leaders of Tres Dias, the Tres Dias cross was not patterned after the iron works on the Mid-Hudson Bridge – the similarity was purely coincidental. When the first weekend was being planned, there was a need for a cross to be given to the candidates as a token of the weekend. While many of the original team were Catholic, they decided that Tres Dias should not be a carbon copy of Cursillo. This was as much a political decision as it was spiritual. They changed the name, the talk’s names and contents, and removed the Catholic influences — especial Marianism. They also wanted to change the cross since the Cursillo cross was clearly Catholic.
It’s generally understood that a team person went to a Christian Bookstore and found the cross we now use, for sale. He purchased enough for the first weekend. The problem of manufacturing them for subsequent weekends was always present. They were hand made by individuals in the community for a number of years, including Bob Lowden, who now lives in Texas, and by Bruce Willerup. The responsibility for supplying the crosses was eventually taken over by the International Secretariat.
Anton says the first place he ever saw a connection made between the Tres Dias cross and the Mid-Hudson Bridge was in a banner made by Lynette McKinney. It was used on several weekends and probably helped promote the myth. Fittingly, Lynette’s banner is still displayed every year at the annual meeting of the International Assembly.
On a side note, the Tres Dias cross was copyrighted with the help of Walter Hearn’s artistic talents (who now lives in Virginia), and the authority for the copyright has since been transferred to the International Secretariat.