One of the oldest traditions in the Catholic Church is the Stations of the Cross … or the Way of the Cross … also known as the Way of Sorrows or the Via Crucis.
Most churches pray the Stations on Fridays during Lent.
Call me weird, but I love the Stations of the Cross. I’m not sure why.
Maybe it’s reliving the passion of Christ.
Maybe it’s the routine, ritualistic aspect of the prayers.
Maybe it’s the memory of going with my mom when I was growing up. I definitely felt her with me the first time I went to Stations of the Cross after she died.
Maybe it’s all of the above. Whatever the reason, I do try to go Fridays during Lent and especially on Good Friday.
It’s my love for the Stations of the Cross that prompted me to make it the focus of this week’s issue of Genuflect. To understand how they evolved, why and how to participate, and even some online resources that present the Stations of the Cross in a new and different way.
Hopefully you’ll grow to love the Stations of the Cross as much as I do.
The Stations of the Cross in the form most American Catholics know best are of comparatively recent vintage in Church terms, dating back to the year the U.S. Constitution was ratified. However, their history goes back well before that.
In 1726, Pope Benedict XIII declared that all indulgences given for visiting the sacred sites in the Holy Land would also apply to any of the faithful who prayed the Stations of the Cross in a Catholic Church. Here’s how.
The Stations of the Cross can be rich, deep, and meaningful, but at the same time we can lose sight of their significance and how to relate them to our everyday lives. Continuing the idea of Pope Francis as our spiritual director this Lent, here are 8 reasons from our Holy Father on why we should pray the Stations of the Cross.
Despite our familiarity with the Stations of the Cross, perhaps we stopped praying it long ago, or still pray it but fail to glean the spiritual fruits we could. Gary Jansen thinks that using our imagination in the style of St. Ignatius could be a key to improving our meditation on Jesus’ Passion.
Virtually follow the Stations of the Cross in the Holy Land. A map marks the route with the fourteen stops along the way. At each station you’ll read a description of the photo slideshow, the photo sideshow (be patient as the slideshow auto runs slowly), and a prayer for that station.
Can’t make it to church for the Stations of the Cross? No problem. Creighton University offers an online version so you can pray the Stations in the comfort of your home.
Churches often have Stations of the Cross on Fridays during Lent, usually during the evening. The meditative atmosphere, while beautiful, isn’t always the best place for very young children. Here’s a different way to involve kids in the Stations of the Cross.
For 20 years, Azusa Pacific University professor Cahleen Shrier, Ph.D., has shared with her biology students a significant and moving lecture outlining the physical suffering leading up to and during Jesus’ crucifixion. Although we cannot know with certainty the exact corporeal realities that Jesus faced, the information is medically and biologically accurate.
Dolores Smyth writes: “Praying the Stations of the Cross is not for me.” Although a practicing Catholic for (mostly) my entire life, I’d always shirked the Stations of the Cross devotion. Then, one evening this Lent, my lifelong avoidance of this devotion came to an end.
This cute little paper craft makes all 14 Stations (plus Resurrection and Divine Mercy) pretty compact and appealing…perfect for the kitchen table during Lent!
Hidden many times and then rediscovered, chopped into pieces and dispersed, the precious relic has taken many journeys. Read the story of the cross and see a slideshow of other relics from the Passion.
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