Stations of the Cross

Stations of the Cross

From the earliest days of the Church, faithful Christians have made trips to the Holy Land to follow the footsteps of Jesus on the actual path to his Crucifixion where He gave his life for our salvation.

These pious people would stop along the way to say specific prayers and devotions at spots where specific events had occurred as Jesus carried his Cross to Jerusalem to die.

Pilgrimages to the Holy Land could take years and proved to be expensive and even dangerous. They were not possible for everyone so some Catholics created stations outside their own churches based on Sacred Scripture and Apostolic Tradition. Eventually, the stations were moved inside.

Only a simple cross is necessary to mark each station. Any additional images, figures, or other artwork is optional.

The 14 Stations of the Cross are also known as the Way of the Cross or the Via Dolorosa, the Way of Sorrows.

Although they can be prayed at any time, the Stations of the Cross are traditionally prayed as a penance on the Fridays during Lent, especially on Good Friday.

Remembering Jesus’ last day as a man on earth:

Significant events during Jesus’ Passion and Death:

The soldiers led Him away inside the palace, that is, the praetorium, and assembled the whole cohort. They clothed Him in purple and, weaving a crown of thorns, placed it on Him. They began to salute Him with, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and kept striking his head with a reed and spitting upon Him. They knelt before Him in homage. And when they had mocked Him, they stripped Him of the purple cloak, dressed Him in his own clothes, and led Him out to crucify Him.

Mark 15: 16-20

Spiritually accompanying Jesus on the way to Jerusalem:

Christians were naturally drawn to retrace Jesus’ steps:

The prayer of the Church venerates and honors the Heart of Jesus just as it invokes his most holy Name. It adores the incarnate Word and his Heart which, out of love for men, He allowed to be pierced by our sins. Christian prayer loves to follow the Way of the Cross in the Savior’s steps. The stations from the Praetorium to Golgotha and the tomb trace the way of Jesus, who by his holy Cross has redeemed the world.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 2669

Meditating on the suffering of Jesus and his great love:

The Stations of the Cross is a prayer:

Recognizing that all of life is a pilgrimage:

Every day the Church ponders the supreme mystery of the saving Incarnation and the redeeming death of the Son of God, sacrificed for us on the Cross. On this day, Good Friday, we pause to contemplate this mystery with still greater intensity. In the darkness of the late evening, we have come here, to the Colosseum, to follow once again, in the devotion of the Way of the Cross, the steps of Christ’s journey of suffering, leading to the tragic climax of his death. The spiritual ascent of Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified and surrendered his spirit, assumes a special significance among these ruins of Imperial Rome, particularly in this place linked to the death of so many Christian martyrs.

Pope John Paul II, Good Friday Via Crucis, 10 April 1998

There are different ways of praying the Stations of the Cross:

Expressing our faith in a physical way:

Just as it happened in the time of Jesus:

The Truth, Goodness, and Beauty of the Catholic Church

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