For a full description of each Station, click here.
Why do the Stations of the Cross:The most important reason for [participating in] the practice of making the Stations of the Cross is that it is a powerful way to contemplate, and enter into, the mystery of Jesus’ gift of himself to us. It takes the reflection on [his] passion out of [our] head and makes it an imaginative exercise. It involves [our] senses, [our] experience, and [our] emotions. To the extent [we] come to experience the love of Jesus for [us personally], to that extent the gratitude [we] feel will be deep. Deep gratitude leads to real generosity and a desire to love as [we] have been loved.
From the earliest of days, followers of Jesus told the story of his passion, death, and resurrection. When pilgrims came to see Jerusalem, they were anxious to see the sites where Jesus was. These sites become important holy connections with Jesus. Eventually, following in the footsteps of the Lord, along the way of the cross, became a part of the pilgrimage visit. The stations, as we know them today, came about when it was no longer easy or even possible to visit the holy sites. In the 1500’s, villages all over Europe started creating “replicas” of the way of the cross, with small shrines commemorating the places along the route in Jerusalem. Eventually, these shrines became the set of 14 stations we now know and were placed in almost every Catholic Church in the world.
What if I have never made the Stations before?
[Participating in the Stations is easy and takes about 30-40 minutes (and we won’t tell anyone that you are a loser for never having participated in them—well, we might rat Carl and Ruby Sue out but no one else)]. The most important thing to remember is that this can be as personal as [you’d] like it to be. One of our common religious struggles is to realize that we are not alone. The Good News is that Jesus entered into our life’s experience completely — even suffering and death — and that he fell into the hands of a Loving God, who raised him from death to life. We can have complete hope that suffering and death have no complete hold on us. We will all share eternal life with him, if we can fall into the hands of the same Loving God. And, along the way, we are not alone. Jesus is with as one who knows our suffering, and the death we face. That can be deeply consoling.