The history of the devotion of following the Way of the Cross has origins all the way back to the days shortly following Jesus’ death and resurrection. But it wasn’t until the 1700s that the devotion was standardized and the Stations of the Cross were depicted in nearly every church in the world. Realizing the difficulty for most people to travel to the Holy Land and actually walk the Via Dolorosa, the devotion taking place within churches across the world began with Pope Benedict XIII and a few years later, Pope Clement XII.
The practice of the Stations of the Cross is most commonly done during the Lenten season. This penitential season naturally draws our minds and hearts to the Passion and Death of our Lord. However, in our parish, thanks to the dedication of one particular parishioner, we are blessed to be able to offer the Stations of the Cross nearly every Friday throughout the year.
Tim Smith has found the practice of this devotion to benefit his spiritual life so much that after helping with the Stations during Lent, he asked to continue doing it during the other liturgical seasons.
“The Stations of the Cross just move me so much emotionally,” Tim says. “At each station, you reflect on the pain that Christ is going through. I for one have remarked how truly blessed my family has been. I haven’t been tested like Christ was tested. I pray like Christ prayed in the garden to let the test pass if it be God’s will. And of course, Christ’s test was not passed. It reminds me how vulnerable my faith is and how consistently I need to pray that my faith stays strong.”
While the Lenten season is a time when we naturally remember the sorrows of Christ, so many of us experience trials and sufferings outside of this particular liturgical season. By having the opportunity to walk the Stations of the Cross through those other difficult challenges in life, we have this devotion as a reminder that we are never alone in our pain. Christ did not come into this world to save us by ending our suffering during this life — instead, He embraced suffering and gave us a lifeline to unite our suffering to His.
“This is a perfect way to remember that Christ truly suffered,” Tim says. “And as we suffer ourselves, we can offer our sacrifices to Him. Currently, we are doing the Stations at noon on Fridays. It takes about 40 minutes to walk the Stations and pray through the booklet.”
So as we begin this Lenten season, we invite everyone to join us as we meditate and pray through the 14 Stations of the Cross. And after we finish this penitential season and celebrate the joy and triumph of His Resurrection at Easter, we encourage our parishioners to take advantage of the Stations of the Cross being offered the rest of the year.
Stations of the Cross — Fridays During Lent
Noon — on the Prayer Path if weather permits, or else inside the sanctuary
3 p.m. — in the sanctuary with the Divine Mercy Chaplet
5 p.m. — in the sanctuary, very child-friendly to accommodate families who would be coming with kids after school
6:30 p.m. — Via Crucis in the sanctuary (Stations of the Cross in Spanish)