Eighth graders portray Jesus, Mary, Simon, Veronica, the guards and the women, with a narrator introducing each station and reciting a prayer about that station. When Jesus is crucified, a lone guitarist played Were You There When They Crucified My Lord, a beautiful haunting melody. The song played again at the end when they placed the stone in front of the tomb.
The First Station – Jesus is Condemned to Die.
The Second Station – Jesus Carries His Cross.
The Third Station – Jesus Falls the First Time.
The Fourth Station – Jesus Meets His Mother.
The Fifth Station – Simon Helps Jesus Carry His Cross.
The Sixth Station – Veronica Wipes Jesus’ Face.
The Seventh Station – Jesus Falls the Second Time.
The Eighth Station – Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem.
The Ninth Station – Jesus Falls the Third Time.
The Tenth Station – Jesus is Stripped.
The Eleventh Station – Jesus is Nailed to the Cross.
The Twelfth Station – Jesus Dies on the Cross.
The Thirteenth Station – Jesus is Taken Down from the Cross.
The Fourteenth Station – Jesus is Laid in the Tomb.
I’d never really considered the history of how and why this tradition came about in our church, but found a well-written essay on the origins of the Stations of the Cross from Our Sunday Visitor. I encourage you to read it, but a very short summary might be: Medieval travelers making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land would stop and pray at specific locations along a route from Calvary to Pilate’s home in their effort to connect with Christ’s passion, suffering and death. Upon returning home, many pilgrims brought back sacred relics and fostered a desire to recreate this sacred way for those who couldn’t travel and experience it firsthand.
The Franciscans are often credited with the modern development of the Stations of the Cross; Pope Innocent XI granted them the exclusive right to build stations in 1686. Pope Clement XII extended the right to non-Franciscan churches in 1731. Knowing this brief history, I can almost picture it in my minds eye. Travelers coming to connect with Christ, to seek Him in the physical as well as the spiritual; being so moved by the journey that they feel called to bring the experience to others. I hope you have an opportunity to walk and pray the Stations of the Cross during this Lenten season.