The Way of the Cross, also known as the Stations of the Cross, or the Via Dolorosa are a way to pray and meditate on Christ's sacrifice for us. It is divided into fourteen stations from the time He was condemned to his burial. This devotion has been long encouraged by the church, and is especially useful during Lent and Good Friday.
The devotion was developed during the Crusades when the knights and pilgrims began to follow Jesus' way to Calvary. This devotion was spread throughout Europe by the Franciscan friars starting in the 14th century. Stations of the Cross became an important catechetical tool, and the popularity of this devotion inspired some of the greatest examples of medieval Christian art.
Each Friday during the season of Lent, we have procession of the Blessed Sacrament, followed by exposition, adoration, and Benediction. One of our clergy leads us in the praying of the Stations of the Cross. The faithful are invited to privately meditate on the stations of the cross any time during the year.
Stations of the Cross
The 14 Stations of the Cross represent events from Jesus’ passion and death. At each station we use our senses and our imagination to reflect prayerfully upon Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection.
1. Jesus Is Condemned to Death.
Pontius Pilate condemns Jesus to death.
2. Jesus Takes Up His Cross.
Jesus willingly accepts and patiently bears his cross.
3. Jesus Falls the First Time.
Weakened by torments and by loss of blood, Jesus falls beneath his cross.
4. Jesus Meets His Sorrowful Mother.
Jesus meets his mother, Mary, who is filled with grief.
5. Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus Carry the Cross.
Soldiers force Simon of Cyrene to carry the cross.
6. Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus.
Veronica steps through the crowd to wipe the face of Jesus.
7. Jesus Falls a Second Time.
Jesus falls beneath the weight of the cross a second time.
8. Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem.
Jesus tells the women to weep not for him but for themselves and for their children.
9. Jesus Falls the Third Time.
Weakened almost to the point of death, Jesus falls a third time.
10. Jesus Is Stripped of His Garments.
The soldiers strip Jesus of his garments, treating him as a common criminal.
11. Jesus Is Nailed to the Cross.
Jesus’ hands and feet are nailed to the cross.
12. Jesus Dies on the Cross.
After suffering greatly on the cross, Jesus bows his head and dies.
13. Jesus Is Taken Down From the Cross.
The lifeless body of Jesus is tenderly placed in the arms of Mary, his mother.
14. Jesus Is Laid in the Tomb.
Jesus’ disciples place his body in the tomb.
The closing prayer—sometimes included as a 15th station—reflects on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.