Why do we have Stations of the Cross? The practice of devoutly retracing the Lord’s steps began, not surprisingly, in Jerusalem. Tradition holds that the Virgin Mary visited the places of her son’s Passion daily. Unfortunately, after centuries of invasion and destruction, by the time the Crusaders entered Jerusalem most of the actual sites had been lost and replaced by approximations. (The location of Calvary and the Tomb, however, were not lost.) Pilgrims who visited these places in Jerusalem received a special indulgence.
By the 1600s, travel to Jerusalem had become almost impossible due to the Ottomans, who had conquered the Holy Land. The Franciscans, as a result, began to recreate the Way of the Cross (Via Dolorosa) in their monasteries, and in 1689 the pope invited all Christians to visit these safer locations in order to obtain the same indulgence.
This became so popular that by the mid 1700s, Pope Benedict XIV asked that all Catholic Churches have the Stations of the Cross erected in them so the faithful could receive the indulgence at their parish church. That is why today Catholic churches have the stations on the walls.
It was also around that time that the Stations of the Cross were standardized. Before the 1600s, the number and identity of the stations varied somewhat dramatically, and some even began with Jesus’s death and ran backwards.
Join Us For Stations Of The Cross:
- Fridays at 8:30 am (when school is in session)
- Fridays at 7:00 pm
- SJL First Grade Students will lead the Stations on March 6 @ 7:00 pm
- SJL PREP Students will lead the Stations on March 20 @7:00 pm