Thursday, March 13, 2008

Stations of the Cross

Stations of the cross is another popular Lenten devotion that I have seen some non-Catholics criticize. Here is some information about what the stations are, and how this practice developed. It should be said that participating in the stations of the cross is not a requirement for Catholics, but it is part of our catholic heritage and it is a very powerful and moving way to pray. My family participates a number of times through Lent.

Stations of the Cross: "The Stations of the Cross, also called The Way of the Cross, is a devotion to the passion of Christ consisting of prayers and meditations on fourteen occurrences that were experienced by Christ on His way to the crucifixion. During the time of the crusades (1095-1270), it became popular for pilgrims in the Holy Land to walk in the footsteps of Jesus to Calvary. After the Moslems recaptured the Holy Land pilgrimages were too dangerous. As a result, the Stations of the Cross became a popular substitute pilgrimage throughout Europe. The Stations represented critical events from Scripture or tradition of Jesus' journey to Calvary. Originally done only outdoors, the Stations were allowed inside churches in the mid-18th century. Eventually fixed at fourteen, the Stations soon became a familiar feature in all Catholic churches. The devotion may be conducted personally by the faithful, making their way from one station to another and saying the prayers, or by having an officiating celebrant move from cross to cross while the faithful make the responses. The stations themselves must consist of, at the very least, fourteen wooden crosses, pictures alone do not suffice, and they must be blessed by someone with the authority to erect stations."

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