Throughout Lent on each Friday the Stations, or Way of the Cross, Via Crucis, or Via Dolorosa will be walked in St John’s (noon). The erection and use of the Stations did not become at all general before the end of the seventeenth century, but they are now to be found in almost every Roman Catholic Church, many Anglican and some of the Free Churches. Formerly their number varied considerably in different places but fourteen is now the accepted norm. They are as follows:
- Christ is condemned to death by Pilate;
- The Cross is laid upon him;
- His first fall;
- He meets His Blessed Mother;
- Simon of Cyrene is made to bear the cross;
- Christ’s face is wiped by Veronica;
- His second fall;
- He meets the women of Jerusalem;
- His third fall;
- He is stripped of His garments;
- His crucifixion;
- His death on the cross;
- His body is taken down from the cross; and
- Jesus is laid in the tomb.
In the Parish we also use a Fifteenth Station to bring everything together – it is Called ‘He is Risen’
The object of the Stations is to help us to make in spirit, as it were, a pilgrimage to the chief scenes of Christ’s sufferings and death, and this has become one of the most popular of Catholic/Anglican devotions. It is carried out by passing from Station to Station, with certain prayers at each and devout meditation on the various incidents in turn. It is usual, when the devotion is performed publicly and with great ceremony, to sing a stanza of the “Stabat Mater” while passing from one Station to the next.
Inasmuch as the Way of the Cross, made in this way, constitutes a miniature pilgrimage to the holy places at Jerusalem, the origin of the devotion may be traced to the Holy Land. The Via Dolorosa at Jerusalem (though not called by that name before the sixteenth century) was reverently marked out from the earliest times and has been the goal of pious pilgrims ever since the days of the Emperor Constantine.
Please walk with us on the way of the Cross