Be Holy! That’s our theme for this Lenten season. This week I invite you to participate in the Stations of the Cross in our effort to grow closer to Jesus throughout Lent. The Stations of the Cross began as a personal pilgrimage back in the 4th century or even earlier. As people began to rediscover the places of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection in Israel, they began pilgrimages there to try to become more like Him. Starting with famous people like St. Helen, the mother of the emperor Constantine, people began to make great personal sacrifices to visit the places made holy by Jesus. They began the Via Dolorosa, or the Way of the Cross, retracing the steps of Jesus from His condemnation at Pilate’s palace to Golgotha. Most recently a National Geographic study and TV special outlined the investigations of the place we believe Jesus died (now in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher) and His tomb (the Holy Sepulcher) verifying they date back to the time of Christ.
However, as in our day, many people did not have the time, the wherewithal or the resources to make such an arduous pilgrimage. So that they could participate and meditate on these last moments of Jesus’ life, the Church brought the Stations to the people. In all churches, small pictures, statues or icons were installed so that groups of people or individuals could reflect on Jesus’ great love and sacrifice as He made His way to Calvary to die for us. Our stations, in the chapel and the church, are the same.
We pray the Stations of the Cross together at 12:10 PM each Friday in the Chapel and at 7 PM in the Church. We will also pray the Stations of the Cross at 3 PM on Good Friday this year, a change from past years. You are welcome to pray the stations any time as a personal devotion as well. In either case, PRAY the Stations of the Cross during Lent and teach your children and grandchildren what they are and what they mean. They are not meant to simply be nice pictures on the wall of our church or chapel but objects of prayer.