Posted on in Saints Are Us by The Rev. David Marshall
One devotion that is popular the world over is the Way of the Cross. It began with the early church when pilgrims would visit the sites of Jesus’ Passion and Death in the Holy Land. The first Stations of the Cross to be erected outside of Palestine were in Bologna, Italy, in the fifth century.
People could walk the way of the Passion, pray, meditate, and relive the last day of Our Lord without traveling to the Holy Land. The events of the Passion are taken from the accounts in Sacred Scripture, with the addition of traditions around those accounts. In the fifteenth century the Franciscans took up the devotion and made it one of the Order’s mission to spread this devotion.
The Stations of the Cross has varied ways of being practiced. Common expressions are a wood cross at each station with a depiction of the scene executed in an art medium that lends itself to the meditation at hand. The stations can be erected and used in a church building or outside, such as in a meditation garden. In the Roman church, traditionally the Stations are erected, blessed, and certified by a Franciscan.
Next week, in Lent 2016, Part 2, I will discuss the different way the Stations are counted and the background on them.
Until next time,
I remain your bro. John, O.C.P.