Stations of the Cross


Fridays, during Lent - Please check back in February, 2018 for details.

With more and more pilgrimages being made to Jerusalem through the Middle Ages, and almost always including walking along the route taken by Jesus as he carried his own cross to Calvary (known as the Via Sacra, and later as the Via Dolorosa), it was to be expected that some form of imitation back home in Europe would be developed. It was the followers of St. Francis of Assissi who really popularized "The Way of the Cross," building small outbuildings leading between monasteries, and on "the Way" leading up to local churches. Anywhere from 7 to 30 "stations" – in the same manner as train "stations," where one stops briefly to let people on and let people off – were to be found. In Jerusalem, the number of stations had already standardized as 5 or 7. In Europe, there were finally either 14, or 9 (the 14 without the extra-biblical stations such as the face of Christ on Veronica's scarf). It is still common at larger monastic community houses, and at diocesan conference centers, to find an outdoor Way with 9 to 14 larger stations set apart by 100 to 500 feet or more. 

Otherwise, most churches that have them have a set of the Stations of the Cross attached to the interior walls of the nave and chancel. The congregation, sometimes moving only a few steps from one to another station, is provided the opportunity to follow the Passion of Jesus Christ through artistic representation, praying, reflecting, reading the appropriate bible portions, and singing, as they walk slowly around the church, station to station, from the Praetorium to the Tomb.

At St Dunstan's, the Stations of the Cross are scheduled as a spiritual discipline during the Lenten Season. All ages are capable of finding the rhythm of the discipline and the interaction of leader and "pilgrims" to be a solemn act of devotion. The Stations in this format usually mean a commitment of 35 to 45 minutes; if you've never gone on The Way of the Cross, then just try participating once. Attending each week makes it a part of your Lenten discipline of piety and devotion.