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The Stations of the Cross

The Stations of the Cross continue to be a popular devotion in both the Eastern and Western Churches. It was developed during the Crusades when the knights and pilgrims began to follow the route of Christ's way to Calvary. This devotion spread throughout Europe and was promulgated by the Franciscan friars in the 14th and 15th centuries. Eventually, the Stations of the Cross became an important catechetical tool, and the popularity of this devotion inspired some of the greatest examples of medieval Christian art. Some scholars believe that medieval miracle plays, which were essentially tableaux of Christ's life, developed from the sculptured representations of the Stations of the Cross in the great Churches. These scenes from the Way of the Cross have provided inspiration for many of the world's greatest works of visual art.

he visual representations, combined with the prayers and meditations, help to deepen our understanding of the Way of the Cross, which will be of great spiritual benefit for all Catholics of all ages.

Throughout the season of Lent, but especially during the Holy Week Triduum the family can pray the Stations together at home. You might make a particular effort to say them as a family during the evening on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of Holy Week.

If you have small children, you may prefer to explain the meaning of each station yourself rather than reading a meditation from a book.

There are many booklets available that provide the prayers associated with this devotion; please visit your favorite catholic bookstore to obtain a copy that appeals to you.

The Fourteen Stations

First Station - Jesus is Condemned to Death
Second Station - Jesus is made to bear His Cross
Third Station - Jesus falls the first time under his Cross
Fourth Station - Jesus meets His Mother
Fifth Station - Simon the Cyrene helps Jesus carry His Cross
Sixth Station - Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
Seventh Station - Jesus falls the second time
Eighth Station - Jesus speaks to the daughters of Jerusalem
Ninth Station - Jesus falls the third time
Tenth Station - Jesus is stripped of His garments
Eleventh Station - Jesus is nailed to the Cross
Twelfth Station - Jesus dies on the Cross
Thirteenth Station - Jesus is taken down from the Cross
Fourteenth Station - Jesus is buried in the supulchre

After announcing each station, genuflect and say:

V .We adore Thee O Christ and we praise Thee,
R. Because by Thy holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.

Then say the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Glory be to the Father +

After the final station, this prayer, adapted from one composed by St. Alphonsus, might be said:

O Jesus Christ, my Lord, with what great love you traveled the painful road which led to your death-and how often have I abandoned you. But now I love you with my whole soul, and because I love you, I am sincerely sorry for having offended you. My Jesus, pardon me, and permit me to accompany you on this journey. You died for love of me, and it is my wish, O my dearest Redeemer, to be willing to die for love of you. O my beloved Jesus, in your love I wish to live, and in your love I wish to die. Amen. +

(+ = All make the sign of the cross.)

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