What are Stations of the Cross and why do we pray them?
Stations of the Cross are a powerful prayer experience and favorite Lenten practice that allow us to meditate and walk with Jesus as He carried His cross on the day He died (also known as Good Friday). In the Gospels, Jesus says that those who want to be a disciples must take up their cross and follow Him. Stations of the Cross are an opportunity for each of us to reflect, pray, and enter into the reality of the cross of Jesus. Through this devotion, we hope to better understand His immense love for each and every one of us.
History of the Stations of the Cross
Stations of the Cross, also known as the Way of the Cross, the Way of Sorrows, or the Via Crucis, are a prayer devotional involving a series of 14 images depicting Jesus Christ on the day of His death. Stations of the Cross date all the way back to Jesus’ earliest followers, who on pilgrimage to Jerusalem (called Via Dolorosa) wanted to retrace Jesus’ final hours. But as travel to the Holy Land became more difficult, especially during the Crusades, many church buildings and monasteries adapted this spiritual journey by constructing artistic images along their walls of Jesus carrying His cross—beginning with His sentence to death and ending with His burial.
History of the Stations at St. B’s
The Stations of the Cross here at St. B’s are one of the unique features of our church. Rather than individual scenes, the Stations run into each other, allowing the viewer to more vividly experience Jesus’ Way of the Cross. This fresco-style mural with life-sized people and dramatic use of color was created in 1948 by a Benedictine monk named Dom Gregory de Wit, OSB (1892—1978) who was a friend of Father van Veggel, our pastor at the time. Distinct features of Father De Wit’s artwork as seen in our Stations include:
- Vibrant colors—attributed to his method of mixing paints
- Contemporary elements—some say he included faces of parish children
Different ways to pray the Stations
As you know, there are many ways to pray through the Stations - explore some resources below:
- Stations of the Cross from Liguouri Press
- Mary's Way of the Cross by 23rd Publications
- Pray the Stations with St. Joseph
- Overcoming Racism Stations of the Cross from UCSSB
- Everyone's Way of the Cross from Ave Maria Press
View past recordings from Lent 2021