In most Catholic churches, the walls of the nave are lined with depictions of fourteen events of Christ’s Passion that have been singled out for contemplation. These “stations” — artistic representations in any number of possible media., topped with a wooden Cross — that the Way of the Cross is made during public liturgy. The devotion of the Stations originated from the practice of Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land in the first century of the Church who would walk the route that Our Lord walked as He made His way to Golgotha. When Muslims captured Jerusalem and it became too dangerous to make this pilgrimage, Christians replicated the sites back home in Europe, and there developed the “Stations of the Cross” devotion (also known as “Way of the Cross,” “Via Dolorosa,” or “Via Crucis”).
Before public Stations are undertaken, each person should make an Act of Contrition and mentally intend to gain indulgences attached to this devotion, for himself or another. Then, typically, at each station:
- the leader will announce the name of the station
- the leader will lead with “We adore Thee O Christ and we bless Thee” and the people will respond, “Because by Thy Holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.”
- the leader will read a meditative reading, upon which all should contemplate in penitence, thanking God for His sacrifice and uniting himself with that sacrifice
- Then a prayer follows [often an Our Father, a Hail Mary, and a Glory Be]
- Finally, between stations, successive stanzas of a hymn are sung.
The most famous version of this devotion are the meditations composed by St. Alphonsus Liguori [+1787] with verses of the Stabat Mater sung between stations.
We hold Stations of the Cross at 6:30 pm every Friday in Lent. Mark your calendars for Friday March 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th, and for April 5th and 12th. St. Luke’s walks the Stations according a Scriptural meditation compiled by Fr. W.T. St.John Brown in the mid-20th century; with verses of the Pange lingua gloriosi by Venantius Fortunatus between Stations.