Q. 1. What is the Way of the Cross?
A. 1. The "Way of the Cross", also known as the "Stations of the Cross" is a spiritual mini pilgrimage to the locations where Jesus suffered and died. Having become one of the most popular Catholic devotions, it permits the faithful to go from Station to Station (1) while saying a certain prayer at each stop and (2) permits them to meditate on the incident related to that particular Station.
This devotion was implemented because, while being unable to do so because of poverty or other reasons, many desired to visit holy places in other lands. While being unable to do a physical pilgrimage, they were able to do so in spirit.
The fourteen Stations of the Cross are:
The devotion, the Way of the Cross, is found in most Catholic Churches. The Stations, possibly made out of wood, stone, metal, sculptured or carved, are located apart from each other, usually seven on each side of the Church.
- Christ condemned to death;
- The cross is laid upon him;
- His first fall;
- He meets His Blessed Mother;
- Simon of Cyrene is made to bear the cross;
- Christ's face is wiped by Veronica;
- His second fall;
- He meets the women of Jerusalem;
- His third fall;
- He is stripped of His garments;
- His crucifixion;
- His death on the cross;
- His body is taken down from the cross; and
- His body is laid in the tomb.
Some Stations of the Cross are found on the grounds of places of pilgrimages, having life size representations of the persons involved in each event.
It is believed that this devotion began in the days of Saint Francis of Assissi.
This devotion can be done anytime. Common sense and charity dictates that it is not appropriate to do so in the Church during the celebration of the Holy Mass in order not to distract the faithful while walking from Station to Station.