Stations of the Cross
Where did the Stations of the Cross come from? The disciples of Jesus experienced,
remembered, and recounted Jesus' passion, death, and resurrection.
When pilgrims visited Jerusalem in the centuries that followed, they were eager to
see the places where Jesus had once been so that they could walk in his footsteps.
These pilgrims wanted to accompany Jesus along the narrow streets of Jerusalem to
his crucifixion and death. The street through which Jesus carried his cross is still
called the Via Dolorosa, the "Way of Suffering." The Stations of the Cross as we now
know them came into being when pilgrimage to Jerusalem and the Holy Land became
increasingly difficult, dangerous, and even impossible. In the late Middle Ages,
the Way of the Cross began to emerge as a popular devotion in many villages and towns of Europe.
Small shrines were designated to commemorate particular scenes and places ("stations") on the Way of the Cross.
The number and title of these "stations" varied considerably for a long time, but was eventually set at fourteen.
The Fourteen Stations of the Cross can be found in or near almost every Catholic Church worldwide.
We must remember, however, that devotion to the Passion without reference to the Resurrection is incomplete.
This has lead to the addition of a "Fifteenth Station," the Resurrection of Christ.