Pastor's Corner

2021 02-21   Why Do We Pray the “Stations of the Cross”?

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Each Friday during Lent we are invited to come together as a faith community to pray the “Stations of the Cross.”  We begin at 7:00 pm with a brief reflection by one of our deacons or deacons in formation.  The reflection focuses on our Lenten challenges and concerns.   “Stations” then follow at 7:15 pm.

As we deal with the fluid nature of the Covid-19 virus, we can also pray the “Stations” in the privacy of our own residence.  This is an especially important consideration for those who have pre-existing medical conditions or ongoing illnesses or for those with underlying health concerns.   A pre-recorded version of the “Stations” is available on the parish website.

As previously noted, the publication “Catholic Online” stated that “The Stations of the Cross are a 14-step Catholic devotion that commemorates Jesus Christ’s last day on Earth as a man.  The 14 devotions, or stations, focus on specific events of His last day, beginning with His condemnation.  The stations are commonly used as a mini pilgrimage as the individual moves from station to station.  At each station, the individual recalls and meditates on a specific event from Christ’s last day.”  It further states that “The Stations of the Cross are commonly found in churches as a series of 14 small icons or images.”  They are prayed “…especially on Good Friday, the day of the year upon which the events actually occurred”.

Pope Francis has encouraged us to pray the “Stations”, and stressed their importance.  He reminded the faithful that the Cross of Christ bears the suffering and sins of mankind and that Christ bears our crosses on His shoulders.  As reported in the publication “Focus”, Pope Francis has noted the following eight reasons why we should pray the “Stations of the Cross”:

   They allow us to place our trust in God.

   They put us into history.

   They remind us that Jesus suffers with us.

   They compel us to action.

   They help us make a decision for or against Christ.

   They reveal God’s response to evil in the world.

   They give us the certainty of God’s love for us.

   They guide us from the cross to the Resurrection.

As we reflect on these reasons, we may more clearly understand why praying the “Stations” can provide us with an opportunity to avail ourselves of abundant spiritual graces.  Commemorating the Passion of Jesus through the “Stations’ can help us to clearly witness our faith and assist us in our spiritual journey.  The “Stations” help us to more fully appreciate what Jesus has done for us.  They also assist us in our efforts to enter more fully into the Lenten spirit of sacrifice, renewal, and repentance.

I hope that we will prayerfully consider making the “Stations” an integral part of our Lenten experience.


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