The Stations of the Cross is a series of images showing the struggles of Jesus Christ from his condemnation to his crucifixion. They are especially prayed during Lent and Good Friday. There are usually 14 images that are hung in order around a church or along a path. People walk from image to image, and stop at each "station" saying prayers and possibly reading scripture passages. This prayer is often held by groups or individually. Other names for the Stations of the Cross are the Via Dolorosa or Way of Sorrows, or, The Way. In Jerusalem, the Via Dolorosa is the actual path that Jesus walked, and the stations are the actual places where the events occurred. St. Francis of Assisi started the tradition of moving from station to station although it was practiced less formerly before. In Lent, and on Good Friday, this practice is very popular but it is also prayed during the year.The number of stations varied throughout history; Pope Clement XII extended to all churches the right to have the stations. Ultimately, the stations are an act of love towards Jesus to thank him for the great sacrifices he made for love of us and to atone for our sins.
Here is the most common list of Stations:
1. Jesus is condemned to death
2. Jesus carries his cross
3. Jesus falls the first time
4. Jesus meets his mother
5. Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry the cross
6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
7. Jesus falls the second time
8. Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
9. Jesus falls the third time
10. Jesus is stripped of his garments
11.Crucifixion: Jesus is nailed to the cross
12. Jesus dies on the cross
13. Jesus is taken down from the cross
14. Jesus is laid in the tomb.
15. Resurrection of Jesus is sometimes included as a fifteenth station.
Common prayers at each Station:
P/ We adore thee O Christ and we praise thee.
C/Becuase by thy Holy cross thou hast redeemed the world.
And, when moving from station to station:
All: Holy Mother, pierce me thorugh, in my heart each wound renew, of my saviour crucified.
- A plenary indulgence every time the devotion is completed.
- An additional plenary indulgence if one receives Holy Communion on the day.
- Also an additional plenary indulgence if one performs the devotion ten times and receives Holy Communion within a month after so doing.
- A partial indulgence of ten years for every Station made if one was not able to finish the Stations.
- Walking from Station to Station when making the Way of the Cross privately; when making it publicly, it suffices for the priest with the altar boys to do so. Meditate at each Station on the sufferings of our Lord.
- These two conditions are essential. No oral prayers are prescribed; yet they are profitable.
- A plenary indulgence* is granted to the faithful for making the Stations of the Cross under the normal conditions: one is free from all attachment from sin