10 Apr 2019

Stations of the Cross

Stations of the Cross  |  The Southern Cross, April 2019 edition

Every year on Good Friday large numbers of Catholics gather in groups to remember the Passion of Christ by praying the Stations of the Cross.

In Adelaide many people attend The Monastery at Glen Osmond or Sacred Heart College, Somerton Park, where the Stations are held outdoors.

The concept of following the steps of our Lord to Calvary arose very early in the Church’s history. There is even a tradition claiming that Mary herself visited the various sites in Jerusalem connected with her Son’s passion.

There is written evidence that in the 4th century the most important sites were regularly visited by pilgrims, and as early as the 5th century St Petronius, the Bishop of Bologna in Italy, erected a complex of connected chapels in the Monastery of San Stefano representing these various sites in order to bring closer to home the shrines of Jerusalem.

We also have accounts from pilgrims to Jerusalem from the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries of a Via Sacra (‘Sacred Way’) in which they progressed from one shrine to another. Exactly what each shrine represented, however, is not clear.

The Franciscans took over custody of the holy places in Jerusalem in 1342 and they saw it as part of their mission to promote devotion to these places and to the Passion of Christ. Quite soon, some form or other of these ‘stations’ appeared in monasteries, friary chapels and churches wherever the Franciscans served throughout the world, and from there, the devotion to the ‘stations’ spread to other parish churches.

Click to read Jenny O'Brien's full story. Jenny O'Brien is manager of the Office for Worship

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