Stations of Cross

 

In this Year of the Parish as Communion of Communities, let us join our respective parish pastoral zones as we undertake the Stations of the Cross every Friday of Lent.

The writings of St Paul show how he meditated greatly on the meaning of the Crucifixion and Resurrection. For St Paul, the Cross meant everything. Jesus, accepting his cross freely, reflects God’s ultimate act of mercy towards a sinful world. St. Paul profoundly understood the paradox of the cross: in earthly terms it was a sign of defeat and humiliation; but in the eyes of faith, it is a sign of victory and exaltation. As he writes to the Corinthians: “For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.” (1 Cor 1:18)

The Way of the Cross developed during the Middle Ages. Its roots, however, can be traced back to the Byzantine period, 4th to 10th centuries, when Christians fervently attempted to retrace in the Holy Land the events of the Gospels and to identify the locations where they occurred, as pilgrims still do today. There was always a special focus on the sufferings of Jesus on his way to Calvary.

The Way of the Cross developed as a devotion around the 13th to 14th centuries. It became a way of allowing those who could not make the long, expensive, arduous journey to Jerusalem to make a pilgrimage in prayer, at least, in their church. Although the original number of stations varied greatly, they became fixed at 14 in the 18th century.

The New Way of the Cross instituted by Pope Saint John Paul II in 1991, will be used for our pious activity. The conduct of our Way of the Cross during the Fridays of Lent will be done through our parish pastoral zones. The pastoral zone will determine the time when this is most appropriately done. Each station is requested to have the following items:

     a. Table with white cloth;
     b. Cross with the image of the Crucified Christ;
     c. Votive candles fronting the Crucifix;
     d. Icon of the Station (optional)

Scriptural passages provide the assembled community an opportunity to reflect on the events on the suffering of the Lord Jesus. Songs accompany the transfer from one station to another. The community should be encouraged to join in this pious activity and should start and end the Way of the Cross together.

Readers for the reflections and prayers should come from among the family members who have read the reflections beforehand. Family donations to the Pondo ng Pinoy are encouraged; these will be offered during the Holy Thursday evening Mass.

God is working through this grace-filled time. Lent comes around each year, inviting us to prepare with prayer and penance, with fasting and almsgiving, for the great celebration of Easter. Lent is the kairos (time) of the Lord, his chosen time of present opportunities to grow, hence a spiritual springtime.

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