The Stations of the Cross (in Latin, Via Crucis; or Way of Sorrows) refers to the depiction of the final hours of Jesus. The object of the Stations is to help the faithful to make a spiritual pilgrimage of prayer, through meditating upon the chief scenes of Christ's sufferings and death.

2669 The stations from the Praetorium to Golgotha and the tomb trace the way of Jesus, who by his holy Cross has redeemed the world.

(excerpt taken from the Catechism of the Catholic Church; copyright © 1994 Concacan Inc., Canada)

 

This devotional practice began in Jerusalem in the early days of the Church when pilgrims wanted to retrace the steps of Jesus on his journey to Golgotha. Thus, "stations" were set along the way to commemorate the major events in Scripture in the passion of Jesus. Eventually these "stations" were brought inside of the churches using images, making this type of pilgrimage available to all. Eventually fixed at fourteen, the Stations soon became a familiar feature in all Catholic churches.

Although the stations of the cross can be said any time, it is traditional to pray the stations on Fridays during Lent, especially Good Friday.

The 14 Stations of the Cross

  1. Jesus is Condemned to Die
  2. Jesus is Made to Bear His Cross
  3. Jesus Falls the First Time
  4. Jesus Meets His Mother
  5. Simon Helps Jesus Carry His Cross
  6. Veronica Wipes Jesus' Face
  7. Jesus Falls the Second Time
  8. Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem
  9. Jesus Falls the Third Time
  10. Jesus is Stripped
  11. 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