For Roman Catholics throughout the world, the Stations of the Cross are synonymous with Lent, Holy Week and, especially, Good Friday.
The Stations of the Cross began as the practice of pious pilgrims to Jerusalem who would retrace the final journey of Jesus Christ to Calvary.
Later, for the many who wanted to pass along the same route, but could not make the trip to Jerusalem, a practice developed that eventually took the form of the fourteen stations currently found in almost every church. This devotion is also known as the “Way of the Cross,” the “Via Crucis,” and the “Via Dolorosa.”
The Stations of the Cross are a fourteen-step Catholic devotion that commemorates Jesus Christ’s last day on Earth as a man. The 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. Specific prayers are recited, then the individual moves to the next station until all fourteen are complete.
The Stations of the Cross are commonly found in churches as a series of fourteen small icons or images. They can also appear in church yards arranged along paths.
Although the stations are most commonly prayed during Lent they can be said anytime. (8:19)