Based on early Christian practice, pilgrims to Jerusalem reconstructed the events of Good Friday along the “Way of Suffering,” the Via Dolorosa. The Spanish nun, Egeria, writes of her own experience with this in her fourth century Holy Week journal. In the Middle Ages, the Franciscans and Dominicans particularly picked up on the ritual, and transported it from Jerusalem to chapels and churches outside the Holy Land. If one could not make the pilgrimage to the place of Jesus’s passion, then the “place” could be brought to the pilgrim . . . even in his or her own home town.
Over the centuries, the Stations of the Cross spread across Europe and the British Isles. Eventually, fourteen stations were set, with accompanying books of readings and prayers to guide the Good Friday pilgrims as they walked the way with Christ—going “with him” as he bore his cross from the court of Pilate to the hill of Golgotha, from his judgment and condemnation to his death and deposition from the cross.
Allow these scriptures, meditations, and prayers to accompany you as you walk and pray the Stations of the Cross with Christ.
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Fr. Martin Shannon is an Episcopal priest, liturgist, and writer of daily devotional collections, seasonal studies, and other materials for spiritual formation at his home, the Community of Jesus on Cape Cod, MA. He holds a PhD in Liturgical Studies from the Catholic University of America. He and his wife, Mary, have four grown children.