The Stations of the Cross are prayed each Friday evening during Lent here at St John Vianney beginning at 6:30 pm.  This year you will have the opportunity and option to attend any or all of three events that includes the Stations of the Cross, Simple Soup Supper and Father William’s talk on being Called and Gifted.

The pre-Lenten season provides a good time to review the origin of The Stations of The Cross.

The Stations of the Cross started when early pilgrims visited holy places in Jerusalem where Jesus carried His cross. The actual path that Jesus followed on his way to be crucified was lost when Jerusalem was destroyed in wars in the early centuries.  Over time Jerusalem was reconstructed and today pilgrims follow the Via Dolorosa (Way of Sorrows), a modern remnant of the route that Jesus followed when carrying His cross from the Pretorium, where Pilate commended him to death, to the tomb where He was buried.  It is 500 meters long; that is about the distance from SJV Church, across Ygnacio Valley Blvd, to John Muir Hospital.

Pilgrims would stop at important places, or stations, along Jesus’ path to meditate and reflect on His suffering.  In the 5th century the Catholic Church began to reproduce these hallowed stations in locations other than Jerusalem so that pilgrims who could not actually travel to the Holy Land to remember Christ’s passion could reflect on them in a devotional, spiritual way in their hearts. 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.

The number of stations has evolved over time.  The Franciscans, in the 13th century, established fourteen stations along the Via Dolorosa where Christian pilgrims would stop and pray to reflect on Christ’s sufferings.  The Moslem Turks blocked access to the Holy Land and suppressed the Stations of the Cross devotion in the 15th century.  This stimulated the Franciscans to increase efforts to establish this devotion in other locations and by the end of the 17th century stations were in most churches throughout Europe.  Today the Stations of the Cross are an integral part of our churches.  A number of modern versions of the Stations have added a 15th Station, The Resurrection of Christ

Stations of the Cross are a way to pray and meditate on Christ's sacrifice for us. The Stations are meant to help people to make, in spirit, a pilgrimage to the chief scenes of Christ's sufferings and death.  There are many narratives used to assist in meditation that allow users to put themselves into the scenes of Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection.

Please join us on Friday nights in Lent for the Stations of the Cross at 6:30pm in the Church followed by Simple Soup Suppers at 7pm in the Vista