Stations of the Cross services at the cathedral
St. John's Cathedral now offers Stations of the Cross services on a monthly basis on the fourth Friday of each month at 5 p.m. in Cummings Chapel. During Lent, the Stations will be conducted weekly each Friday at 5 p.m. in the cathedral. This year, the non-Lenten monthly schedule will resume Friday, April 22, and continue through October 28. The Stations of the Cross will be suspended during the months of November and December as we prepare for the Advent and Christmas seasons. The next Stations of the Cross service is Friday, August 26 at 5 p.m. in Cummings Chapel.
The tradition of walking the Stations began with St. Francis of Assisi and spread throughout the Western Church during the medieval era. The Franciscans were most likely the originators of the Via Dolorosa (the Way of Grief or Way of Sorrows) in Jerusalem around 1342. In Jerusalem walking the Stations meant actually walking the streets and places where Christ Himself had walked.
During the 15th and 16th centuries the Franciscans began building outdoor shrines in Europe to replicate their counterparts in the Holy Land. In 1731 Pope Clement XII extended the privilege of the stations to all churches. In 1857 the bishops of England were allowed to erect Stations, and in 1862 the right was extended to bishops throughout the Church.
The Stations of the Cross depict 14 significant occurrences in the life of Christ on the Friday of His Crucifixion. The Crucifixion narrative is read and solemn prayer is offered at each Station marked by 14 images. Although not traditionally part of the 14 Stations or the Way of the Cross, many Protestants recognize a 15th Station – the Resurrection of Our Lord.
The devotional practice of the Stations of the Cross is meant to assist the faithful to make a spiritual pilgrimage of prayer through meditation on the chief scenes of Christ’s suffering and death for our sins. It has become one of the most popular devotions for many Christians, especially Roman Catholics, Anglicans, and Lutherans. It is often performed in a spirit of reparation for the sufferings and insults that Jesus endured during His Passion.
We plan to walk the Way of the Cross in solemn service on the Fridays defined by the schedule outlined above using the icons in Cummings Chapel during the non-Lenten season, and to walk the Stations in the main sanctuary of the Cathedral during Lent, when the carved wooden Stations are discreetly positioned in the church.
We hope that this service of prayer and meditation, the Stations of the Cross, each month will move us to a more intimate relationship with Christ Jesus – a closeness to Him as we continue our walk through our own lives with Him.