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Why we do Stations of the Cross

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Every Friday during Lent you will find Belen students gathering during homeroom in the Central Patio to pray the Stations of the Cross.  It is a popular devotion that is practiced throughout the world, especially during Lent.
Through the stations, Christians have been able to spiritually journey to the Via Dolorosa (Latin for “Way of Sorrows” or “Way of Suffering”) in Jerusalem without actually going there. Beginning with Christ’s condemnation all the way to his body being laid in the tomb, each “station” or “stop” allows modern-day pilgrims to meditate through various methods of reflection and prayer that are fitting to a particular community.
So, how did the practice of praying the Stations get started?
From the earliest days of Christianity, pilgrims journeyed to Jerusalem to walk in the footsteps of Christ’s passion on the road to Calvary.  Tradition holds that Mary, the mother of Jesus, herself led by example in making daily visits to the sites of her Son’s sufferings, death and resurrection following his ascension into heaven.
Born out of widespread devotion to the Passion of Christ in the 12th and 13th centuries, the Stations of the Cross, as a devotion, did not begin to develop until the Franciscans were granted custody of Christian sites in Jerusalem in 1342.
St. Leonard of Port Maurice became known as the “Preacher of the Way of the Cross” in the 18th century because he is credited with erecting more than 572 stations between 1731 and 1751. Today almost all Catholic churches have a set of the stations somewhere on the church grounds. In recent years, the Church has supported a set of stations that are more scripturally based.
More than 2,000 years later, Christians still try to grasp the saving gift of Jesus by meditating on or reenacting his crucifixion through what has come to be known as the Stations of the Cross.  Also known as “Way of the Cross” or “Via Crucis” this private devotion consists of 14 stations, taken both from Scripture and tradition, since the 17th century when the Church officially approved the now common Lenten practice.
So, each Friday during Lent, take time to pray the Stations of the Cross — either during homeroom, at your parish or with your family at home.  What a wonderful way to strengthen your faith and prayer life during your Lenten season!

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