Looking for some quiet time to  reflect prayerfully on the meaning of Lent and prepare for Easter? Consider attending Stations of the Cross, a deep and meaningful way to contemplate the passion of Jesus Christ.

A beautiful tradition practiced by Catholics for over 1,000 years, Stations of the Cross is a 14-step devotion commemorating Jesus' journey to Calvary. The 14 devotions (stations) focus on the significant events of Jesus' passion and crucifixion. Each station, usually depicted by sacred art, icons or images, presents a chance to carry out a mini-pilgrimage while pausing to  pray, reflect and meditate on each experience.

This devotion has evolved over time. From the earliest days, followers of Jesus told the story of His passion, death and resurrection. Some traditions even hold that the Blessed Mother frequently visited each scene of the Lord's passion. During the fourth century, pious pilgrims visited Jerusalem and began to retrace Jesus' path, visiting all the holy places and following the Way of the Cross. The practice further developed when pilgrims who could not physically travel to the Holy Land wanted to reproduce the sacred scenes closer to their homes and enable them to visit them in a spiritual way. They created replicas with small shrines commemorating places along Jesus' route.

By the early 18th century, the Order of Friars Minor (the Franciscans) erected 14 shrines in their churches to evoke the feeling of being on the

journey to Calvary along with Jesus. Eventually, these shrines became the 14 stations which are now found in nearly every Catholic church worldwide. Stations of the Cross provides a way for anyone to practice the devotion as if on the actual pilgrimage.

The mosaic stations located in Saint Elizabeth Parish originated from the Church of the Transfiguration in Philadelphia, Father Mullin's childhood parish. At Transfiguration Parish, the mosaics were encapsulated in concrete. The concrete was removed when the mosaics were transferred to Saint Elizabeth Church when it was being built.

Traditionally, stations are placed around the walls of a church with the first station to the left of the sanctuary, progressing counterclockwise to the fourteenth station on the right. The contractor for our church building had three stations already installed when Father Mullin noticed they were placed on the right and moving clockwise around the church, so our stations are somewhat unique.

Saint Elizabeth will hold parish stations every Friday evening at 7:00 PM throughout Lent. Elementary Faith Formation (EFF) will host stations on Monday, March 7 at 4:45 PM and 6:30 PM. Additionally, Saint Elizabeth Parish School eighth-grade students will continue their meaningful tradition of a living stations on Friday, April 8 at 1:30 PM and 7:00 PM. All are invited to take part in this richly endowed tradition during the Lenten season.

~ Julie Krumenacker