The Stations of the Cross began as the practice of pious pilgrims to Jerusalem who would retrace the final journey of Jesus Christ to Calvary. Later, for the many who wanted to pass along the same route, but could not make the trip to Jerusalem, a practice developed that eventually took the form of the 14 stations currently found in almost every Catholic church in the world.
The images of this popular devotion shown here are from St. Anne Church in Philadelphia. Click on each image to view larger. (Photos by Sarah Webb)
First Station: Jesus is Condemned to Death.
Pilate brought Jesus outside and said to the people, “Look at your king!”
At this they shouted, “Away with him! Crucify him!”
Then Pilate handed Jesus over to be crucified.
Second Station: Jesus is Made to Bear His Cross.
Jesus was led away,
and carrying the Cross by himself,
went out to what is called
the Place of the Skull, Golgotha.
Third Station: Jesus Falls the First Time.
Jesus emptied himself,
and took the form of a slave,
being born in the likeness of men.
He humbled himself,
to death and a Cross.
Fourth Station: Jesus Meets His Afflicted Mother.
Simeon said to Mary his mother: “This child is destined to be the downfall and the rise of many in Israel, a sign that will be opposed. And you yourself shall be pierced with a sword, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be laid bare.”
Fifth Station: The Cyrenian Helps Jesus to Carry His Cross.
A man named Simon of Cyrene, was coming in from the fields, and they pressed him into service to carry the Cross.
Sixth Station: Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus.
He who welcomes you welcomes me; and he who welcomes me, welcomes him who sent me. And I promise that whoever gives a cup of cold water will not want for a reward.
Seventh Station: Jesus Falls the Second Time.
But I am a worm and no man; the scorn of all, despised by the people. All who see me scoff at me.
Eighth Station: Jesus Speaks to the Daughter of Jerusalem.
A great crowd of people followed him,including women who beat their breasts and lamented over him.
Ninth Station: Jesus Falls the Third Time.
I am like water poured out; all my bones are racked. You have brought me down to the dust of death.
Tenth Station: Jesus is Stripped of His Garments.
They stripped off his clothes
and began to mock him saying:
“All hail, king of the Jews!”
Eleventh Station: Jesus is Nailed to the Cross.
After carrying his Cross, Jesus came to the Place of the Skull (in Hebrew, Golgotha). There they crucified him and two others with him.
Twelfth Station: Jesus Dies on the Cross.
Jesus said, “I thirst!” and they gave him wine.
“It is finished”!” he cried, and gave up his spirit.
Thirteenth Station: Jesus is Taken from the Cross.
When the soldiers came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers thrust a lance into his side, and blood and water flowed out.
Fourteenth Station: Jesus is Placed in the Sepulcher.
Joseph of Arimethea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus, and wrapped it in perfumed oils. Then he buried Jesus in a tomb close at hand.