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Daily Catholic Question

Who set up the 14 Stations of the Cross and why?

Since the first century, Christians have been making pilgrimages to the land where Jesus lived. St. Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine, made a famous pilgrimage in the fourth century, trying to identify where Jesus was born, died, and was buried.

For a short time after 1099 when the crusaders captured Jerusalem and nearby territory, visiting these sites was easier. After the crusaders lost this territory in 1291, pilgrimages became much more dangerous and expensive.

The Stations of the Cross, also known as the Way of the Cross, bring the Holy Land both to people unable to travel there and to those who have made that pilgrimage.

Francis of Assisi had two great devotions: Jesus’ Incarnation and his passion, symbolized in the crib and the cross.

The Franciscan friars popularized the Way of the Cross devotion, starting in the fourteenth century. People erected small stations inside churches and sometimes life-size ones outdoors. Soon, almost all churches had a Way of the Cross. A Franciscan wrote the Stabat Mater lyrics, often used during the Stations in the original Latin or in translation.

The number of stations and the events commemorated have varied over the centuries. Pope Clement XII (1730-40) fixed the present number and list.

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Daily Catholic Question for 3/25/2013 Daily Catholic Question for 3/27/2013


Giles: Despite the fact that much about St. Giles is shrouded in mystery, we can say that he was one of the most popular saints in the Middle Ages. Likely, he was born in the first half of the seventh century in southeastern France. That is where he built a monastery that became a popular stopping-off point for pilgrims making their way to Compostela in Spain and the Holy Land.<br /><br />In England, many ancient churches and hospitals were dedicated to Giles. One of the sections of the city of Brussels is named after him. In Germany, Giles was included among the so-called 14 Holy Helpers, a popular group of saints to whom people prayed, especially for recovery from disease and for strength at the hour of death. Also among the 14 were Sts. Christopher, Barbara and Blaise. Interestingly, Giles was the only non-martyr among them. Devotion to the "Holy Helpers" was especially strong in parts of Germany and in Hungary and Sweden. Such devotion made his popularity spread. Giles was soon invoked as the patron of the poor and the disabled.<br /><br />The pilgrimage center that once drew so many fell into disrepair some centuries after Giles' death. American Catholic Blog The ascension is about the final reunion of what appeared to be separated for a while: earth and heaven, human and divine, matter and Spirit. If the Christ is the archetype of the full human journey, now we know how it all resolves itself in the end. “So that where I am, you also will be” (John 14:3).

 
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