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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


Monica: The circumstances of St. Monica’s life could have made her a nagging wife, a bitter daughter-in-law and a despairing parent, yet she did not give way to any of these temptations. Although she was a Christian, her parents gave her in marriage to a pagan, Patricius, who lived in her hometown of Tagaste in North Africa. Patricius had some redeeming features, but he had a violent temper and was licentious. Monica also had to bear with a cantankerous mother-in-law who lived in her home. Patricius criticized his wife because of her charity and piety, but always respected her. Monica’s prayers and example finally won her husband and mother-in-law to Christianity. Her husband died in 371, one year after his baptism. 
<p>Monica had at least three children who survived infancy. The oldest, Augustine (August 28) , is the most famous. At the time of his father’s death, Augustine was 17 and a rhetoric student in Carthage. Monica was distressed to learn that her son had accepted the Manichean heresy (all flesh is evil)  and was living an immoral life. For a while, she refused to let him eat or sleep in her house. Then one night she had a vision that assured her Augustine would return to the faith. From that time on, she stayed close to her son, praying and fasting for him. In fact, she often stayed much closer than Augustine wanted. </p><p>When he was 29, Augustine decided to go to Rome to teach rhetoric. Monica was determined to go along. One night he told his mother that he was going to the dock to say goodbye to a friend. Instead, he set sail for Rome. Monica was heartbroken when she learned of Augustine’s trick, but she still followed him. She arrived in Rome only to find that he had left for Milan. Although travel was difficult, Monica pursued him to Milan. </p><p>In Milan, Augustine came under the influence of the bishop, St. Ambrose, who also became Monica’s spiritual director. She accepted his advice in everything and had the humility to give up some practices that had become second nature to her (see Quote, below). Monica became a leader of the devout women in Milan as she had been in Tagaste. </p><p>She continued her prayers for Augustine during his years of instruction. At Easter, 387, St. Ambrose baptized Augustine and several of his friends. Soon after, his party left for Africa. Although no one else was aware of it, Monica knew her life was near the end. She told Augustine, “Son, nothing in this world now affords me delight. I do not know what there is now left for me to do or why I am still here, all my hopes in this world being now fulfilled.” She became ill shortly after and suffered severely for nine days before her death. </p><p>Almost all we know about St. Monica is in the writings of St. Augustine, especially his <i>Confessions</i>.</p> American Catholic Blog The Church really is my mother, too. She isn’t a vague maternal force for a generic collection of anonymous people. This Mother truly nurtures us—each one of us. And for those of us who are baptized Christians, the Church has actually given birth to us on a spiritual level.

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Tuesday in Holy Week
Holy Week reminds us of the price Jesus paid for our salvation. Take time for prayer at home and at church.

Monday in Holy Week
While Lent has a penitential character, it is also a time for reflecting on the baptismal commitment we make as Christians.

Palm Sunday
Holy Week services and prayers invite us to follow Jesus into Jerusalem, experiencing the events of his passion and death.

Thank You
For Christians, gratitude is always an appropriate response to God’s goodness.

Praying for You
As they grow closer to the Easter sacraments, your parish’s RCIA candidates welcome your prayers.




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