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Jerusalem’s ‘Via Crucis’...

Every Friday afternoon at 3 p.m., several Friars Minor and many pilgrims assemble in the courtyard of a Muslim school in Jerusalem’s Old City to begin the Stations of the Cross. That school is built on the probable site of the Fortress Antonia, where Pontius Pilate condemned Jesus to death, and near the Dome of the Rock mosque.

Across the street from the school is the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum, a graduate school founded in 1924 for Scripture study. It contains a chapel for the second station (Jesus accepts his cross). Seven other stations are commemorated along the Via Dolorosa (Sorrowful Way) until the group reaches the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where the last five stations are celebrated.

In the year 400, the pilgrim Hegeria reported that she had participated in a procession in Jerusalem to commemorate Jesus’ passage to Calvary. The number of stations varied over the years until 1731 when Pope Clement XII fixed it at 14, allowing all churches to have them. Since the days of Ottoman rule, a kawas (official hired by the Christians) has accompanied the pilgrims. The friars use a portable loudspeaker for outdoor stations. Franciscans have promoted the Stations of the Cross devotion around the world.

This blog was taken from Pat McCloskey’s “Dear Reader” column in St. Anthony Messenger. To subscribe to this award-winning publication, click here.

Photo: Dmitry Sunagatov/PhotoXpress


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"And now let us begin this journey, the Bishop and people, this journey of the Church of Rome, which presides in charity over all the Churches, a journey of brotherhood in love, of mutual trust. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world that there might be a great sense of brotherhood.

I will now give my blessing to you and to the whole world, to all men and women of good will."

-Papa Francis quote

He does not know you, yet he prays for you.
He will most likely never meet you, yet he loves you.

This is your chance to show your love, for as the Bible teaches, "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."