Photo provided by: 
Michael Jensen

Stations of the Cross

The Stations of the Cross

This ancient devotional prayer is essentially a meditation on the last moments in the life of Jesus.

It is also known as theVia CrucisVia Dolorosa or The Way of the Cross.

There are two ways to pray The Stations of the Cross:

  • Individually, moving from one station to another and saying the prayers.
  • Congregationally, with a celebrant leading the prayers.

We celebrate the Stations of the Cross congregationally at 7:00pm in The Basilica on the Fridays of Lent.

You may meditate with the Scriptural Stations of the Cross in the privacy of your home by playing the audio file available on the right.  Be sure to advance to each station on the slideshow as the audio file plays.

History and Theology

The early Church. Popular piety holds that Mary, the Mother of Jesus regularly visited some of the scene's of Jesus' passion after his death and resurrection. When Christianity was legalized in 312 pilgrims to the Holy Land started flocking to these same places.

4th - 6th centuries. This devotion was so powerful that local bishops made accommocations for this devotion outside the Holy Land. The bishop of Bologna, e.g. erected a series of chapels dedicated to the holy places in Jerusalem to allow local pilgrims the same experience.

12th century. Devotion to the Stations of the Cross increased dramatically. There was, however, no uniformity in terms of the number and content of the Stations of the Cross

14th century. The Franciscans fostered the popularity of the Stations of the Cross when they took over the care of the sacred sites in Jerusalem in 1342. Still, there was no uniformity in terms of number and content.

18th century. Originally done outdoors, in 1731 Pope Clement XII allowed Stations inside churches. He also set the current number (14) and content of the Stations. Strongly encouraged by Pope Benedict XIV in 1742, the Stations of the Cross soon became a standard feature in all Catholic churches.

20th century. On Good Friday, 1991 Pope John Paul II introduced a new set of Stations of the Cross changing their number to fifteen and making sure that the content of each Station is based on the Gospels. Also, these Stations end with the Resurrection rather than the burial of Jesus which is the case in the Traditional Stations. 

The Stations of the Cross at The Basilica.

The Basilica has three sets of Stations of the Cross.   

  • The first set of traditional stations are original to the building. They were designed and sculpted by The McBride Studios from Pietrasanta, Italy, and installed in September, 1926.
  • The second set of traditional stations is in the Saint Joseph Chapel. These were donated to The Basilica in 2001 by local artist, Leo Winstead.
  • The third set depicts the so-called Biblical Stations inaugurated by Pope John Paul II. These abstract Stations were commissioned by The Basilica to celebrate the beginning of the third Millennium of Christianity. They are mono-prints created by local artist Lucinda Naylor and master printer Steven Anderson.
  • Jesus Prays in the Garden of Olives
    Photo provided by: 
    Lucinda Naylor
    The First Station: Jesus Prays in the Garden of Olives
  • Jesus is betrayed by Judas
    Photo provided by: 
    Lucinda Naylor
    The Second Station: Jesus is betrayed by Judas
  • Jesus is condemned to death by the Sanhedrin
    The Third Station: Jesus is condemned to death by the Sanhedrin
  • Jesus is denied by Peter
    Photo provided by: 
    Lucinda Naylor
    The Fourth Station: Jesus is denied by Peter
  • Jesus is judged by Pilate
    Photo provided by: 
    Lucinda Naylor
    The Fifth Station: Jesus is judged by Pilate
  • Jesus is flogged and crowned with thorns
    Photo provided by: 
    Lucinda Naylor
    The Sixth Station: Jesus is flogged and crowned with thorns
  • Jesus carries his cross
    Photo provided by: 
    Lucinda Naylor
    The Seventh Station: Jesus carries the cross.
  • Jesus is helped by Simon of Cyrene
    Photo provided by: 
    Lucinda Naylor
    The Eighth Station: Jesus is helped by Simon of Cyrene.
  • Jesus encounters the women of Jerusalem
    Photo provided by: 
    Lucinda Naylor
    The Ninth Station: Jesus encounters the women of Jerusalem.
  • Jesus is crucified
    Photo provided by: 
    Lucinda Naylor
    The Tenth Station: Jesus is crucified.
  • Jesus promises to share His reign with the good thief
    Photo provided by: 
    Lucinda Naylor
    The Eleventh Station: Jesus promises to share his reign with the good thief.
  • The mother of Jesus and His disciple stand by His cross
    Photo provided by: 
    Lucinda Naylor
    The Twelfth Station: The mother of Jesus and his disciple stand by his cross.
  • Jesus dies on the cross
    Photo provided by: 
    Lucinda Naylor
    The Thirteenth Station: Jesus dies on the cross.
  • Jesus is placed in the tomb
    Photo provided by: 
    Lucinda Naylor
    The Fourteenth Station: Jesus is placed in the tomb.
  • Jesus is raised from the dead
    Photo provided by: 
    Lucinda Naylor
    The Fifteenth Station: Jesus is raised from the dead.