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Categorized | From the Pulpit

Stations of the Cross

Father Lam T. Le, Pastor

St. John Paul II Parish

3110 17 Mile Rd, Cedar Springs, Michigan

616 696 3904

“When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM”

(Jn. 8:28)

In the new Church of St. John Paul II Parish, Cedar Springs, there is a beautiful set of the Fourteen Stations of the Cross.  During this Lent, I would like to share with all of you where this set came from and what it means to reflect on these Stations.

These Stations came to Cedar Springs due to the thoughtfulness of a group of priests and the kindness and generosity of the former St. Jean Baptist Catholic Church in Muskegon, Michigan.  In 2015, a group of priests urged the Archivist of the Diocese of Grand Rapids to invite me to St. Jean Parish. Upon arrival I was completely shocked to learn that the Church, which was over100 years old, was preparing for closure. The priests and parishioners encouraged me to take any available religious items that I felt I could work into the design of the new church at St John Paul II Parish.  I instantly knew that the antique Stations of the Cross would be a unique addition to our new worship space. I gathered a team and brought them to the grounds of St. John Paul II Parish. We commissioned two local artists to restore the pieces and they are now installed in the Church. I am so grateful for my brother priests who gave a thoughtful consideration for the newest parish in the Diocese and to the parishioners of formerly St. Jean for their encouragement and understanding.  Our gratitude to all!

To explain why the devotion of the Fourteen Stations of the Cross are important to Catholics, especially during Lent, I would like to share paragraph number 131 of The Directory of Popular Piety and the Liturgy: Principles and Guidelines (December 2001) from the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

Of all the pious exercises connected with the veneration of the Cross, none is more popular among the faithful than the Via Crucis. Through this pious exercise, the faithful movingly follow the final earthly journey of Christ: from the Mount of Olives, where the Lord, “in a small estate called Gethsemane” (Mk 14, 32), was taken by anguish (cf. Lk 22, 44), to Calvary where he was crucified between two thieves (cf. Lk 23, 33), to the garden where he was placed in freshly hewn tomb (John 19, 40-42). . . The love of the Christian faithful for this devotion is amply attested by the numerous Via Crucis erected in so many churches, shrines, cloisters, in the countryside, and on mountain pathways where the various stations are very evocative.

Truly, Via Crucis/ Way of the Cross is a devotion to the suffering of Christ for our salvation: the pilgrimage to the Holy Land during which the faithful devoutly visit the places associated with the Lord’s Passion. With the replication of the Fourteen Stations (His Condemnation to Death, Carrying the Cross, His First Fall, Meeting His Mother, Simon of Cyrene is Made to Bear the Cross, Christ’s Face is Wiped by Veronica, His Second Fall, the Lord Meets the Women of Jerusalem, His Third Fall, Christ is Stripped of His Garments, His Crucifixion, His Death on the Cross, His Body is Taken Down from the Cross, and being Laid in the Tomb) on the walls of a Church/Chapel, allow the faithful, who cannot make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, to join in these moving Scriptural reflections.

We pray the Stations as pilgrims: Like Christ, we must press through towards the Cross, which leads to the glory of the Resurrection. The Fourteen Stations of the Cross calls us to die to sin and to rise in the newness of life. May our participation in the Stations remind us of the Lord’s promise: “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself” (Jn.12:32) 

(Father Lam also is the Pastor of Mary Queen of Apostles Parish, 1 West Maple St, Sand Lake, Michigan 49343 phone: 616 636 5671).

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