Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey


Stations of the Cross





The devotion of the Stations of the Cross found its origin with the Crusaders. While in Jerusalem they devoutly walked through the streets of the city, winding their way to the site of Calvary. As they progressed they would stop from time to time, to reflect on Our Lord’s sufferings. There was no fixed pattern or number of these “stations”; some would stop six or seven times, others would make sixteen or seventeen or more stations, as the spirit prompted them.

On their return they described this spiritually enriching ‘journey with Christ’, but it was not possible for most people to go to Jerusalem. However, people soon realised that it was not necessary to be in Jerusalem to ‘journey with Christ’. Artists began to create images of various scenes of Christ’s journey to Calvary, which were installed at intervals in parish churches or church grounds, so that people could follow the way of the cross. Gradually the number of stations became fixed at fourteen, each with its own aspect of the story.
In our days pictures of the stations of the cross will be seen on the walls of almost all Catholic churches. In this devotion we accompany Christ on his own path to death and glory. As we move from station to station we meditate on different aspects of his passion. But the stations can also be followed in the privacy of one’s own home, usually with the aid of an illustrated pamphlet. No set pattern of words or prayers is necessary; what matters is our personal union with Our Lord. In our meditations we seek to be filled not simply with the horror of his sufferings, but rather with his great love, so that we may walk more courageously our own way of the cross in his love.
The following site offers an explanation of this devotion for anyone to whom it is new. It also explains how one can best follow the way of the cross either in church or even on-line. It provides an image and help for meditating on each station.

On-line Stations of the Cross


The following stations of the cross are based on those celebrated by Pope John Paul II on Good Friday 1991. They are presented here as an alternative to the traditional stations and as a way of reflecting more deeply on the Scriptural accounts of Christ's passion

Stations of the Cross with Pope John Paul II


Here is an inspiring set of meditations based on the traditional Stations of the Cross but featuring some alternative events in the Pasion of our Lord.