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Dear Father Angelo,

I am writing to you at the beginning of this Lenten season to share some thoughts on the rite that helps me most to contemplate Christ’s passion: the Via Crucis (Stations of the Cross).

To better explain how I approach this pious practice, I will describe how it is carried out in my small parish: first of all we carry it out only on Fridays during Lent, with the Priest who leads the function from the seat and a lector, usually me, who announces from the ambon the biblical passages along with relevant comments; the cross that is carried through the  stations is a special cross that has depicted the instruments of Christ’s torture; at the end of the rite we sing together and the Priest gives the blessing holding a stauroteca in his hand.

Now what I notice is that, during the Via Crucis, I can meditate on the events of Jesus’ passion in a much deeper way than with other prayers; even more than the Rosary which is the perfect prayer of contemplation. In particular, during the singing of the verses of the Stabat Mater I am really moved and I am pervaded by a state of sadness which I try to control at least in order to be able to keep reading the biblical passage of the next station. What I ask you is if these feelings are appropriate, above all in relation to the fact that I don’t feel such intensity even during the consecration of the Eucharistic in which Christ’s sacrifice is real and present and not only with personal thoughts; in essence, I ask you which state of mind is best to maintain.

Another question: should we pay either dulia or latreutical worship to the remains of the Vera Croce (True Cross) in the staurotech? (Considering that in the parish, either there aren’t or I have not found the authentication of that relic).

Thank you again for the work you do and I wish you a happy Easter in the hope that the wish will reach you in time.

I’ll remember you while praying the Rosary and I greet you.


Answer from the priest

Dear Fabio,

1. I am not at all surprised that the celebration of the Via Crucis and above all the singing of the Stabat Mater can move you to tears.

The preciousness of the so-called popular devotions (the Via Crucis is among them) lies precisely in a deep involvement of the emotional aspect.

Now the emotional aspect has its importance, because it helps to pray more willingly and with greater zeal.

2. The Catechism of the Catholic Church observes: “Besides sacramental liturgy and sacramentals, catechesis must take into account the forms of piety and popular devotions among the faithful. The religious sense of the Christian people has always found expression in various forms of piety surrounding the Church’s sacramental life, such as the veneration of relics, visits to sanctuaries, pilgrimages, processions, the stations of the cross, religious dances, the rosary, medals, etc.” (CCC 1674).

3. I’d like to report to you what the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy, published by the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (2002), writes about the Via Crucis: “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)” (n. 131).

4. “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” (n. 131).

5. “The Via Crucis is a synthesis of various devotions that have arisen since the high middle ages: the pilgrimage to the Holy Land during which the faithful devoutly visit the places associated with the Lord’s Passion; devotion to the three falls of Christ under the weight of the Cross; devotion to “the dolorous journey of Christ” which consisted in processing from one church to another in memory of Christ’s Passion; devotion to the stations of Christ, those places where Christ stopped on his journey to Calvary because obliged to do so by his executioners or exhausted by fatigue, or because moved by compassion to dialogue with those who were present at his Passion” (n. 132).

6. “In its present form, the Via Crucis, widely promoted by St. Leonardo da Porto Maurizio (+1751), was approved by the Apostolic See and indulgenced(137), consists of fourteen stations since the middle of seventeenth century. (n.132).

7. “The Via Crucis is a journey made in the Holy Spirit, that divine fire which burned in the heart of Jesus (cf. Lk 12, 49-50) and brought him to Calvary. This is a journey well esteemed by the Church since it has retained a living memory of the words and gestures of the final earthly days of her Spouse and Lord”. (n. 133). 

8. “In the Via Crucis, various strands of Christian piety coalesce: the idea of life being a journey or pilgrimage; as a passage from earthly exile to our true home in Heaven; the deep desire to be conformed to the Passion of Christ; the demands of following Christ, which imply that his disciples must follow behind the Master, daily carrying their own crosses (cf Lk 9, 23).

The Via Crucis is a particularly apt pious exercise for Lent”. (n. 133).

9. About the last question: worship is reserved only to God.

Therefore it can only be given to the Most Holy Trinity, to the individual divine Persons, to Christ, also present in the Eucharist.

To the relics of the Cross and to all the other relics that remind us of the Savior, to the images of him, such as those of the Most Holy Trinity, the Crucifix is ​​given a relative adoration, which is directed to the represented person.

This is also the meaning of the adoration of the cross which takes place in the liturgy of Good Friday.

Thank you for the Easter wishes which I cordially reciprocate.

I remember you to the Lord and bless you.

Father Angelo