Praying with the Stations of the Cross is one of the great devotions of Christian tradition. Traditionally, fourteen images depicting Jesus Christ follow the route he took on the day of his crucifixion. Each image is accompanied by prayers and in a spiritual way reflects our joining in on that walk with Jesus, either done individually or as part of a group.
Many church communities have a set of stations, and they can vary widely in artistic style and composition. You may be familiar with the set of stations at Saint Michael found in the narthex of the church—the Via Crucis, fourteen bas-relief sculptures created by Federico Severino. This example uses symbols that are found throughout each the sculptures to create a unified approach and depicts in a beautiful and moving way the last moments of Christ’s life.
This year, SMAA has added a different approach to the Stations of the Cross by enlisting the talents of parishioners and staff members to create a new set of stations. Each station is interpreted by one artist, who creates a piece of artwork based on that station. What results is a set of fourteen very different views, in varying styles and approaches, to the stations.
The idea behind this project is to allow viewers to interact with the Stations of the Cross in a new way. In each station you will encounter different emotions and ideas, different ways of looking at the images, in hopes that you will connect with the image or prayer in a new way. You will also be encountering images that come directly from the people with whom you worship and form part of your community. These artistic pieces reflect part of your own community as it interacts with Jesus’ walk to the crucifixion.
Our hope is that you experience the Stations of the Cross in a fresh and unexpected way. That they will help you to be more attune to the work of the Holy Spirit and the ways in which we are connected as a community.
The stations will be displayed in the ambulatory from Ash Wednesday through Good Friday. To assist in your devotions, you can pick up an accompanying booklet with artists reflections and meditations written by SMAA clergy.
**This article was written by the Rev. Christian Basel and was featured in the 2023 Spring Archangel.