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There has never been a time when the Church has not been persecuted, nor ever shall be, but in our time the persecution rages with a savagery not often known, unpredictable where and whom it strikes. These meditations were composed to reflect on the circumstances of this present outbreak, though not so specific that they cannot be prayed for the suffering Church wherever and whenever the martyrs lie.
The devotion of the Stations of the Cross is of great antiquity in the Latin Church. It was, they say, the Franciscan guardians of the Holy Places who first led pilgrims up the Via Dolorosa, the rugged road that leads from the site of Pilate’s Palace to that of the Cross. At various places on the way they stopped to reflect on various episodes on that Sorrowful Journey. It was not long before carvings or paintings representing the Fourteen Stations were set up in churches all over Christendom, so that now it is rare to find a Latin Catholic church or shrine without them. Many different sets of meditations have been composed for pilgrims to ponder as they walk around the Stations, some short and well-beloved for public recitation, others longer, more suitable for private reading.
Most of the Christians now suffering persecution are not of the Latin Rite, but of the various ancient Rites in communion with the Holy See, as well as of those still unhappily out of full communion. The Stations of the Cross in this form is not part of their tradition, but we pray for them as fellow members of the Body of Christ.
The chanted interludes between these Stations come from the recording Victimae paschali laudes, made in March 1989 at Quarr Abbey in the Isle of Wight. They are selected for Passiontide from the ancient Benedictine treasury of Gregorian Chant, whose roots stretch back to the earliest days of the Church if not before, and which is still in daily use in monasteries and parishes throughout the world. The original CD (Herald, HAVPCD 119) is still available, also in support of Aid to the Church in Need. This Pontifical organisation was originally founded to aid those suffering under Communist persecution in Eastern Europe, and remains active throughout the world, wherever there is suffering and oppression affecting the lives and worship of our fellow Christians, and particularly at this time when the persecution is so fierce, and the martyrs so many.
|2||02:38||First station: Jesus takes up His Cross|
|3||03:55||Second Station: Jesus takes up His Cross|
|5||03:12||Third Station: Jesus falls the First Time|
|6||03:19||Fourth Station: Jesus meets His Blessed Mother|
|8||03:08||Fifth Station: Simon of Syrene helps carry the Cross|
|9||03:45||Sixth Station: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus|
|10||00:33||Posuerunt super caput|
|11||03:04||Seventh Station: Jesus falls the second time Station|
|12||02:52||Eighth Station: Jesus meets the Women of Jerusalem|
|14||02:55||Ninth Station: Jesus falls the Third Time|
|15||02:48||Tenth Station: Jesus is stripped of His garments|
|16||02:30||Christsu factus est|
|17||03:44||Eleventh Station: Jesus is nailed to the Cross|
|18||03:13||Twelfth Station: Jesus dies upon the Cross|
|19||03:40||Tenebrae factae sunt|
|20||02:48||Thirteenth Station: Jesus is taken down from the cross|
|21||02:34||Fourteenth Station: Jesus is laid in the Tomb|
|22||03:37||Salve Festa dies / Easter Bells|