Outside of Christmas, Lent is perhaps one of the most well-known seasons in the Church. It kicks off with “Fat Tuesday” and is followed by Ash Wednesday, otherwise known as “the day where everyone stares at you and wonders why you have a smudge of dirt on your forehead.” Since most of us participate in Lent every year, it can be easy for us to fall into a routine: We go to Mass on Ash Wednesday. We give up soda or chocolate or social media or TV. We make it through 40 days without our beloved (fill in the blank). We celebrate the Easter Triduum and then life goes back to normal.
Routines are great but not necessarily when it comes to Lent, as this is a time for us to truly reflect on the sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross. Lent is a time for us to enter into Jesus’ Passion and death and, eventually, celebrate His Resurrection on Easter. With that in mind, we took a different approach to this year’s Lent companion and decided to unpack a common ritual, or routine, in the Church: the Stations of the Cross.
The Stations of the Cross hang in every church, reminding us of the journey Jesus took to His death on the cross. In fact, we are so familiar with them that we oftentimes fail to recognize just how powerful they are. Yes, the Stations of the Cross allow us to prayerfully journey with Jesus to Golgotha, the place of His Crucifixion — but they are so much more than that. The Stations of the Cross are a means to enter into our suffering and experience the hope we have in Christ through the Resurrection. They give us the courage to journey alongside those who are suffering, to provide a helping hand to those who have fallen, to help someone carry their cross, to offer an act of compassion in the midst of humiliation, to simply sit at the foot of the cross and witness suffering and know that as we encounter others who suffer, we encounter Christ, as well. “VIA: Walking the Way of Hope” reframes the Stations of the Cross, helping teens discover that they are more than a way to remember Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross; they are a means to enter into our suffering and experience the hope of the Resurrection.
“VIA: Walking the Way of Hope” expands each station, so teens can dive deeper into Jesus’ Passion and death. It highlights those who are marginalized and suffering through the lens of Jesus’ suffering and utilizes personal narrative to relate each station to today’s world. “VIA: Walking the Way of Hope” is a Lent companion like no other, specifically designed for this generation of teens.