The Stations of the Cross are an ancient tradition within the church. They allow us to journey with Christ from his arrest through to his death. The Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem is thought to be the original route taken by Jesus.
Follow the trail through the trees in the churchyard, from 1 to 11, stopping to pause and reflect at each picture, and scanning the QR code for more information.
These pictures are by the New York artist Gwyneth Leech. She has blended traditional Christian iconography with contemporary elements by incorporating the suffering and grief of people around the world.
Find out more at Gwyneth Leech’s website
Click on each image below to find out more about it and follow the link for a piece of music or written reflection:
In a city street, Jesus struggles to lift the cross onto his shoulders. Two soldiers holding rifles stand guard. Listen to Agnus Dei, arranged from Samuel Barber Adagio for Strings: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SuBQZFOnk7s
A soldier prods him with the butt of his rifle to get up. In the background figures watch from behind barriers guarded by armed soldiers. To find out more about the Via Dolorosa: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Via_Dolorosa
Mary is a peasant woman with dark robes pulled around her head (based on a photo of a mother standing vigil outside Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq). In the background a file of refugees walk along. Read a reflection by Jon Bloom on verses spoken to Mary “a sword shall pierce your heart”: https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/when-a-sword-pierces-your-soul
In a city street, lined with barbed wire, a man in Muslim dress helps Jesus carry the cross. In the background the ruins of a bombed house where people are searching in the rubble. Listen to There is a green hill in a faraway country, by Geraldine Latty: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5u0fCN4IKs
Jesus turns to the weeping women that follow him on the road to Calvary with an expression of concern and sadness. Here they are depicted as refugee women of Darfur, Sudan. Kyrie Eleison (Lord, have mercy) from Missa Luba (Congolese): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qXO6nmWecY
Joseph of Arimathea and John support each other as they weep (based on a photo of an American father and son at the moment when they learn of the death of another son held in Iraq). Read Grasped by the Love of God, a reflection by Bishop Tom Wright: https://ntwrightonline.org/grasped-love-god/
Inspired by Northern European sculptures of the Pietà. The Mary is the same Iraqi peasant woman from Station 4. Mary Magdalene kneels and holds Jesus’ feet. Listen to Stabat Mater by Arvo Pärt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ne1Azm4Ezpc
Based on a photo of a mother grieving her dead child from Beslan in Russia. Behind is the open mouth of the tomb with the wheel of stone waiting to be rolled into place.Read This is the time to be slow, poem by John O’Donohue: https://www.indcatholicnews.com/news/39244
Images Copyright © 2005 Gwyneth Leech