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St. Gall offers Stations and Soup for Lent

by Gail Davenport

The Lenten tradition at St. Gall Catholic Church, 1343 Centerville Lane, Gardnerville, of “Stations and Soup” begins tonight at 6 p.m. and will be held each Wednesday during Lent.

Where did the Stations of the Cross come from? According to a St. Gall spokesperson, after Jesus died and rose from the dead, many people reflected upon his passion and death. They began to make visits to Jerusalem and walk in Jesus’ footsteps. The street Jesus walked is still called Via Dolorosa, “The way of pain.” People would stop along the way and remember what had happened to Jesus. It is likely that they marked the significant places for those who came after them to follow as well. These people became known as “pilgrims.”

As Christianity spread throughout the world, distance made it nearly impossible for most people to make the trip to Jerusalem. That didn’t stop their desire to know and remember Jesus’ journey. By the 12th century, the fervor of the Crusades and a heightened devotion to the Passion of Jesus created a demand in Europe for representations of the last events in Jesus’ life.

When the Franciscans took over the custody of the shrines in the Holy Land in 1342, they saw it as their mission to encourage devotion to these places. In western Europe, a series of shrines were erected outside churches and monasteries, as well as other public places, to help the faithful remember Jesus’ passion. For many years, there was a considerable variety in the number and title of these “stations.” The current number of 14 first appeared in the Low Countries in the 16th century and became standard in the 18th century with a series of papal pronouncements.

Since the season of Lent is the natural time for this devotion, Catholics around the world gather to commemorate Jesus’ final journey, his death and resurrection.

The St. Gall community has a long-standing tradition of meeting weekly during Lent to join in the re-enactment of Jesus’ final journey as told through the “Stations of the Cross.” The format is “interactive,” with different members of the community taking on the parts of the characters Jesus met along the way. It is a time of coming together for prayerful reflection.

A community soup supper follows. Members provide their favorite homemade soups and recipes to share, along with bread, cheese and wine.

Christians of all denominations are invited to join the St. Gall Catholic community to participate in this meaningful tradition.