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Priest: Take a pilgrimage in Brookhaven — St. Francis hosts Stations of the Cross service

The public is invited to make a pilgrimage across the playground at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church on Good Friday, stopping at 14 wooden crosses for meditation and prayer.

The Stations of the Cross prayer service will begin at noon in the fenced playground on East Cherokee Street across from the church.

The stations of the cross are a series of 14 representations of successive incidents during Jesus’ progress from his condemnation by Pilate to his crucifixion and burial. The representations vary from denomination to denomination and from church to church within each denomination, said the Rev. Henry Shelton, the priest at St. Francis.

Students from Brookhaven High School will lead the 14 meditations.

“The stations of the cross go back to when pilgrims were allowed to go to the Holy Land and they walked what tradition said was Jesus’ journey, from Pilate where he condemned Jesus to death to Calvary and then his burial,” Shelton explained.

He said when Christian pilgrims could no longer go to the Holy Land, the custom arose — eventually by the Franciscans in the 15th century — of building outdoor stations of the cross.

“They later became depicted in icons in the churches along the walls of the church,” he said. “In recent years they’ve added a 15th station to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. They were originally called the Via Dolorosa, or the Via Crucis, the Way of Sorrows or the Way of the Cross.”