The Via Dolorosa and the
Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Sunday was our last day in Israel.

The day began with a frightening experience at the hotel. Rod Teal was in the lobby getting ready to leave when he experienced some weakness on his left side while handling his luggage. Alison got in contact with the tour sponsors and the appropriate insurance company. Apparently, all three of them, along with Donna Rheault performed wonderfully. Doctors were called, arrangements were made, and by noon, Rod was pronounced ready to rejoin the group for our trip on to Rome. In the meantime, the rest of the group continued with our visit to the holy city.

Sunday Mass - Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Chapel of the Franciscans

We began the day with our 5th daily mass, celebrated in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. After mass we visited and prayed stations three thru fourteen of the Via Dolorosa - our Lords final days on earth. This church is very different than what a Christian expects to see as the central shrine commemorating the place where our Lord suffered, died, and was buried. It is a concatenation of several not so special buildings built and controlled by committee. Latin Catholics, Greek Orthodox, Armenians, Syrians, Copts, and Ethiopians have each carved out their individual physical and religious rights to control this place.

However, no matter how strange the trappings, the place itself offers hope for all mankind. When in this place, no Christian could possibly avoid experiencing a deep sense of pain and regret for His suffering, as well as the wonderful grace offered to each of us through His resurrection.

Finally, we visited the place believed to be the site of the last supper. We then drove to Tel Aviv, endured a rather lengthy security check of our baggage, and ten flew to Rome on Alitalia. Remember the great bagels on the bus!


The Stations of the Cross

Stations 1 and 2 were visited on Friday and were covered on that page of this website. The photographs above were taken at stations 3 thru 5. Stations 6 thru 9 were in such crowded areas of the streets and markets that I did not take photographs. Stations 10 thru 14 are inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and are covered individually below. These were our prayers:

Station One - Jesus was condemned to death. Lord Jesus, ours is the guilt, yours is the judgment, ours is the crime, yours is the punishment. Forgive us for we knew not what we did. Foolish and stubborn, yet we are the sheep you came to save. Good Shepherd, we follow your sorrowful way this day, praying that you may lead us in all your ways. Amen

Station Two - Jesus embraces the cross. Lord Jesus, no power in heaven or on earth forced you. With love you stretched out your arms to embrace the cross. From a witness to death, the cross became a herald of life. Come and lift up our sagging arms. Make our way of the cross your own and fill our hearts with your love. Amen

Station Three - Jesus falls the first time. Jesus, you came to this world not as a stranger: You came to embrace us as your brothers and sisters. You are the heartbeat of this world; you are the center of gravity of this universe. Lift us up and restore us with your amazing grace. Without you we will fall again and again and again. Amen

Station Four - Jesus meets his mother; Mary. Jesus, from the cross you gave us your mother to be our own. From first to last she shows us how to be your disciples. "Be it done unto me according to your word" is ever on her lips. May it also be on ours. Amen

Station Five - Simon from Cyrene helps Jesus. God, bless the Simons of this world. They meet the weak and they provide strength. They see the fallen and they lift them up. They are disturbed by injustice and they do something. They live the gospel and don't just mouth it. Shake us up that we may be counted among them. Amen

Station Six - Veronica wipes the face of Jesus. How busy and preoccupied were those who passed you by, Jesus. They could spare and hour for God on the Sabbath but for the rest of the time they had to be careful. Their neighbors might think they were religious fanatics. The next time we rush past you, bring us to our knees. Open our eyes to see that the face is yours. Amen

Station Seven - Jesus falls the second time. "Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and thus enter into his glory." Yes, Jesus but that is so difficult to remember when our legs are pulled out from under us. But you were there before us. Strengthen us in our weakness; raise us when we fall. Amen

Station Eight - Jesus meets the daughters of Jerusalem. Gentle Savior, in the midst of your torture you allude to violence. The dry wood which is to come will feed the fire of revolt. Violence, revolution and war are no answer. As you disciples, may we be the green wood of life. Through our work for peace and justice, may your kingdom come. For you are our peace. Amen

Station Nine - Jesus falls the third time. AMEN! AMEN! AMEN!

Station Ten - Jesus is stripped of his garments. Jesus, although you were God, you were not miserly about your divine prerogatives. For our sakes you made yourself poor, you emptied yourself, and your Father exalted you as Lord. Empty us of self. Be Lord of our lives. Amen
Station Eleven - Jesus is nailed to the cross. Jesus, nails did not hold you to the cross; love did. You did not just say, "Greater love than this has no one than that they give their life for their friends." You did it! You did it for me! Thank you, thank you, thank you. Amen
Station Twelve - Jesus dies on the cross.

John 19: 28-30 After this, aware that everything was now finished in order that the scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I thirst." There was a container of common wine nearby. So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and held it up to his mouth. When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, "It is finished." And bowing his head, he handed over the Spirit.

Station Thirteen - Jesus is taken down from the cross and prepared for burial.We remember your words, Lord Jesus: "You will grieve for a time, but your grief will turn into joy. I shall see you again, and then your hearts will rejoice, with a joy no one can take from you." This joy is the source of our hope, for the light came into the darkness, and the darkness was not able to overpower it. Amen
Station Fourteen - Jesus is placed in the tomb.Lord of life, we are Easter Christians and Alleluia is our song! Through the transforming power of your paschal sacrifice, you are the lamb once slain who lives forever. You are our eternal high priest, interceding for us with the Father. May the light of your resurrection shine through us. May we proclaim it by every word and deed: Christ is risen! He is truly risen! Alleluia! Alleluia!


Other Photographs - Church of the Holy Sepulchre


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