Tag: History

How Did The Stations Of The Cross Begin? 

How Did The Stations Of The Cross Begin? 

How Did The Stations Of The Cross Begin?

One of the devotions in our parish every Lent is the Stations of the Cross. Could you please tell me the origins of this devotion?

Since Lent is a penitential season of preparation for Easter, the Stations of the Cross, which follow the path of Christ from Pontius Pilate’s praetorium to Christ’s tomb have been a popular devotion in parishes. In the 16th century, this pathway was officially entitled the “Via Dolorosa” (Sorrowful Way) or simply Way of the Cross or Stations of the Cross.

This devotion has evolved over time. Tradition holds that our Blessed Mother visited daily the scenes of our Lord’s passion. After Constantine legalized Christianity in the year 312, this pathway was marked with its important stations. St. Jerome (342-420), living in Bethlehem during the later part of his life, attested to the crowds of pilgrims from various countries who visited those holy places and followed the Way of the Cross.

Interestingly, St. Sylvia, in her “Peregrination ad loca sancta” (380), in which she described in great detail various religious practices, did not mention a particular practice or set of prayers for following the stations; however, this omission does not entail that pilgrims did not in fact follow the Way of the Cross.

Actually, the devotion continued to grow in popularity. In the fifth century, an interest developed in the Church to “reproduce” the holy places in other areas so pilgrims who could not actually travel to the Holy Land could do so in a devotional, spiritual way in their hearts. For instance, St. Petronius, Bishop of Bologna, constructed a group of chapels at the monastery of San Stefano, which depicted the more important shrines of the Holy Land, including several of the stations. (The same notion inspired the building of the Franciscan Monastery in Washington, where one can visit and see reproductions of the Bethlehem Chapel, the tomb of our Lord, and other important shrines of the Holy Land).

In 1342, the Franciscans were appointed as guardians of the shrines of the Holy Land. The faithful received indulgences for praying at the following stations: At Pilate’s house, where Christ met His mother, where He spoke to the women, where He met Simon of Cyrene, where the soldiers stripped Him of His garments, where He was nailed to the cross, and at His tomb.

William Wey, an English pilgrim, visited the Holy Land in 1462, and is credited with the term “stations.” He described the manner in which a pilgrim followed the steps of Christ. Prior to this time, the path usually followed the reverse course of ours today–moving from Mount Calvary to Pilate’s house. At this time, the reverse — going from Pilate’s house to Calvary — seems to have taken hold.

When the Moslem Turks blocked the access to the Holy Land, reproductions of the stations were erected at popular spiritual centers, including the Dominican Friary at Cordova and Poor Clare Convent of Messina (early 1400s); Nuremberg (1468); Louvain (1505); Bamberg, Fribourg and Rhodes (1507); and Antwerp 1520).

Many of these stations were reproduced by renowned artists and are considered masterpieces today. By 1587, Zuallardo reported that the Moslems forbade anyone “to make any halt, nor to pay veneration to [the stations] with uncovered head, nor to make any other demonstration,” basically suppressing this devotion in the Holy Land. Nevertheless, the devotion continued to grow in popularity in Europe.

At this time, the number of the stations varied. William Wey’s account has 14 stations, but only five correspond to our own. Some versions included the house of Dives (the rich man in the Lazarus story), the city gate through which Christ passed, and the houses of Herod and Simon the Pharisee. 

In 1584 a book written by Adrichomius entitled, Jerusalem “sicut Christi Tempore floruit,” gives 12 stations which match those in our present version. This book was translated into several languages and circulated widely. In the 16th century, devotional books appeared especially in the Low Countries, which had 14 stations with prayers for each one.

At the end of the 17th century, the erection of stations in churches became more popular. In 1686, Pope Innocent XI, realizing that few people could travel to the Holy Land due to the Moslem oppression, granted the right to erect stations in all of their churches and that the same indulgences would be given to the Franciscans and those affiliated with them for practicing the devotion as if on an actual pilgrimage. Pope Benedict XIII extended these indulgences to all of the faithful in 1726.

Five years later, Pope Clement XII permitted stations to be created in all churches and fixed the number at 14. In 1742, Pope Benedict XIV exhorted all priests to enrich their churches with the Way of the Cross, which must include 14 crosses and are usually accompanied with pictures or images of each particular station. The popularity of the devotion was also encouraged by preachers like St. Leonard Casanova (16761751) of Porto Maurizio, Italy, who reportedly erected over 600 sets of stations throughout Italy.

To date, there are 14 traditional stations: Pilate condemns Christ to death; Jesus carries the cross; the first fall; Jesus meets His Blessed Mother; Simon of Cyrene helps to carry the cross; Veronica wipes the face of Jesus; the second fall; Jesus speaks to the women of Jerusalem; the third fall; Jesus is stripped of His garments; Jesus is nailed to the cross; Jesus dies on the cross; Jesus is taken down from the cross; and Jesus is laid in the tomb.

Because of the intrinsic relationship between the passion and death of our Lord with His resurrection, several of the devotional booklets now include a 15th station, which commemorates the Resurrection. A plenary indulgence is granted for those who piously exercise the Way of the Cross, actually moving from station to station where they are legitimately erected and while mediating on the passion and death of our Lord (“Enchiridion of Indulgences,” No. 63).

Those who are impeded from visiting a church may gain the same indulgence by piously reading and meditating on the passion and death of our Lord for one-half hour. The continued importance of the stations in the devotional life of Catholics is attested by both Pope Paul VI, who approved a Gospel-based version of the stations in 1975, and Pope John Paul II, who has also written his own version.


How Did The Stations Of The Cross Begin? By Fr. William Saunders.

Everything All Christians Need To Know About St. Michael The Archangel. 

Everything All Christians Need To Know About St. Michael The Archangel. 

​All You Need To Know About St. Michael the Archangel.

Saint Michael the Archangel isn’t a saint in the traditional sense, but rather he is an angel and the leader of all angels and of the army of God. This is what the title “Archangel” means, that he is above all the others in rank.

However, Michael the Archangel is still called a saint because he resides in heaven in communion with God. Michael the Archangel has four main responsibilities or offices, as we know from scripture and Christian tradition.

The first is to combat Satan. The second is to escort the faithful to heaven at their hour of death. The third is to be a champion of all Christians, and the Church itself. And the fourth is to call men from life on Earth to their heavenly judgment. Very little is known about Michael the Archangel other than what we know from scriptures, which themselves are sparse. In Daniel, he is mentioned twice.

The first time as one who helped Daniel, and the second time he is mentioned with regard to the end times of the world, a time when he will stand and defend the righteous. His next mention comes in the Epistle of St. Jude, where he is said to guard the tombs of Moses and Eve and has contended with Satan over the body of Moses.

The final mention is in Revelation, where St. Michael and his angels, do battle with the dragon.

There are other scriptures where St. Michael is implied, but not mentioned by name, such as the angel; who defends the gate to Paradise.

Today, St. Michel the Archangel is invoked for protection, especially from lethal enemies. He is also the patron of soldiers, police, and doctors.

St. Michael the archangel, Pray For Us! 

History Of Exorcisms In Religions Other Than Catholicism 

History Of Exorcisms In Religions Other Than Catholicism 

History of exorcism in religions other than Catholicism

Demonic Foes, A Psychiatrist Investigates Demonic Possession in the Modern United States.

Dr Gallagher’s forthcoming book will be the first mainstream publication by an experienced, highly credentialed American psychiatrist presenting research and case studies on church-referred discernment. In an endorsement of Dr Gallagher’s research, Joseph English, former Psychiatry Department Chairman at New York Medical College, stated:

“Contrary to a widespread impression, such phenomena (suspected demonic possession) not only continue to be reported in today’s world, but they still defy easy explanation as simplistically conceived medical or psychiatric disorders.”  

Two of the most popular books published to date on demonic possession are Glimpses of the Devil by Scott Peck and Hostage to the Devil by Malachi Martin. Both authors are deceased. Dr Gallagher describes his book as “a much broader treatment of the subject of possession”. He goes into the history of the concept, how to discern and which cases cause confusion, and describes people who may think they are possessed but are not.

Such people could be suffering from seizure disorders or other neurological disorders such as temporal lobe epilepsy. People hearing the devil’s voice might be psychotic and having auditory hallucinations. Others suffering from delusions that they are possessed might be bipolar, schizophrenic, or have drug-related conditions.

Dr Gallagher noted that borderline or anti-social people can have an internal battle of evil warring with a sense of decency. People who are suggestible and the histrionic may have the misconception that there is a demonic presence around them and/or that they are being manipulated by other people into believing that. Those with multiple personality disorders might have an evil alter ego that can be misinterpreted as demonic by “overly credulous or fundamentalist people”, according to Dr Gallagher. 

Demonic Foes profiles dramatic possession cases discerned by Dr Gallagher who gave their permission for their stories to be told. Julia is one. 


The discernment process requires a broad spectrum of information. Dr Gallagher not only examines and interviews the victim but also speaks to the clergy involved and the victim’s family. A challenge of discernment is gathering enough information. If Dr Gallagher has enough history and information he says he can make a determination in one meeting with the victim. Sometimes it takes several meetings.

Dr Gallagher will want to know if the victim turned to evil, was heavily involved in the occult, or was a Satanist, which he believes is a rare phenomenon. He noted that this kind of history is typical of people who are possessed. There are other specific criteria used to evaluate for possession: the ability to speak in other languages, abnormal strength, paranormal ability, and the knowledge of secret things. What all those criteria have in common, he said, is that they are indicative of another entity being in possession of the person.

Dr Gallagher has heard demonic voices come out of possessed people when they are in trance-like states, which they go in and out of. When they come out of the trance they are more or less themselves but do not remember what happened.

The clergy of many different faiths who have sent people to me sense that something is happening that is of the world beyond

The clergy of many different faiths who have sent people to me sense that something is happening that is of the world beyond

Over time, people have offered inadequate explanations for the manifestation of possession criteria, Dr Gallagher said. For example, a theory is espoused that knowledge of hidden things really just amounts to a cold reading, which law enforcement officers can be trained to do by observing facial expressions. But the hidden knowledge of someone who is possessed is true esoteric knowledge. Julia, for example, accurately told Dr Gallagher how his mother had died. 

The Exorcism

Dr Gallagher has directly observed 100 full blown possessions over the past twenty-five years. He has attended a few hundred other exorcisms as an observer, none of whom were his patients. He only attends exorcisms where the team “knows what they’re doing”. And that includes proper restraint of the victim to prevent that person from trying to run away or attack the exorcist. In the United States, the victim must sign a legal form indicating they have agreed to the ritual. According to Dr Gallagher, when the demonic is accessed, the demon is in control and “would do all sort of things if not restrained”.

Attending an exorcism, Dr Gallagher says, is “spooky and creepy”. He draws a comparison to his experiences interviewing terrorists and criminals committed to an evil life. Describing himself as “pretty devout”, Dr Gallagher says he has people praying for him when he attends an exorcism and is not afraid because he believes he’s on the winning side.

He has heard victims speak in different languages, noting that demons know all languages. When priests are conducting the Rite in Latin, victims are clearly following along, Dr Gallagher said, and will often comment in English. An entity with a “nasty attacking personality” with one or more of the other criteria for possession is demonic. He said he had seen all those traits on one or more occasions. 

At one exorcism, the priest was reciting prayers in Latin, which Dr Gallagher knows and the priest knew, and the demon in the possessed woman was sarcastically commenting on it. According to Dr Gallagher, the woman had the equivalent of an education up to around age 14 and was not Catholic at the time. She had never been exposed to Latin. He said the following dialogue occurred: 

Priest:  “Credo in unum Deum (I believe in one God).” Victim/demon, sarcastically: “Well I don’t.”

Priest: “Tertio die resurrexit (he rose on the third day).” Victim/demon: “No he didn’t.”

Priest:  “Descendit ad infernum (on the third day Christ descended into hell).” Victim/demon: “And he’s still there.”

Priest:  “Ad vitam aeternum (life everlasting).” Victim/demon, wearily: “There is no life.” 

Dr Gallagher believes that demons have been observing human beings since the beginning of time. “They’re very, very smart. The intelligence level of a fallen angel, which is what I call them, is far superior to human beings. Which is why they denigrate human beings. They sometimes call us ‘monkeys’,” he said.

Eight people, including two nuns and two priests, told Dr Gallagher that Julia levitated during one of her exorcisms and he believes them although he was not an eyewitness. But he would not believe film or videotape showing levitation. “Demons are intelligent, malevolent, manipulative creatures. They aren’t going to perform for a camera. They know they’re being taped,” he said.

He does not believe in group exorcisms, which he says can potentially harm the merely mentally ill, preventing them from getting the medical help they need. For the truly possessed, he said, the ritual must be done privately not publicly. And he is opposed to anyone who charges for an exorcism as it goes against biblical teaching.

Dr Gallagher made it clear that he has discerned possession only in cases where it was already suspected. “The clergy of many different faiths who have sent people to me sense that something is happening that is of the world beyond.” These victims, he said, should not be left to suffer because of the scepticism of conventional medical opinion. 

History Of The Visions Of Mary Of The Rosary Of San Nicolas 

History Of The Visions Of Mary Of The Rosary Of San Nicolas 

San Nicolas de los Arroyos is located in the Buenos Aires province, in Argentina, 143 miles from the capital, adjacent to the Parana River.  In 1852 in this city the Constituent Assembly was founded, for that reason it is known as the City of the Agreement, or also as Steel City, by the metallurgical industry, because one of the biggest steel mills in Latin America is located there, but will soon be known as the City of Mary.    

The city takes its name from a saint born around the year 270, who has had the greatest amount of churches erected in his name after the Most Holy Virgin. St. Nicolas bravely defended in the Council of Nicea the mystery of the divine maternity of Mary.  

In this city that bears his name, on September 25, 1983, the Virgin appears to Mrs. Gladys Quiroga de Motta, in her room, while she prays the rosary. 

The Virgin was dressed in blue, had Baby Jesus in her arms, and a rosary in the hand. The Most Holy Mother made a gesture, as to give the rosary to Gladys. 

The apparition was very brief, like a species of annunciation.  

Gladys is a simple woman, wife of a metallurgical worker and mother of two daughters.  Never before had she ever experienced anything similar. The previous day she saw that the Rosary that hangs in her bedroom had glowed by itself.  Some neighbors also saw it. There she began to pray the Rosary, and on the following day the first apparition took place.  

During some time, in several places of Buenos Aires several families testified this same phenomenon in their own houses. 

Gladys was not used to writing. She attended primary school until the fourth grade. Nevertheless she started to leave testimony in writing of the messages and the facts that changed her life and the lives of many others.  

On September 28 and October 5, 1983, the Virgin appears again to Gladys while she prays the Rosary. The Mother repeats the gesture offering the Rosary to her. The Virgin had still not spoken.  

On October 7, celebration of the feast of the Rosary, Gladys felt the inner announcement that she had learned to recognize, closed her eyes, saw a light, and in it saw the Most Holy Virgin full of life, holding in her hands a great Rosary. Gladys asked what was expected from us. The image erased and instead appeared a vision of a temple. By this, she understood that Mary wanted to be amongst us.   

On the 13th of October, anniversary of the last appearance at Fatima, the Virgin spoke for the first time:  

‘You have done well. Do not be afraid. Come to see me. I will take you by the hand and you will travel many paths.’  

After the message the Virgin refers to a message from the Bible, the word of God that illuminates all word. With this text she is encouraged to fulfill her mission, to take her messages although difficulties may appear. Thereafter, she begins to receive other messages frequently. On October 19th, Mary said to Gladys: 

‘Rebels are unjust and humble the servants of the Lord. Seek help and you will receive it. Do not fear. Nothing will happen to you. The Lord leaves nothing at random’. 

On October 25th, Gladys goes for the second time, since the apparitions started, to the city of Rosario, seat of the archbishop, city consecrated to Our Lady of the Rosary. That day, exactly a month to the day of the first apparition, the Virgin appears to her and She tends a white Rosary to her: ‘Receive this Rosary from my hands and keep it forever and ever. I am happy because you are obedient. And be happy because God is with you.’ 

The messages continue, with frequent references to the Sacred Scriptures. It is that Mary leads to the word of God and this way continues her invitation, as she did to the servants of Cana: “Do all that He tells you”.  This one is a new and singular fact in the history of the Marian apparitions.  

In our next edition, we will bring you messages from Mary of the Rosary of San Nicolas. 

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