Stations of the Cross will take place following the 4 o’clock Saturday Mass, followed by a Soup Supper in the Kafe’. The traditional Gorzkie Zale (Bitter Lamentations) will take place at 10 o’clock before the Sunday Mass. Below is some background and information on these two traditional Lenten customs.
Stay tuned for our schedule for Holy Week!
For Roman Catholics throughout the world, the Stations of the Cross are synonymous with Lent, Holy Week and, especially, Good Friday. This devotion is also known as the “Way of the Cross”, the “Via Crucis”, and the “Via Dolorosa.” It commemorates 14 key events on the day of Christ’s crucifixion. The majority concern His final walk through the streets of Jerusalem, carrying the Cross.
The Stations originated in medieval Europe when wars prevented Christian pilgrims from visiting the Holy Land. European artists created works depicting scenes of Christ’s journey to Calvary. The faithful installed these sculptures or paintings at intervals along a procession route, inside the parish church or outdoors. Performing the devotion meant walking the entire route, stopping to pray at each “station.”
The object of the Stations is to help the faithful to make in spirit a pilgrimage to the chief scenes of Christ’s sufferings and death, and this has become one of the most popular of Catholic devotions. It is carried out by passing from Station to Station, with certain prayers at each, and devout meditation on the various incidents in turn. It is very usual, when the devotion is performed publicly, to sing a stanza of the “Stabat Mater” while passing from one Station to the next.
The Ancient chants retracing the Passion and Crucifixion of Christ form the essence of this typically Polish weekly Lenten service that takes its name from the words of the hymn, “Gorzkie zale przybywajcia” (Come to us, bitter lamentations). Many Poles know the texts of the entire three-part cycle by heart.
The Gorzkie Zale [gosh-geh-zahl-leh] began in Warsaw’s Holy Cross Church during the 1700s. The devotion incorporates prose and verse, chant and reading, prayer and meditation, inviting participants to reflect on the mystery of Christian redemption, the Passion and death of the Christ. This deep appreciation for the Passion is seen in the most popular Polish image of Christ, Chrystus Frasobliwy, the so-called “sorrowing Christ,” which depicts Christ in the Garden, bent in prayer and sorrow. The Lamentations highlight the very emotional nature of Polish spirituality, inviting a personal identification with the Suffering Lord and His Mother. The devotion is most often preceded by Benediction and chanted kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament.