History of the Stations of the Cross

A long standing devotion in the Church is to pray the Stations of the Cross. This devotion is more popular in Lent, but praying the stations on a regular basis helps the Christian to meditate more intimately on the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Traditionally, the stations are comprised of 14 different moments in the Via Crucis or the Way of the Cross. Ordinarily, the stations have wooden crosses. Christians, follow in the footsteps of the Lord in prayer; to adore, make petition for oneself or for another, to ask intercession for a friend or a loved one, to give thanks for the salvation won for us by the Passion, Death and Resurrection and to Praise God for the gift of Jesus His Son. We pray the Way of the Cross as a form of penance or to make reparation for past sins as well. In this beautiful devotion, all forms of prayer are covered. While praying to God, the Christian venerates the “wood” of the cross, and uses the scene of the station to place him or herself in the midst of the Passion. By making the Way of the Cross, a plenary indulgence is gained. It may be achieved once a day.

Note on the Indulgence: The Church offers the Faithful, a plenary indulgence for certain devotions. The indulgence is the removal of temporal punishment due to forgiven sin. For the sake of analogy; I sin by breaking a window… I ask forgiveness for breaking a window, and receive forgiveness from my Dad, but I still have to pay for breaking his window. An indulgence would mean I am able to escape the payment of the window. Ultimately, when it comes to indulgences, no one but God knows for certain when a plenary indulgence is actually gained because only God knows whether a person’s dispositions are adequate. Indulgences go along with the prayers and work of the one, who seeks perfection, does it not? One condition to receive a plenary indulgence is that “all attachment to sin, even venial, must be absent”. For further reading, see the Hand book of Indulgences (Catholic Book Publishing).

The history of the Stations of the Cross at Our Lady of Joy in Carefree, AZ begin with the Schumann family who had taken a trip taken to Rancho Santa Fe, CA in the mid/late 1990’s. Ford and Susan Schumann stopped in at the Church of the Nativity for a local art show on saints and martyrs and the thought to have the Stations of the Cross at ‘eye level’ someplace sounded good to Mr. Schumann. In the mid 1990’s, the atrium (landscaping) in front of the church was still cactus and desert foliage. Mr. and Mrs. Schumann got together with more parishioners and Monsignor Moyer (3rd pastor) to see if the Stations of the Cross could be commissioned. Artist Max DeMoss who was at the art show in Rancho Santa Fe was brought over to Carefree, to see how the stations could be laid out and capture a bit of the flavor and architecture of the property itself. The commissioning began and in 1998, the stations were set in their current configuration on the property. The outside stations were made possible thanks to the generosity of parishioners, Mr. and Mrs. Ford and Susan Schumann and Mr. and Mrs. Herman and Adeline Wolf, both of whom had been generous benefactors of the parish. The artist’s working concept for the Stations of the Cross was to bring the one who meditates on the sculptures into the scene; on the Way with Jesus. . Although Mr. Max DeMoss has executed the Stations of the Cross at other parishes around the country, the Stations of the Cross at Our Lady of Joy are beautifully unique to the parish in Carefree, AZ. Since 1975, A S. California native, Mr. DeMoss has been living near Hemet, CA with his wife Carolyn and family. Mr. DeMoss works daily in his own foundry.