An increasingly popular devotion that celebrates the 50 days of Easter is coming to Gardens of Gethsemani cemetery.
Fourteen stations depicting the Via Lucis (the Way of Light) will commemorate Christ’s life from the Resurrection to the descent of the Holy Spirit, said Catholic Cemeteries director Peter Nobes.
The prayer stations, which Nobes calls the Stations of the Resurrection, complementing the Stations of the Cross, will be placed in a special section of Gardens of Gethsemani, which is also developing a companion prayer book to guide users through the devotion.
The introduction to the booklet says, “Via Lucis – the Way of Light – is a devotion similar to Via Crucis – the Way of the Cross. The Way of the Cross follows Jesus’ last hours of anguish and death. The Way of Light, also known as the Stations of the Resurrection, celebrates the 50 days of Easter, the most joyful time in the Christian calendar. Using the metaphor of a journey, the Way of Light moves from the experience of darkness and suffering to light and hope. This is the promise of Easter: liberation, joy, and peace.”
The Gardens has ordered 14 bronze reliefs for the prayer stations from a Benedictine monastery in Nebraska. Nobes had hoped to have temporary stations for 2022, but concrete is still being poured and the section developed.
“We hope to put them into the Evangelist Chapel at Gardens so prayer groups and others can come to the Gardens,” he said.
The Via Lucis has developed in recent decades through the help of Father Sabino Palumbieri, a Salesian priest in Rome who in the 1990s was inspired by Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor 15:3-8), which describes Jesus’ appearing to his apostles, and by an inscription from the letter found on the walls of the Catacombs of St. Callistus in Rome.
The events mentioned in the Saint Callistus inscription were combined with other post-Resurrection events to create a new set of stations, the Stations of the Resurrection.
The devotion received formal recognition from the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in 2001. Similar to the Stations of the Cross, the faithful meditate at each station, in this case on the various appearances of Jesus from his Resurrection to his Ascension.
In announcing the devotion, the congregation said, “The Via Lucis is a potential stimulus for the restoration of a “culture of life” which is open to the hope and certitude offered by faith, in a society often characterized by a “culture of death,” despair, and nihilism.”
The Stations of the Resurrection
I The Resurrection
Jesus rises from the dead
II The Empty Tomb
The disciples find the tomb empty
III Appearance to Mary Magdalene
The Risen Christ appears to Mary Magdalene
IV Road to Emmaus
The Risen Christ on the road to Emmaus
V Christ Reveals Himself
The Christ reveals himself in the breaking of bread
VI Christ Alive to Disciples
The Risen Christ shows himself alive to the disciples
The Risen Christ gives power to forgive sins
VIII Faith of Thomas
The Risen Christ strengthens the faith of Thomas
IX Sea of Tiberias
The Risen Christ meets his disciples by the Sea of Tiberias
X Declaration of Peter
The Risen Christ confers the supremacy upon Peter
The Risen Christ entrusts to the disciples the universal mission
The Risen Christ ascends to Heaven
XIII Waiting with Mary
Waiting with Mary for the Holy Spirit
XIV The Spirit
The Risen Christ sends the promised Spirit