Ecological Stations of the Cross

On the 1st of March, JRS volunteers and friends gathered to pray at the outdoor Stations of the Cross at St. Joseph’s Church. Traditionally, this 14-step Catholic devotion during Lent commemorates Jesus Christ’s last day on earth as a man. But this year, the Prayer Warriors Sub Committee decided to do something a little different. Agnes Peng who heads the Sub Committee tells us how she felt about a Stations of the Cross with an emphasis on ‘eco-conversion’…

The degradation of lands by fire and flooding, drought and rising sea water and climate disasters have resulted in greater forced displacements. It seemed fitting that we reflect on this unique ‘ecological’ Stations of the Cross. At each station, we pondered on the desperate situations of our brothers and sisters fleeing in search of safety from wars and climate change, and the many times migrants and refugees meet with hatred and obstacles on their journey. 

We learnt that by 2050, as many as 143 million people could be displaced globally due climate-related reasons. It is timely to recall how our small daily actions, while seemingly insignificant, are a part of billions of actions around the world that daily contribute to a culture of degradation. Instead of being part of the ‘problem’, we are challenged to examine our lives and find the courage to put a stop to actions which are destroying God’s creation.

Anita, one of our JRS volunteers felt that this year’s Stations of the Cross was a refreshing change from the more ‘traditional’ stations.

“Initially, I was a bit concerned about the heat and humidity as it was outdoors. However, it turned out to be a pleasant evening. The groups were well spaced out, giving everyone enough space to contemplate without feeling being too squeezed. The gentle walk was a breeze — and without distractions.

The ecological Stations of the Cross attempts to confront our various roles in the climate change catastrophe, while reminding us at the same time that it is the poor who suffer the most by our actions, especially through our greed and consumerism. The connection made good sense”.

By the time we reached the end of the Stations, night had fallen and the darkness seemed apt as we meditated on the last Station — Jesus is laid in the tomb.

The hope and light of the world has been laid to rest in a tomb, but it was only an interlude to the resurrection. The women of Galilee and faithful followers take the first lonely steps without Jesus by their side. Each year, millions of our brothers and sisters take their own lonely steps into new lands that are not always friendly to their arrival. Wherever this suffering is present in the world, there, the cross of Christ is mysteriously present. It is by this cross that light pierces through the darkness as those suffering wait in hope for the joyful coming of the Lord. In moments of darkness and suffering like these, we must learn to trust in God’s providence and not obsess over our own desires. (excerpt from the 14th Station)

As we closed the session, we prayed for peace and safety, especially for the most vulnerable and marginalized. I felt that this ecological Stations of the Cross was a meaningful way to remind ourselves of our responsibilities to Mother Earth as well as towards our brothers and sisters.