Via Dolorosa means “Way of Pain” in Latin. The Via Dolorosa is the road on which Christ carried his cross through the city of Jerusalem. Along the way, Catholics and other Christians reverence the fourteen stations, or fourteen spots where incidents occurred along Christ’s journey. (For example, one station is where the Catholic Saint Veronica is said to have wiped Christ’s brow with her veil.)
We were walking near the third station, where Christ is said to have fallen while carrying his cross. There is a church, more than a thousand years old, that stands on the spot. We toured the chapel, and when we came out there was a group of Franciscans doing a re-enactment of Christ’s journey and carrying a cross. They carry it all along the Via Dolorosa, following the route that the Savior took. They stopped at every station and read from the accounts in the Gospels of Christ’s crucifixion, and they sang hymns in Latin. We followed them on their journey.