Saint Francis of Assisi had a great devotion to the Passion of Jesus. When he returned from his pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 1220, he invented both the Christmas Crib and laid the foundations for the Stations of the Cross. He thought that for those who could not undertake such a pilgrimage, the holy places could be brought to them! Thus, over time, the Franciscans developed the Way of the Cross into its present form.
Fr Michael Sharkey is a priest of the Archdiocese of Birmingham. A former school teacher, he trained for the priesthood at the Beda College, Rome, and was ordained in 1974. He is currently parish priest of St Michael’s, Sonning Common, South Oxfordshire.