Local effort sees Stations of the Cross restored to former glory in Diss church
A series of images depicting Christ’s journey to his death on the cross has been restored and hung in Diss Catholic Church in time for lent, which began on Ash Wednesday.
The Stations of the Cross, also known as the Way of the Cross, originated in medieval Europe when wars prevented Christian pilgrims from visiting the Holy Land. Artists created sculptures or paintings depicting scenes of Christ’s journey to Calvary, which were installed at intervals along a procession route inside the church or outdoors.
Performing the devotion meant walking the route and stopping to pray at each ‘station’.
The Stations in the new Church of St Henry Morse in Shelfanger Road, which are silver-plated bronze castings, believed to be of French or Spanish origin and are mounted on wooden crosses, were brought from the old church in the town as a symbol of continuity.
Parishioner Richard Poole, a retired creative director, wanted the Stations to have more prominence. After getting the go-ahead, he set about finding local craftspeople to carry out the restoration and new stonework.
Peter Hall, a metal finisher from Finningham, restored the bronze castings and applied new silver plate; Peter Dunsmore, who designed and built all the oak seating in the church, made new crosses, the old ones having disintegrated, and Paul Blake, master stonemason at Watton-based H Brett and Son, made the new stone crosses on which the wooden ones are mounted.
We will be praying the Stations of the Cross each week during Lent, at varying times to enable as many people as possible to take part
“They were looking a bit tired, and really needed enhancing,” said Mr Poole. “I realised how beautiful they would look if they could incorporate the same stone used to make the altar.
“This was a really interesting project for us.”
Father David Bagstaff, parish priest, said he was “delighted” with the result.
“The restored and enhanced depictions of Jesus’s journey to Calvary, leading to the great promise and hope of Easter, are beautiful and contemporary to our church building,” he said.
“They should be a great aid to our prayer, which embraces both word and the visual.
“We will be praying the Stations of the Cross each week during Lent, at varying times to enable as many people as possible to take part.”
Details of times for Stations of the Cross and for masses during Lent and Holy Week can be found on the parish website at www.sthenrymorse.com