Mumbai: A small town Don Bosco Centre in Karjat near Mumbai, which installed a Stations of The Cross – depicting the crucifixion of Christ, has become a local centre of attraction. Karjat town is located in the outskirts of Mumbai city in Raigad district of Maharashtra. Besides Christians, believers of other faiths visit the 67-acre Don Bosco Centre property with rolling hills for nature walk, prayer and meditation.
The Stations of The Cross, also known as The Way of the Cross, is a depiction of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and accompanying prayers. The resurrection of Christ from the dead is celebrated as Easter – the oldest of Christian festivals. The 54-piece life-size tableau, installed by Church Art of Kolkata, start with the condemnation of an innocent man, forcefully loading the cross on him, and making him carry the instrument of his death to the hill of execution on Calvary. Notable among the representations are – the moment Jesus meets his mother; women who weep over the sufferings of Jesus; woman who dares to do an act of kindness toward Jesus; or a stranger pressed in to help Jesus carry the cross.
“The Stations of The Cross installed by Church Art before Easter has become an added attraction for groups of pilgrims and also others who arrive here by bus or train. The people come to seek peace, tranquility and appreciate the unique spiritual atmosphere. The pilgrims start out on the nature trail with devotional props like wooden crosses, crown of thorns and nails signifying the instruments of torture inflicted on Jesus in His final moments before crucifixion,” says Director of the Centre, Salesian Fr. Anthony Santarita.
Church Art is a Kolkata-based firm which creates a wide variety of aesthetically-appealing works of art and undertakes spiritual and artistic projects as per the canonical concepts and guidelines. Church Art has so far installed over 14 Stations of The Cross across India and abroad, including the one at the famous Bandel Church in Hoogly district of West Bengal.
“Most of the The Stations of The Cross installed by Church Art across India and abroad have a spiritual and artistic appeal which draws people from all walks of life,” said Mr Subrata Ganguly, founder of Church Art.
With the onset of spring season, April is a month of religious and cultural festivities in India cutting across different religions and geographies. For the Christians the holy season of Lent with its 40 days of prayer and penance will end on Saturday 16th April culminating on Easter Sunday marking the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
For Christians, the week in which occurs Good Friday and Easter is considered Holy Week which starts from Holy Thursday marking the institution of the Holy Eucharist and remembering Jesus washing the feet of his twelve disciples setting an example of servant leadership before his torture, crucifixion and death on the cross.
The Stations of The Cross at the Don Bosco Centre at Karjat is spread over one-kilometer trail offering nature walks and free counselling to people of all faiths on every Friday of the year since the beginning of Lent. Pilgrims are also welcomed daily during the holy season of lent which started on 2nd March and will end on 16th April 2022.
Santarita says, “Several people who came with knee and spinal complaints and due for surgery, testify that after the completion of the way of the cross they experienced healing.” One of the helpers at Don Bosco Centre Salesian Br. Alister has collected some of the healing testimonies on video.
The Don Bosco Centre at Karjat under Salesian Fathers are a part of the Bassein East India Association also called the East Indians of Bassein. The first Catholics of Bassein came before the arrival of Portuguese and had set up a Catholic church at Supara in the 14th Century.