Understanding the Stations of the Cross

19bTradition features prominently in Holy Week celebrations. The week leading up to Easter Sunday, Holy Week, is a sacred time for faithful Christians. The Stations of the Cross are one of the traditions that many Christians feel bolsters their faith and brings them closer to God.

What are the Stations of the Cross? According to Catholic Online, the Stations of the Cross are a 14-step devotion that commemorates Jesus Christ’s last day on Earth as a man. Each of the 14 stations focus on a specific event of Jesus’ last day.

Where can the Stations of the Cross be found? Stations of the Cross are typically found in churches. Many times the Stations adorn the interior wall of a church, and Catholic Online notes they’re often depicted using small icons or images.
Some churches with sizable exterior grounds may arrange larger Stations along footpaths in yards or gardens on the premises.

When do people pray the Stations of the Cross? Lent is the most common time to pray the Stations of the Cross, and some churches hold weekly prayer sessions on Wednesdays and Fridays during this time of year, often with midday and evening prayer.

The Stations of the Cross are an important Easter tradition that shed light on Jesus’ resurrection. Individuals interested in praying the Stations of the Cross are urged to contact a
local church so they can engage in this moving Christian tradition.

The Stations of the Cross are an important Easter tradition for many Christians. According to Catholic Online, the 14 Stations of the Cross are:

  • 1. Jesus is condemned to death
  • 2. Jesus carries the cross
  • 3. Jesus falls for the first time
  • 4. Jesus meets with His Mother
  • 5. Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus
    carry the cross
  • 6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
  • 7. Jesus falls a second time
  • 8. Jesus meets the women of
  • 9. Jesus falls a third time
  • 10. Jesus’ clothes are taken away
  • 11. Jesus is nailed to the cross
  • 12. Jesus dies on the cross
  • 13. The body of Jesus is taken
    down from the cross
  • 14. Jesus is laid in the tomb

Holy Week holds significance for Christians

19a Easter Sunday is often described as the holiest day on the Christian calendar. A day when Christians across the globe commemorate and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Easter Sunday is the culmination of the Lenten season of sacrifice.

Easter Sunday comes on the heels of Holy Week, which is the most sacred week in the liturgical year in Christianity. Holy Week consists of various days that have their own special significance in the minds and hearts of Christians.

Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week. Trinity College at the University of Melbourne notes that Palm Sunday commemorates Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, where He was greeted with crowds that enthusiastically waved palm branches. In commemoration of that entry and greeting, Christians receive palm branches or palm crosses during Palm Sunday Mass.

Holy Wednesday Once known as “Spy Wednesday,” Holy Wednesday focuses on the darkness of Holy Week and is meant to symbolize the abandonment of Jesus by His disciples. The religious service of Tenebrae, which is a Latin word meaning “darkness” or “shadows,” is typically observed during Holy Wednesday services.

Maundy Thursday commemorates the Washing of the Feet (Maundy) and the Last Supper. The Last Supper is the final meal Jesus shared with his apostles prior to His crucifixion. Christian scriptures indicate that, during the Last Supper, Jesus predicted His betrayal by one of the apostles present at the meal. It was also during the Last Supper when Jesus foretells that Peter will deny knowing Him three times before the next morning. Trinity College notes that Maundy Thursday reminds Christians of the new commandment that Jesus gave His disciples. That commandment was to love others as Jesus has loved them.

Good Friday commemorates the trial of Jesus, His subsequent sentence of death, His torture, the crucifixion and burial. Non-Christians may wonder why a day commemorating such events would be characterized as “good,” but Trinity College notes that, in this sense, the word “good” is meant to connote something “holy” or “pious.”

Holy Saturday marks the conclusion of Holy Week. Celebrations of Holy Saturday typically include a late-night Easter Vigil service that involves a liturgy and ultimately the celebration of the Eucharist. The two-part celebration is designed to commemorate the emergence from darkness into the light that is the Eucharist.

Holy Week is a significant period for Christians across the globe that commemorates many of the events that preceded the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Letter to the Editor: Fort Bragg: A symbol of heritage and culture for service members

8Fort Bragg, located in North Carolina, is more than just a military installation. It is a symbol of pride and heritage for many service members and their families.

The name Fort Bragg has become a part of the sub-culture in the United States of service members who fought for it, and they see it as a valuable piece of their culture that is being taken away.

The All-American Division, based at Fort Bragg, is known for its history of overcoming cultural and racial boundaries, transcending history and racism. For those who have served and continue to serve at Fort Bragg, the name has become a symbol of that history and a banner of multi-cultural acceptance across generations.

While the name Fort Bragg has roots in the history of the Confederacy, it has also taken on a new meaning over time. It has become a part of the military culture, and changing it can feel like erasing a part of that culture. Service members and their families have a real and present connection to the base and the name, and it is important to understand and respect that connection.

The issue of changing the name to Fort Liberty is complex, and it is understandable that some service members and their families may feel a sense of loss or even anger at the change. It is important to listen to their concerns and to acknowledge the significance of the name Fort Bragg to their culture and history. While the change may be considered for progress and growth, it is important to do so in a way that is respectful and considerate of those who have served and continue to serve at the base.

In conclusion, Fort Bragg has become a symbol of acceptance and pride for many service members and their families, and changing it can feel like erasing a part of their culture. It is important to acknowledge and respect that connection while also recognizing the need for progress and growth. Any change should be done in a way that is respectful and considerate of the military sub-culture and the sacrifices of those who have served and continue to serve.

Sugar: Friend or foe?

18If you are focusing on a healthy diet, it is hard not to think about sugar. You do not have to cut out sugar altogether. The key to a healthy sugar intake is to know the difference between natural and refined sugar.

Natural sugar is sugar that occurs in a food source without additives. Naturally recurring sugar is found in food such as dairy products, fruit or carbohydrates. When we think of sugar our first thought includes fruit, but natural sugar occurs in starchy vegetables, brown rice, whole grain pasta and cheese.

Refined or processed sugar should be limited. It includes sugar-enhanced products such as candy, cookies, sodas and smoothies.

According to dietary sources, the daily consumption amount of sugar for a 2,000-calorie diet is 37 grams for men and 25 grams for women. This translates into six teaspoons for women and eight for men.

Added sugar is not in food naturally and is added in products that include soda, yogurt, smoothies, candies and cakes. The problem with added sugar is the increased calories without nutritional benefits. Almost half of the added sugar in the daily diet comes from sweetened beverages, sodas and fruit drinks. Added sugar can also be found in the ingredients on food labels and some of them include brown sugar, corn syrup, sugar, syrup and molasses. Foods with added sugar should be eaten in moderation.

While sugar is not considered to be carcinogenic (cancer-causing), over-consumption of sugar and processed added sugar can add additional caloric intake which contributes to obesity. Obesity is considered a primary risk factor for cancer. There is no evidence that sugar makes cancer cells grow faster. Sugar stimulates the production of fatty acids in the liver. With digestion, fatty acids can contribute to compounds that trigger inflammation. There can be occurrences that cause inflammation such as fatigue, weight gain and body pain to name a few.

The overabundance of sugar can have long-term effects on the body which can include obesity, tooth decay and diabetes. Tooth decay is frequently caused by sugar because bacteria that cause cavities use sugar as a catalyst. Drinking sugary drinks adds a lot of calories but does not result in feeling full. Candy, cookies, cakes, other processed sweets, and sodas can contain approximately 30 grams of added sugar which is over the recommendation for daily consumption.

Artificial sweeteners may seem healthier because they do not contain sugar but they are more likely to make you hungrier and eat more throughout the day. The worst artificial sweeteners are sucralose, aspartame, and saccharin because the sugar substitutes are manufactured in a lab. Other sweeteners to avoid include high fructose corn syrup, brown rice syrup and agave.

The best alternative sweeteners are honey, coconut sugar and maple syrup. Honey is a healthy alternative because the liquid is made from bees visiting flowering plants.

Raw unpasteurized honey contains trace amounts of B vitamin and the minerals, iron, manganese and potassium.

Another benefit is that the taste is sweeter with a lesser addition to satisfy the taste buds.

Maple syrup comes from the sap of maple trees and adds antioxidants of trace amounts of manganese and zinc. Coconut sugar is made by boiling down and dehydrating the sap of coconut palm flowers.

Drinks containing high volumes of sugar are Mountain Dew (20 ounces or 18 and one-half teaspoons of sugar), Icee (74 grams), Coke (65 grams), sweet tea (42 grams).

Live, love life and enjoy sugar in moderation.

Gov. Cooper should end racist gun policies

6One of the most discriminatory laws on North Carolina’s books is the pistol purchase permit system, which was first implemented in 1919.

To summarize, before purchasing a handgun in the Tar Heel state, one must first obtain permission from the local sheriff in the form of a pistol purchase permit. Frustratingly, the many who don’t go through this process fail to realize this requirement is entirely redundant and prone to abuse, which is supported by both historical evidence and modern examples.

Many who oppose the repeal of this permit program no doubt fail to recognize that the background check performed by state sheriffs is completely duplicative, a pro-forma exercise. Even after someone acquires a pistol purchase permit, gun dealers can still perform a background check every single time a transaction is initiated.

Even more damning, the current permitting law was contrived during one of the most divisive periods in our state, not to mention, the entire South’s history — that being the Jim Crow era. Yes, the permitting system was originally devised to restrict those whom the government did not want to acquire handguns. We even have historical state newspaper clippings from the early 20th century that confirm the overwhelmingly disproportionate number of white to Black applicants who were granted these permits.

Unfortunately, the purchase permit system is still having a “Jim Crow effect” to this day. According to UNC School of Law’s North Carolina Law Review, Black citizens in one of North Carolina’s largest counties are still denied purchase permits three times more often than white citizens.

Furthermore, the COVID shutdowns gave anti-gun sheriffs an excuse that made obtaining purchase permits nearly impossible. The delays due to concerns about “stopping the spread” and minimizing large gatherings caused massive backlogs and waits, prompting lawsuits from Gun Owners of America and Grass Roots North Carolina.

Thankfully, due to the efforts of Tar Heel gun owners and lawmakers dedicated to restoring the rights of their citizens, an end to this duplicative and discriminatory policy is on the horizon.
With bipartisan support, both chambers of the General Assembly have passed legislation (SB 41) to not only repeal the pistol purchase permit system, but also close a “loophole” for church carry.

While no law prohibits firearms in houses of worship in North Carolina, many churches also have established private schools on their property. Due to the presence of the school, the entire property is statutorily classified as a “gun-free” zone. SB 41 will close this loophole and restore the right to carry firearms in churches when school is not in session.

Personally, I am a graduate of a private Christian school, a firearms instructor, and a volunteer church security team member. Keeping churches and schools safe is near and dear to my heart. My experience shows that removing this “defense free” prohibition from churches will make would-be mass shooters think twice before attacking, considering they could meet an armed resistance.

Ironically, Gov. Roy Cooper, a man who claims to be committed to ending racial discrimination and the remnants of the state’s racist past, is expected to veto S.B. 41, just as he vetoed similar legislation two years ago. Instead of regurgitating the partisan talking points and arguments unsupported by logic and fact, he should save himself more embarrassment and allow S.B. 41 to become law, with or without his signature.

Regardless of the governor’s final move, lawmakers and activists are confident that the General Assembly is prepared and capable to override a veto on this legislation, and yes, in a bipartisan fashion.
North Carolina doesn’t need a century-old Jim Crow law still on the books. It’s time for it to go.

Editor’s note: Jordan Stein is the Southeast Region Director for Gun Owners of America and a certified firearms instructor.

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