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Stations of the Cross

Every Wednesday in Lent except in Holy Week, 7.30 pm.
On Good Friday (for the children) at 9.30 am and also at 10.30 am

This is a very ancient devotion, the "Way of the Cross", sometimes referred to as the "Via Dolorosa". According to St Jerome it arose through pilgrims meditating and praying as they followed the route taken by Jesus as he carried his cross from the supposed site of Pilate's house to Golgotha, then outside the walls of Jerusalem. There were a few "stations" (from the Latin "stationes" or stopping places) on this route.

As the practice became more widespread during the later Middle Ages, probably because of its popularity among the Franciscans, carvings or sculptures were erected in churches, monasteries and other such places, either indoors or in gardens, and the stations were increased to 14, probably through the influence of the best known ones at Louvain. In the 18th century the Franciscans eventually provided 14 in Jerusalem itself. Occasionally nowadays a 15th station is added for the Resurrection to emphasize the victory of Jesus over sin and death.

Some of the stations are depicted here in a mime by the children

for Churches Together on Palm Sunday 2003,


for the parish on Palm Sunday 2005

The 14 stations are:  
1. Jesus is condemned to death

Jesus is condemned to die like a criminal even though he is a good man. He is sad that people reject him and do not appreciate his teachings about loving God and our neighbour. When he is condemned he doesn't get angry or fight back. He accepts his fate.

Jesus' first stop on the way of the cross is the Governor's palace. Many Jewish leaders want Jesus out of the way. "Crucify him!" they insist. They influence Pilate the Governor to condemn Jesus to death.
Let us pray. Dear Jesus, help us to do what's right and not let others influence us to do what's wrong. If I can help others by sharing their troubles, make me kind enough to reach out to them as you did. 1st station
 2. Jesus is made to carry his cross

Seeing you carry the cross made me cry. I didn't know if you could do it or not. I'm so sorry

Let us pray.
Dear Jesus, you carried the cross. Help me to be strong like you. Help me to be brave like you. Show me how to behave in a way that follows your example of peace and love.

2nd station The soldiers bring a large wooden cross for Jesus to carry. It is very heavy and rough. Though Jesus is tired he reaches out and accepts the cross.

For Jesus the cross stands for all the world's evil, hatred and cruelty. By his love his transforms this cross into a symbol of hope and salvation for us. When we make the sign of the cross we should remember this cross which Jesus carried out of love for us.
3. Jesus falls the first time
4. Jesus meets his mother
5. Simon of Cyrene is forced to help Jesus carry the cross

I feel really sad. You haven't done anything to deserve this. Simon must have been kind to help you. I felt devastated when I heard that you were going tyo be killed for saying things about being kind to one another.

Let us pray.
Help us to help others asd Simon did with Jesus. When we have to do things we do not like, help us to accept the tasks and do our best. Help us to be kind and helpful, especially to those who are diabled, sick or elderly.
The soldiers notice that Jesus is very weak. He is staggering under the load.
Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus
So they pull a man from the crowd - a stranger called Simon of Cyrene - and force him to help Jesus carry the cross
6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
7. Jesus falls the second time
8. The women of Jerusalem weep for Jesus
9. Jesus falls the third time
10. Jesus is stripped of his garments
11. Jesus is nailed to the cross
Jesus, I can't bear to see you nailed up on a cross.I am sorry for helping Pontius Pilate. I was nearly sick when they hit the nails into your hands and feet. It was a terrible thing to do to you of all people.

Let us pray.
Jesus, we pray for people in our parish and local community, or people we know elsewhere, who are in pain or are sick. we remember those who are in hospital. Bring them comfort and relief. Thank you for all carers who try to relieve pain, such as doctors and nurses.
The soldiers make Jesus lie down on the cross and they nail him to it. He is securely fastened. He cannot escape.
nailing Jesus to the cross
12. Jesus dies on the cross
Even in his last moments Jesus thinks of others. He gives us a wonderful example of gentleness and thoughfulness depiste his own suffering. Jeus teaches us how important it is to forgive and be reconciled to one another and to God.

Let us pray.
We think especially of the people who are being killed in the war in Iraq. Help all the people who are dying and in pain and help those in wars all over the world.
After hours of hanging on the cross, Jesus died. Although it is daytime the sky turns dark. The earth shakes and a big crack appears in the temple in Jerusalem.

Just before he dies, Jesus asks God to forgive those who are killing him. Then he says, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit."
13. Jesus is taken down from the cross
Jesus is taken down from the cross
14. Jesus is laid in the tomb
Jesus is laid in the tomb
The pause at each station is often accompanied by the singing or recitation (usually in English nowadays) of one verse of an ancient Latin poem, the "Stabat Mater", so called from its first two words. It expresses the grief felt by Mary at the sufferings of her son
"At the cross her station keeping,
stood the mournful mother weeping..."
Its origins are obscure but it is probably mediaeval.

The story told in the stations summarises the events of Good Friday, commemorating Jesus' sacrifice on the cross for all mankind. It does not end there for The Vigil of Holy Saturday begins with the lighting of the fire and the blessing of the candle for the coming (liturgical) year and ends with the First Mass of Easter Sunday, celebrating the Resurrection.

So a fifteenth station is now frequently added and the previous year's candle lit as a reminder that Jesus rose from the dead on Easter morning.