Stations of the Cross

Stations of the Cross

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The Stations of the Cross: How to Pray the Stations of the Cross

About the Stations of the Cross

The Stations of the Cross or the Way of the Cross refers to the 14-step Catholic devotion, practiced during Lent, that commemorates the events in the Passion of Christ, from his condemnation by Pontius Pilate to his entombment. Comprising 14 stations, each station depicts a pivotal moment on his journey to Calvary. By journeying through the stations we walk with Jesus on his way to the cross. During Lent, a priest will lead a procession to each Station and lead a congregation in specific prayers. These prayers allow us to reflect on Jesus’ sacrifice for us. 

What is Lent?

Lent is a 40-day season of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Thursday. It’s a period of preparation to celebrate the Lord’s Resurrection at Easter.

The Stations of the Cross (The Way of the Cross)

The Stations of the Cross are commonly prayed during the Lent season. 

1. Jesus is condemned to death.
2. Jesus is given His cross.
3. Jesus falls down for the first time.
4. Jesus meets His mother Mary.
5. Simon of Cyrene is forced to carry the cross.
6. Veronica wipes blood off of Jesus’ face.
7. Jesus falls down for the second time.
8. Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem.
9. Jesus falls down for the third time.
10. Jesus is stripped of His clothing.
11. Jesus is nailed to the cross – the Crucifixion.
12. Jesus dies on the cross.
13. Jesus’ body is removed from the cross – the Deposition or Lamentation.
14. Jesus’ body is placed in the tomb.

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Walking the Stations of the Cross this Lent

01. Jesus is Condemned to DeathThe Stations of the Cross

The first station depicts, how it all begins, where our Divine Redeemer is condemned to death before Pilate. 

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise youbecause by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

Reading: From the Gospel according to Matthew 27:22-23,26:
Pilate said to them, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” All of them said, “Let him be crucified!” Then he asked, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!” So he released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.

The Stations of the Cross - Jesus is Condemned to Death
The Stations of the Cross

02. Jesus Takes Up His CrossThe Stations of the Cross

The second station recalls to our minds that our beloved Jesus bearing not only the heavy weight of the Cross on his body but also all the heaviness and darkness of the sins of the whole world.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise youbecause by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

Reading: From the Gospel according to Matthew. 27:27-31
Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole cohort around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on his head. They put a reed in his right hand and knelt before him and mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head.  After mocking him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

The Stations of the Cross - Jesus Takes Up His Cross
The Stations of the Cross

03. Jesus Falls the First TimeThe Stations of the Cross –

This third station depicts to us how Jesus fell the first time crushed by the weight of our sins, not his own.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise youbecause by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

Reading:  From the Gospel according to Matthew. 11:28-30
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

The Stations of the Cross - Jesus Falls the First Time
The Stations of the Cross

04. Jesus Meets His MotherThe Stations of the Cross

This fourth station represents, on the way to Calvary, Jesus sees his mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise youbecause by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

Reading: From the Gospel according to Luke. 2:34-35,51:
Simon blessed them and said to Mary his mother: “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed”. And his mother kept all these things in her heart.

The Stations of the Cross - Jesus Meets His Mother
The Stations of the Cross

05. Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus Carry His CrossThe Stations of the Cross

This fifth station depicts to us how Simon of Cyrene was compelled to carry the Cross after Jesus. Simon was suddenly caught up in a terrible event, plucked from the crowd to help carry a cross for a stranger on his way to crucifixion. That’s how it was for us as well, living an ordinary life when suddenly God asking us to carry his cross a little way. 

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise youbecause by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

Reading:  From the Gospel according to Matthew. 27:32; 16:24
As they went out, they came upon a man of Cyrene, Simon by name; this man they compelled to carry his cross. Jesus told his disciples, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

The Stations of the Cross - Simon Helps Jesus Carry His Cross
The Stations of the Cross

06. Veronica Wipes the Face of JesusThe Stations of the Cross

This sixth station represents to us Veronica as she wiped the face of Jesus. Veronica was moved with sympathy seeing Jesus carrying the cross to Calvary and handed him her veil so that he could wipe the blood and sweat from his forehead. When Jesus returned the veil, the image of his face was miraculously imprinted on it. 

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise youbecause by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

Reading: From the Gospel according to Matthew. 25:40
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

The Stations of the Cross - Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus
The Stations of the Cross

07. Jesus Falls the Second TimeThe Stations of the Cross

This seventh station represents, bloodied by our sins, Jesus fell under the weight of the cross for the second time as he makes his way along the narrow path to Calvary. As the cross grows heavier and heavier it becomes more difficult to get up.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise youbecause by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

Reading: From the first letter of Saint Peter 2:24
” He bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed
. “

The Stations of the Cross - Jesus Falls the Second Time
The Stations of the Cross

08. Jesus Meets the Women of JerusalemThe Stations of the Cross

This eighth station depicts, Jesus carrying his cross on the way to Calvary, turns to speak to the Women Of Jerusalem who weep for him.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise youbecause by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

Reading: From the Gospel according to Luke. 23:28-31
Jesus turning to them said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never gave suck!’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us’; and to the hills, ‘Cover us’. For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

The Stations of the Cross - Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem
The Stations of the Cross

09. Jesus Falls the Third TimeThe Stations of the Cross

This ninth station represents to us, under the burden of the cross Jesus becomes exhausted and falls the third time.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise youbecause by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

Reading: From the Book of Lamentations. 3:27-32
It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. Let him sit alone in silence when he has laid it on him; let him put his mouth in the dust – there may yet be hope; let him give his cheek to the smiter, and be filled with insults. For the Lord will not cast off for ever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion, according to the abundance of his steadfast love.

The Stations of the Cross - Jesus Falls the Third Time
The Stations of the Cross

10. Jesus is Stripped of His ClothesThe Stations of the Cross

This tenth station depicts to us how Jesus’ clothes were stripped off in front of the crowd and put on a scarlet robe as soon as he reached Mount Calvary.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise youbecause by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

Reading:  From the Gospel according to Matthew. 27:33-36:
And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull), they offered him wine to drink, mingled with gall, but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots; then they sat down and kept watch over him there. 

The Stations of the Cross - Jesus is Stripped of His Clothes
The Stations of the Cross

11. Jesus is Nailed to the CrossThe Stations of the Cross

This eleventh station depicts, having arrived at the place called Calvary, Jesus laid himself down on the Cross and willingly stretched His hands and feet to be crucified. This sacrifice opened up the gate to heaven for all believers who accept the reality of the cross.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise youbecause by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

Reading:  From the Gospel according to Matthew 27:37-42:
And over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus the King of the Jews”. Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right hand and one on the left. And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the Cross”. So also the chief priests with the scribes and elders mocked him, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the Cross and we will believe in him”.

The Stations of the Cross - Jesus is Nailed to the Cross
The Stations of the Cross

12. Jesus Dies on the CrossThe Stations of the Cross

This twelfth station represents to us the death of Jesus on the Cross. Jesus died to bring us near to god.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise youbecause by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

Reading:  From the Gospel according to Matthew 27:45-50,54:
 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” That is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “This man is calling Elijah”. And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave it to him to drink. But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him”. And Jesus cried again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit”. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe, and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

The Stations of the Cross - Jesus Dies on the Cross
The Stations of the Cross

13. Jesus is Taken Down from the CrossThe Stations of the Cross

This thirteenth station depicts to us how the most sacred body of Christ was taken down from the Cross, and laid in the arms of his Blessed Mother.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise youbecause by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

Reading: From the Gospel according to Matthew 27:54-55:
When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe, and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” There were also many women there, looking on from afar, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him. 

The Stations of the Cross - Jesus is Taken Down from the Cross
The Stations of the Cross

14. Jesus is Laid in the TombThe Stations of the Cross

This last station represents to us the burial of our Divine Redeemer. Angels appear and remove the stone from the front of the tomb. Mary and other women visit the empty tomb. Jesus Christ suffered and died for the sins of the whole world and rose from the dead so that you can live with God and your loved ones forever.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise youbecause by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

Reading: From the Gospel according to Matthew 27:59-61:
Joseph took the body, and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock; and he rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb, and departed. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the sepulchre. 

The Stations of the Cross - Jesus is Laid in the Tomb
The Stations of the Cross

Hail Mary Prayer

Hail, Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst women
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death. 
Amen.

Our Father Prayer

Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done 
on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day 
our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses, 
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

Glory be to the Father Prayer

Glory be to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning
is now, and ever shall be
world without end. Amen.

The Seven Last Words of Jesus from the Cross

In the final hours of His earthly time, as Jesus hung on the Cross, He made seven statements – each teaches us more about Jesus and His character. 

1. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

2. “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43).

3. “Woman, behold, your son!. . Behold, your mother!” (John 19:26–27).

4. “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34).

5. “I thirst” (John 19:28).

6. “It is finished” (John 19:30).

7.“Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!” (Luke 23:46).

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