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Stations of the Cross / Way of the Cross

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Jesus Carrying Cross

Stations of the Cross /

Way of the Cross

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A powerful and moving form of prayer, the Way of the Cross (also called Stations of the Cross, Via Dolorosa, or Via Crucis), follows Jesus in His steps from the Praetorium to Golgotha. This popular devotion traces our Savior's last moments on earth, as he paid the price of our redemption. It has been considered a "spiritual pilgrimage to Jerusalem". The origin of this devotion is often associated with St. Francis of Assisi, the great founder of the Franciscans. Over the past several hundred years, one may see that the Saints often have a devotion to the Way of the Cross, which involves prayers and meditation on the fourteen "stations of the cross" (see below). It has been said that no other devotion has been more richly endowed with indulgences than the Way of the Cross. 

Way of the Cross (Traditional Method)

Station: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14

Source: St. Andrew's Daily Missal

Notes...

What follows is one traditional method. Other methods also exit. Note that Pope John Paul II used his own stations (e.g. based solely on Scripture), but did not impose his own devotion on the faithful.  

Note that prayers and practices may vary. Stations of the Cross may be especially offered at the parish level during Lent (contact the parish or diocese for information). When recited publicly, the priest (and people) may genuflect and move from station to station while a hymn is sung (e.g. the Stabat Mater). 

To obtain indulgences, certain conditions may be required (e.g. movement from station to station, lawfully erected crosses, etc.) 

Although the Way of the Cross is most powerful in church (where the Tabernacle resides and where special indulgences may be attached), individuals may also practice the Way of the Cross devotion privately. If possible, have pictures of the Stations of the Cross (or a crucifix) for your devotion and make a special attempt to contemplate these events on Friday (the day of Jesus' Passion). Be sure to meditate for a moment on each Station.

Before the Altar

Priest: O Jesus, our adorable Savior, behold us prostrate at Thy feet, imploring Thy mercy for ourselves, and for the souls of all the faithful departed. Vouchsafe to apply to us the infinite merits of Thy passion, on which we are now about to meditate. Grant that while we trace this path of sighs and tears, our hearts may be so touched with contrition and repentance, that we may be ready to embrace with joy all the crosses, sufferings, and humiliations of this our life and pilgrimage.

V. Thou shalt open my lips, O Lord.

R. And my mouth shall show forth Thy praise.

V. O God, come to my assistance.

R. O Lord, make haste to help me.

V. Glory be...

R. As it was...

First Station

Jesus Christ Condemned to Death

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.

R. Because by Thy holy cross Thou hast redeemed the world.

Priest: Leaving the house of Caiphas, where He had been blasphemed and the house of Herod, where He had been mocked, Jesus is dragged before Pilate, His back torn with scourges, His head crowned with thorns; and He, who on the last day will judge the living and the dead, is Himself condemned to a disgraceful death.

Prayer: It was for us that Thou didst suffer, O blessed Jesus; it was for our sins Thou was condemned to die. Oh, grant that we may detest them from the bottom of our hearts, and by this repentance obtain Thy mercy and pardon.

An Act of Contrition (repeated after each station)

O God, we love Thee with our whole hearts and above all things and are heartily sorry that we have offended Thee. May we never offend Thee any more. Oh, may we love Thee without ceasing, and make it our delight to do in all things Thy most holy will. 

Our Father... Hail Mary... Glory Be...

Have mercy on us, O Lord; have mercy on us.

V. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. 

R. Amen.

Second Station

Jesus Receives the Cross

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.

R. Because by Thy holy cross Thou hast redeemed the world.

Priest: A heavy cross is laid upon the bruised shoulders of Jesus. He receives it with meekness, nay, with a secret joy, for it is the instrument with which He is to redeem the world.

Prayer: O Jesus! grant us, by virtue of Thy cross, to embrace with meekness and cheerful submission the difficulties of our state, and to be ever ready to take up our cross and follow Thee.

(Act of Contrition, etc., as above)

Third Station

Jesus Falls the First Time Under the Weight of the Cross

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.

R. Because by Thy holy cross Thou hast redeemed the world.

Priest: Bowed down under the weight of the cross, Jesus slowly sets forth on the way to Calvary, amidst the mockeries and insults of the crowd. His agony in the garden has exhausted His body; He is sore with blows and wounds; His strength fails Him; He falls to the ground under the cross.

Prayer: O Jesus! who for our sins didst bear the heavy burden of the cross, and fell under its weight, may the thoughts of Thy sufferings make us watchful over ourselves, and save us from any grievous fall into sin.

(Act of Contrition, etc., as above)

Fourth Station

Jesus is Met by His Blessed Mother

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.

R. Because by Thy holy cross Thou hast redeemed the world.

Priest: Still burdened with His cross, and wounded yet more by His fall, Jesus proceeds on His way. He is met by His Mother. What a meeting must that have been! What a sword of anguish must have pierced that Mother's bosom! What must have been the compassion of that Son for His holy Mother!

Prayer: O Jesus! by the compassion which Thou didst feel for Thy Mother, have compassion on us, and give us a share in her intercession. O Mary, most afflicted Mother! intercede for us that, through the sufferings of Thy Son, we may be delivered from the wrath to come.

(Act of Contrition, etc., as above)

Fifth Station

The Cross is Laid Upon Simon of Cyrene

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.

R. Because by Thy holy cross Thou hast redeemed the world.

Priest: As the strength of Jesus fails, and He is unable to proceed, the executioners seize and compel Simon of Cyrene to carry His cross. The virtue of that cross changed his heart, and from a compulsory task it became a privilege and a joy.

Prayer: O Lord Jesus! may it be our privilege also to bear Thy cross; may we glory in nothing else; by it may the world be crucified unto us, and we unto the world; may we never shrink from sufferings, but rather rejoice if we may be counted worthy to suffer for Thy name's sake.

(Act of Contrition, etc., as above)

Sixth Station

The Face of Jesus is Wiped by Veronica

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.

R. Because by Thy holy cross Thou hast redeemed the world.

Priest: As Jesus proceeds on the way, covered with the sweat of death, a woman, moved with compassion, makes her way through the crowd, and wipes His face with a handkerchief. As a reward of her piety, the impression of His sacred countenance is miraculously imprinted upon the handkerchief.

Prayer: O Jesus! may the contemplation of Thy sufferings move us with the deepest compassion, make us to hate our sins, and kindle in our hearts more fervent love of Thee. May Thy image be graven on our minds, until we are transformed into Thy likeness.

(Act of Contrition, etc., as above)

Seventh Station

Jesus Falls a Second Time

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.

R. Because by Thy holy cross Thou hast redeemed the world.

Priest: The pain of His wounds and the loss of blood increasing at every step of His way, again His strength fails Him, and Jesus falls to the ground a second time.

Prayer: O Jesus! falling again under the burden of our sins, and of Thy sufferings for our sins, how often have we grieved Thee by our repeated falls into sin! Oh, may we rather die than ever offend Thee again!

(Act of Contrition, etc., as above)

Eighth Station

The Women of Jerusalem Mourn for Our Lord

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.

R. Because by Thy holy cross Thou hast redeemed the world.

Priest: At the sight of the sufferings of Jesus some holy women in the crowd were so touched with sympathy that they openly bewailed and lamented Him. Jesus, knowing the things that were to come to pass upon Jerusalem because of their rejection of Him, turned to them and said: "Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children."

Prayer: O Lord Jesus! we mourn, and will mourn, both for Thee and for ourselves; for Thy sufferings and for our sins which caused them. Oh teach us so to mourn, that we may be comforted, and escape those dreadful judgments prepared for all who reject or neglect Thee in this life.

(Act of Contrition, etc., as above)

Ninth Station

Jesus Falls the Third Time Under the Cross

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.

R. Because by Thy holy cross Thou hast redeemed the world.

Priest: Jesus had now arrived almost at the summit of Calvary; but before He reached the spot where He was to be crucified, His strength again fails Him, and He falls the third time, to be again dragged up and goaded onward by the brutal soldiers.

Prayer: O Lord Jesus! we entreat Thee, by the merits of this Thy third most painful fall, to pardon our frequent relapses and our long continuance in sin; and may the thought of these Thy sufferings make us to hate our sins more and more.

(Act of Contrition, etc., as above)

Tenth Station

Jesus is Stripped of His Garments

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.

R. Because by Thy holy cross Thou hast redeemed the world.

Priest: Arrived at last at the place of sacrifice, they prepare to crucify Him. His garments are torn from His bleeding body, and He, the Holy of Holies, stands exposed to the vulgar gaze of the rude and scoffing multitude.

Prayer: O Lord Jesus, Thou didst endure this shame for our most shameful deeds. Strip us, we beseech Thee, of all false shame, conceit, and pride, and make us so humble ourselves voluntarily in this life, that we may escape everlasting ignominy in the world to come.

(Act of Contrition, etc., as above)

Eleventh Station

Jesus is Nailed to the Cross

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.

R. Because by Thy holy cross Thou hast redeemed the world.

Priest: The cross is laid upon the ground, and Jesus is stretched upon His bed of death. At one and the same time He offers His bruised limbs to His heavenly Father on behalf of sinful man, and to His fierce executioners to be nailed by them to the disgraceful wood. The blows are struck! The blood gushes forth!

Prayer: O Jesus, nailed to the cross, fasten our hearts there also, that they may be united to Thee until death shall strike us with its fatal blow, and with our last breath we shall have yielded up our souls to Thee.

(Act of Contrition, etc., as above)

Twelfth Station

Jesus Dies Upon the Cross

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.

R. Because by Thy holy cross Thou hast redeemed the world.

Priest: For three hours has Jesus hung upon His transfixed hands; His blood has run in streams down His body, and bedewed the around; and, in the midst of excruciating sufferings, He has pardoned His murderers, promised the bliss of paradise to the good thief, and committed His blessed Mother and beloved disciple to each other's care. All is now consummated; and meekly bowing down His head, He gives up the ghost.

Prayer: O Jesus! we devoutly embrace that honored cross where Thou didst love us even unto death. In that death we place all our confidence. Henceforth let us live only for Thee; and in dying for Thee, let us die loving Thee, and in Thy sacred arms.

(Act of Contrition, etc., as above)

Thirteenth Station

Jesus is Laid in the Arms of His Blessed Mother

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.

R. Because by Thy holy cross Thou hast redeemed the world.

Priest: The multitude have left the heights of Calvary, and none remain save the beloved disciple and the holy women, who, at the foot of the cross, are striving to stem the grief of Christ's inconsolable Mother. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus take down the body of her Divine Son from the cross and deposit it in her arms.

Prayer: O Thou, whose grief was boundless as an ocean that hath no limits, Mary Mother of God, give us a share in thy most holy sorrow in the sufferings of thy Son, and have compassion on our infirmities. Accept us as thy children with the beloved disciple. Show thyself a mother unto us; and may He, through thee, receive our prayer, who for us vouchsafed to be thy Son.

(Act of Contrition, etc., as above)

Fourteenth Station

Jesus is Laid in the Sepulchre

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.

R. Because by Thy holy cross Thou hast redeemed the world.

Priest: The body of her dearly beloved Son is taken from His Mother, and laid by the disciples in the tomb. The tomb is closed, and there the lifeless body remains until the hour of its glorious resurrection.

Prayer: We, too, O God, will descend into the grave whenever it shall please Thee, as it shall please Thee, and wheresoever it shall please Thee. Let Thy just decrees be fulfilled; let our sinful bodies return to their parent dust, but do Thou, in Thy great mercy, receive our immortal souls, and when our bodies have risen again, place them likewise in Thy kingdom that we may love and bless Thee for ever and ever. Amen.

(Act of Contrition, etc., as above)


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