Which Way?

I’m seeking some advice as Lent is not too far off. My parish does a weekly Way of the Cross on Fridays. We’ve cycled four old versions in the six weeks of Lent, but I’m looking for something to add to the mix. Have you any suggestions and commentary on them, too?

Currently we use Everyman’s/one’s Way of the Cross, LaVerdiere’s Passion according to Mark, and two composed by former priests of the parish.

station-4.jpgOne of the latter two has no congrgational handout, and I’m thinking if I find a better one, I might retire it. I’m not necessarily looking for published ones, so if any of our readers have written a “Way of the Cross,” I’d be willing to use it, pay you for it, and attribute copyrights, etc.. If you are suggesting a published “Way,” please include the publisher’s name.

Sister Maria Innocentia Berta Hummel, a Sießen Franciscan, painted this encounter between Jesus and his mother.

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Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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5 Responses to Which Way?

  1. Here’s a set of Stations meditations I wrote:

    http://my.execpc.com/~kmknapp/tracts/StationsofCross.html

    and here’s a great collection of stations at the Feast of All Saints website:

    http://feastofsaints.com/viacrucis.htm

    Hope it helps!

  2. My belief is that repetition is very useful for something like this; the Stations of the Cross being a devotion that, in reality, is only celebrated during Lent, and many folks are likely to come maybe two or three times at most during Lent (i.e., despite good intentions, folks who say they’ll go every week, don’t), then when the text changes every week, it seems to me that’s too much variety. A little more sameness is going to have the good effect repetition has as a way to learn, a way to shape imagination, and to imprint memory.

    So, while the handful of folks who are there every week — including the handful who may rotate as leaders — may experience too much sameness, my sense is it isn’t “too much” for those praying the stations.

    I also think it makes sense not to be too casual about this devotion; walking with the Lord to Calvary is serious and solemn, so having servers to carry candles, and perhaps the cross, and having them vest, having someone lead music, all makes good use of the advantages of Catholic spirituality and liturgy. When I lead the stations, I wear a red cope.

  3. Debbie says:

    Our parish uses “The Way of the Cross with text from the Scriptures” (c) 1965 with an Imprimatur and Nihil obstat, published by Barton-Cotton, Inc. in Baltimore. 301-247-4800. It’s a little brown booklet. Very beautiful and traditional, it also includes a verses sung to the tune of Stabat Mater at the end (beginning) of each station.

    Another one I have is “Way of the Cross” by St. Alphonsus Liguori (revised by Thomas M. Santa, C.SS.R.), (c) 1983 and 1994 with an Imprimi Potest and Imprimatur, published by Liguori 800-325-9521. This is in much more common language like “Everyone’s Way.”

    Good luck!

  4. Liam says:

    Todd: This is something I developed for a prior community of mine. Make of it what you will. It was designed for Holy Week, with music. Antiphonal recitation of certain psalms might be better for weekly devotions.

    Sign of the Cross

    (Kyrie: chanted; kneel if feasible)
    (Our Father: chanted; stand)

    (Collect prayer)

    Each station begins with versicle and responsory:

    V. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you:
    R. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

    (Scripture reading followed by prayer)

    (Trisagion antiphon then chanted at each station – kneeling if feasible during antiphon)

    Followed by psalmody or hymnody.

    Suggestions for hymns for each station:

    1. Wondrous Love.
    2. Only This I Want
    3. Precious Lord, v. 1
    4. Stabat Mater / At The Cross Her Station Keeping
    5. How Can I Keep From Singing? (the original text and tune, not the GIA adaptation under copyright, is *far* more suited for this)
    6. Prayer of St Theresa of Avila
    7. Precious Lord, v. 2
    8. No Greater Love
    9. Precious Lord, v. 3
    10. Take, Lord, Receive
    11. Crux Fidelis / Faithful Cross
    12. Morning Glory, Starlit Sky
    13. Where You There?
    14. Now We Remain

    Concluding Prayers (standing)

    V. Savior of the world, by your cross and precious blood you have redeemed us:
    R. Save us, and help us, we humbly beseech you, O Christ.

    Let us pray. (Silence)

    We thank you, loving Father, that you have delivered us from the dominion of sin and death and brought us into the realm of your Only Begotten Son, by whose death we have been recalled to life. May we raised to eternal joy by the love of Christ Jesus our Sav-ior, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

  5. Eric says:

    So glad you asked about the Way of the Cross; we love to really put a lot of effort into this devotion at our parish.

    At our parish, we also offer an array of different approaches to the Way of the Cross, a different one each week. Our parishioners love the variety and they feel it is a great benefit to get something different out of the Way of the Cross each week. Most are published; one I wrote, called “The Way of the Cross in the Modern World,” using contemporary accounts form various events such as the Rwandan genocide, suicide bombings, etc.; this is usually done as a project of our youth group.

    The published versions we’ve used have included:

    — Everyone’s Way of the Cross, which you mentioned.

    — Journey of Decision: A Way of the Cross (Sarah A. O’Malley, O.S.B., and Robert D. Eimer, O.M.I., Liturgical Press). Each of the mediations is written from a standpoint of one of those involved in the drama of the Passion, including the bad guys. This is the one we use on Good Friday, as it really is challenging to hear Pilate, for example, trying to justify his acts. It’s almost a reader’s theater kind of effect.

    — Praying the Stations with Mary the Mother of Jesus (Richard Furey, Twenty-Third Publications). We have women of the parish lead this service entirely.

    — Stations of the Cross: I Am There (Norman Haskell, St. Anthony Messenger Press). This is an excellent service that really makes you think about how our own actions are so like those who persecuted Jesus. I’ve even used this one on the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem to introduce interfaith pilgrims to this devotion, and have seen Jews and Muslims weep as they heard these meditations.

    One thing we also do is encourage those attending to WALK the Way. It’s a bit crowded in the aisle, but it works because it feels like you’re going through a crowded marketplace!

    We also add other ritual acts; sometimes we do the service in the dark, with everyone holding a candle. At the 12th station, three claps of wood echo through the church to introduce the silent meditation, and if the lights are on, they go dim. Another thing we do is to place Passion implements (crown of thorns, nails, hammer, whip, rope) in a baket. We take the basket to random people and invite them to take an implement and place it on the altar before we begin. Actually touching these things is a powerful experience. In between the stations we’ll use psalm excerpts or Taize chants. For one of the services, we also invite clergy from neighboring Episcopal and Lutheran churches to co-lead.

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