Way Off: The Way of the Cross

Here’s a request for information, opinion, and possible collaboration on the communal devotion of the way of the cross. Over the years, I’ve used many published and unpublished resources. I’d like your opinion on them and what you have used, either individually, or in your parishes. It’s never too early to plan for next year, so feel free to offer liberal comments.

At the student center, we draw about twenty to thirty each Friday for Stations during Lent, and about a hundred for Good Friday. We also do a way of the cross on campus at noon on Good Friday, but I have no responsibility for that. The in-church resources we use include Graz Marcheschi’s setting (GIA), Clarence Enzler’s Everyone’s Way of the Cross (formerly Everyman’s; Ave Maria Press), and William Storey’s Scriptural Way of the Cross for Good Friday. I also have, like, but haven’t used Joseph Champlin’s adaptation of JPII’s Scriptural Way–different stations from Fr. Storey’s. In other parishes, I’ve used Gene LaVerdiere’s Way of the Cross According to Mark (Emmanuel Press)–I recall that as the best of the other published forms I’ve used. The students and parishioners alike favor the Enzler, and that little book has a history with me.

I was in 6th grade, and it was after my First Communion, but before I was baptized when our teacher gave us “Everyman’s Way of the Cross” and asked us to rewrite the stations in our own words. I didn’t know what to make of the assignment. I was mainly a math-and-science kind of student. But I was a good overall student. And though I pulled A’s and B’s in religion, I was in anguish over rewriting the Stations. I stared at the pages and I had nothing to say. I certainly didn’t identify with the suffering of the Lord–what happy kid does? And I’ve always objected to having the words “crucify him!” put in my mouth on Palm Sunday and Good Friday. Bedtime came and went, and my eyes were wet with tears of frustration.

Anyway, my mother did something she only did that one time in my academic life: she sent me to bed at 10pm and offered to write the reflections for me to turn in. Not fair, she said, that I should be expected to write summaries of this.

Years later, I found those little booklets in one of my parishes, and that memory came back, even to the font on the printed pages. This year at the student center, when it was my turn to lead stations, I used the book. Now I like it. It’s also a favorite here in my parish. I shared with one of our students that little story–how it took me several years to really embrace the Way of the Cross as a devotion. Now it’s a personal favorite.

So tell me, please: what resources have you used that you like. Liam sent me a good summary (thanks for that!) of one a few years ago–with more music than I would do on an  ordinary Friday. What resources have you used that you found excellent? If you have written your own, I’d be willing to give a novel setting a try and let you know how it was received. If someone were interested in co-authoring, that might be very fruitful. Feel free to contact me by e-mail (see the bar on the right) and let me know.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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7 Responses to Way Off: The Way of the Cross

  1. Chase says:

    A very obscure, but very wonderful resource is the Contemporary Stations of the Cross from The Glenmary Home Missioners by Charles Campbell and Paul A. Ritter.

    It’s probably better suited for individual recitation rather than communal. Still, it’s wonderful!

  2. Adam Wood says:

    Richard Furey’s “Mary’s Way of the Cross” is beautiful.

    (And, personal note- his parents were parishioners and friends where I grew up. Sadly, Richard’s mom Audrey died this year. In memory of her, they did the stations her son’s setting of the stations this Lent. I wish I could have been there).

    • Joe Furey says:

      Thanks for the kind words about my Mom and family. I’m out of town and missed the Stations last Lent also.But I know my Mom was there with the Lord listening and praying. Wish I could have been there too. Thanks for remembering. When ever I’m in town I go to Mass at St. Clements hoping to see some familiar old faces. Hope to see yours soon.
      Joe Furey

  3. crystal says:

    I’ve visited the online page for the Stations of the Cross by Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Liberation Theologist Adolfo Perez Esquivel – link

    Also visited the page for JPII’s version here

  4. smf says:

    One of the nuns at our parish has a thing for that Marian way of the Cross and she often leads it on Fridays in Lent.

    Most years our parish hosts an ecumenical service of the stations of the Cross on Good Friday. It tends to be best to use a traditional one with scripture references that follows the stations in the church. However, one year sister made the arrangements and substituted her preferred one, and lets just say that caused a few raised eyebrows. After all, our separated brethren were willing to come into a Catholic church, do something vaguely related to statues, but then they had a way of the Cross presented to them that references Mary as much as Jesus? Well that was a bridge too far.

  5. Jimmy Mac says:

    What is a MARIAN Way of The Cross?

  6. Jo says:

    I live in Australia and have most Stations of the Cross books and pamphlets, but this year we heard about Mary’s Way of the Cross for the first time as someone else had had it for years, so now we are all going to buy it on Amazon, it is such a beautiful meditation.

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