Stations of the Cross

By Pope John Paul II

The following Stations of the Cross are based on those celebrated by Pope John Paul II on Good Friday 1991. They are presented here as an alternative to the traditional stations and as a way of reflecting more deeply on the Scriptural accounts of Christ’s passion. The presider may be a priest, deacon, or layperson.

This Leader/Minister prays the opening and closing prayers, leads the acclamation, announces the stations, and says the prayer that concludes each station. One or more readers may read the Scriptural reflections.

A period of silence should be observed between the Scripture reading and the prayer.

A cross bearer accompanied by two candle bearers may stand in front of each station as it is announced.

As the cross and candle bearers move between the stations, all may sing a verse of the Stabat Mater (At the Cross Her Station Keeping – traditional) or an appropriate antiphon, such as Parce Domine (traditional, various settings) or Crucem Tuam (Berthier, GIA).

Before each station:
Minister: We adore you. 0 Christ, and we bless you. (Genuflect)
All: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. (Kneel)

After each station:
All: Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.

First Station

The Last Supper Jesus shares himself and gathers his friends to help him before He goes to the Garden of Gethsemane

Leader: We adore you, 0 Christ, and we bless you. (Genuflect)

All: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. (Stand)

Reader: While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, from now on I shall not drink this fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it with you new in the kingdom of my Father. “Then after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives….
Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to feel sorrow and distress. Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with me.” He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, “My Father if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will”
When he returned to his disciples he found them asleep. He said to Peter “So you could not keep watch with me for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:26-30, 36-41 (Kneel)

Leader: Jesus felt sorrow and dread over what lay ahead of him He prayed for the burden to be lifted and the cross to be removed but only if the Father willed it so. When Christ saw clearly that he must drink of the bitter cup, then our Lord totally accepted his future. “Not my will but thy will be done.” His example teaches us how to pray at all times, especially in the midst of our own crosses and cups of suffering. (Stand)

Leader:
Lord, grant us your strength and wisdom, that we may seek to follow your will in all things.

All: Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.

All Sing: Jesus in the garden praying.
Feast before your father laying.
Yet obedient to his will.

Second Station

Jesus, Betrayed by Judas, and is Arrested

Leader: We adore you, 0 Christ, and we bless you. (Genuflect)

All: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world (Stand)

Reader: Then, while [Jesus] was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived, accompanied by a crowd with swords and clubs, who had come from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. His betrayer had arranged a signal with them, saying, “The man I shall kiss is the one; arrest him and lead him away securely.” He came and immediately went over to him and said, “Rabbi.” And he kissed him. At this they laid hands on him and arrested him. Mark 14:43-46 (Kneel)

Leader: Rejection always hurts. It tears at our self-esteem and leaves us doubting our own worth. Even the turning down of a simple invitation can wound us. Betrayal, especially by a friend, hurts even more.
Jesus had prayed all night before selecting his twelve apostles, including Judas. Judas had also been his companion for three years, hearing the Lord’s words and observing his miraculous deeds. Now he betrays his savior with a kiss, and for but a few dollars. Remembering Jesus’ hurt and pain in the garden can help us deal with those times when we feel rejected and betrayed. [Stand)

Leader: Lord, grant us the courage of our convictions that our lives may faithfully reflect the good news you bring.
All: Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.

All Sing: Sold for gain by your disciple.
Handed over to your people.
King held captive by his own.

Third Station
Jesus is condemned by the Sanhedrin

Leader: We adore you, 0 Christ, and we bless you. (Genuflect)

All: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. (Stand)

Reader: When day came the council of elders of the people met, both chief priests and scribes, and they brought him before their Sanhedrin. They said, “If you are the Messiah, tell us,” but he replied to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe, and if I question, you will not respond. But from this time on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” They all asked, “Are you then the Son of God?” He replied to them, “You say that I am.”
Then they said, “What further need have we for testimony? We have heard it from his own mouth.” Luke 22:66-71 (Kneel)

Leader: Envy and jealousy can be like cancerous diseases within us. They spread throughout our whole being leading to uncharitable conversations, false accusations, and other destructive actions.
We see all of this played out among the religious leaders of Jesus’ time as they condemn Him without basis. Our Lord suffers a model for us: he did not defend himself, but remained silent before the false accusations. Jesus did, however, assert himself, speaking the truth regardless of the cost. (Stand)

Leader: Lord, grant us your sense of righteousness that we may never cease to work to bring about the justice of the kingdom that you promised.

All: Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.

All Sing: Judge of all you stand convicted.
Of the sin that we’ve committed.
All for love you bear our guilt.

Fourth Station
Jesus is denied by Peter
Leader: We adore you, 0 Christ, and we bless you. (Genuflect)

All: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. (Stand)

Reader: Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. One of the maids came over to him and said, “You too were with Jesus the Galilean.” But he denied it in front of everyone, saying, “I do not know what you are talking about!” As he went out to the gate, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, ‘This man was with Jesus the
Nazorean.” Again he denied it with an oath, “I do not know the man!”
A little later the bystanders came over and said to Peter. “Surely you too are one of them; even your speech gives you away.” At that he began to curse and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately a cock crowed. Then Peter remembered the word that Jesus had spoken: “Before the cock crows you will deny me three times.” He went out and began to weep bitterly. Matthew 26:69-75 (Kneel)

Leader: All of us are like Peter to an extent, willing but weak. We make resolutions, but don’t keep them. We try to start a new life, but slip back again into a way of darkness.
Yet, weak as Peter was- not only at Jesus’ trial but at other times as well – he truly loved Jesus. In fact, it was his love that repeatedly set him up for failure. All of Christ’s other followers ran away after his arrest. Peter, however, followed along into the courtyard, only there to see his weakness take over; Almost immediately, he wept because of what he had done. A few short days later, Jesus would take this weak but loving follower and make him head of the Church, supplying him with divine strength to overcome his human weakness. (Stand)

Leader: Lord, grant us the gift of honesty that we may not fear to speak the truth even when difficult.

All: Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.

All Sing: Even Peter now denies you.
Claiming even not to know you.
Just as you had prophesied.

Fifth Station
Jesus is scourged and crowned with thorns.

Leader: We adore you, 0 Christ, and we bless you. (Genuflect)

All: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. (Stand)

Reader: Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged. And the soldiers wove a crown out of thorns and placed it on his head, and clothed him in a purple cloak, and they came to him and said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck him repeatedly. John 19:1-3 (Kneel)

Leader: Pilate had Jesus scourged – such cruel punishment. He was likely stripped to the waist and made to bend over a short pillar. There he was lashed over and again with a whip. The first few strokes cut open the skin on his back. The later strokes ripped the flesh from the bone.
After the scourging a wooden band, or crown, of long, sharp thorns was pressed into his scalp. The pain had to be unbearable. When our own head hurts or we suffer some other physical or spiritual pain, it would do well for us to remember if we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus we too can suffer for the sake of the joy to follow. (Stand)

Leader: Lord, grant us patience in times of suffering that we may offer our lives as a sacrifice of praise.

All: Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.

All Sing: Pain on head and back you carry.
May we just but briefly tarry.
Pondering now what love will do.

Sixth Station
Jesus Bears the Cross

Leader: We adore you, 0 Christ, and we bless you. (Genuflect)
All: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world (Stand)

Reader: When the chief priests and the guards saw [Jesus] they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him. I find no guilt in him.”…
They cried out, “Take him away, take him away! Crucify him'”
Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your king?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” Then he handed him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, and carrying the cross himself he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull in Hebrew, Golgotha. John 19:6, 15:17 (Kneel)

Leader; How different are we? How many times have we made others kings in our lives? When have we willfully tried to push Jesus out of our lives? How can we bear the knowledge of our own actions? (Stand)

Leader: Lord, grant us strength of purpose that we may faithfully bear our crosses each day.

All: Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.

All Sing: Now the cross as Jesus bore it.
Has become for us who share it
Symbol of our victory

Seventh Station
Jesus is helped by Simon, the Cyrenian, to carry the cross.

Leader: We adore you, 0 Christ, and we bless you: (Genuflect)

All: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. (Stand)

Reader: They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon, a Cyrenian who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. Mark 15:21 (Kneel)

Leader: Those in charge of the crucifixion engaged Simon of Cyrene to help carry the Lord’s cross. He did not volunteer or willingly accept the task. He was only passing by and likely knew little about Christ
We on the other hand, know Jesus. We have heard his words about the necessity of taking up our own crosses each day and walking in his footsteps. What is our response? Must we be forced to carry our crosses, be they big or small, or do we accept them willingly? (Stand)

Leader: Lord, grant us willing spirits that we may be your instruments on earth.

All: Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.

All sing: Simon bears with hesitation.
Glorious sign of our salvation.
That which we should bear with joy.

Eighth Station
Veronica Wipes Jesus Face

Leader: We adore you, 0 Christ, and we bless you. (Genuflect)

All: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. (Stand)
Reader: A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him. Luke 23:27 (Kneel)

Leader: The procession started the uphill climb; the peak of Calvary visible toward the west. It stood out against the sky.
In an instant someone from the bystanders ran to Jesus. It was a woman. She had in her hands a piece of wet cloth. She wiped Jesus’ face from sweat and blood. She did not bother to look at the soldiers, less still did she care about her safety. She did it instinctively. She saw his suffering and thought that this might alleviate some pain. Jesus must have appreciated this gesture. He felt the soothing cloth on his face and felt the tender touch of her hand. The trickling blood and sweat were removed from his face. He could again open his eyes and see for himself the tender face of the woman. She was crying and tears were dripping down her face. She had seen for herself the amount of pain the man in front of her was suffering.
She knew him well. Standing in front of him she remembered his word echoing: “Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. Luke 6-21-24 (Stand)

Leader: Lord, help us to recognize and have courage to reach out to those in need.

All: Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.

All Sing: To your aid she came running.
Wiping down your face while crying.
Lord you saw her loving you.

Ninth Station
Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem

Leader: We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you, (Genuflect)

All: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. (Stand)

Reader: Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children, for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.’ At that time, people will say to the mountains. Fall upon us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us’ for if these things are done when the wood is green what will happen when it is dry?” Luke 23:28-31 (Kneel)

Leader: Compassion means literally, to suffer with someone. Empathy means to feel with them. These women display both qualities. They accompany the bruised and disfigured Jesus on his sorrowful journey through the town of Jerusalem. We imitate their example when we listen with love to another’s troubles. Hold another’s hand by a hospital bed, or embrace another who is grieving. (Stand)

Leader: Lord, grant us gentle spirits that we may comfort those who mourn.

All: Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.

All Sing: Like the women at your passion.
Loving hearts within us fashion.
That we might share others pain.

Tenth Station
Jesus is Stripped

Leader: We adore you, 0 Christ, and we bless you. (Genuflect)

All: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. (Stand)

Reader: They took his clothes and divided them into four shares, a share for each soldier. They also took his tunic, but the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top down. So they said to one another, “Let’s not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it will be,” in order that the passage of scripture might be fulfilled (that says): “They divided my garments among them, and for my vesture they cast lots.” This is what the soldiers did. Jn. 19:23b-24 (Kneel)

Leader: Jesus seamless garment harkens to the Jewish high priest.
Only the high priest wore such a garment and only he offered sacrifice for the believers. John tells us here that Jesus is the New Adam—both priest and victim—freeing us from our sin and shame.
This was the final insult, stripping. He is a naked man. In the Jewish culture this is the ultimate humiliation. In Genesis we read that Adam recognized his nakedness—his shame—his sin. Yet, here in this place was the New Adam, Jesus, sinless. Now, Jesus stands in Adams place, in our place taking on our sin and shame. (Stand)

Leader: Lord, help us strip ourselves of those things which keep us from being who you created us to be.

All: Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.

All sing: Sin of Adam now before us.
One so pure and undefiled.
All creation new again.

Eleventh Station
Jesus is Crucified

Leader: We adore you, 0 Christ, and we bless you. (Genuflect)

All: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world (Stand)

Reader: When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him and the criminals there, one on his right, the other on his left. (Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” Luke 23:33-34 (Kneel)

Leader: First they drove nails through His hands and feet. Then they raised Him on the cross where He hung painfully-for three hours – an example of patience for all to study. Pope John Paul XXIII had a crucifix on his bedroom wall. He prayed in front of it before retiring at night then upon arising and whenever cares awakened him during the night
“A cross,” he said,” is the primary symbol of God’s love for us.” (Stand)

Leader: Lord, grant us merciful hearts that we may bring your reconciliation and forgiveness to all.

All: Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.
All sing: Arms spread wide our pain embracing.
Stain of blood our sin erasing.
Though nailed fast your hands still heal.

Twelfth Station
Jesus Promises His Kingdom to the Good Thief.

Leader: We adore you, 0 Christ, and we bless you. (Genuflect)

All: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. (Stand)

Reader: Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us.” The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Luke 23:39-43 (Kneel)

Leader: One criminal said “no” to Christ, the other “yes.” To his penitent companion on Calvary, Jesus promised immediate forgiveness and entrance into heaven. When we doubt God’s willingness to forgive us, when we keep punishing ourselves for past mistakes, when we dread the thought of standing before the pure Christ with our not-so-pure lives, we might recall this scene on the cross and draw hope from it. (Stand)

Leader: Lord, grant us perseverance that we may never stop seeking you.

All: Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.

All sing: Even in the midst of suffering.
Jesus words of comfort offering.
“This day you shall dwell with me.”

Thirteenth Station
Jesus Dies on the Cross

Leader: We adore you, 0 Christ, and we bless you. (Genuflect)

All: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world (Stand)

Reader: It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse on the sun. Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle. Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hand I commend my spirit”. And when he had said this he breathed his last. Luke 23: 44-46 (Kneel)
Leader: Jesus surrenders completely to his father’s will—“Father into your hands I commend my spirit.” Could these be the last words on our own lips as we end each day preparing for sleep? We could let these words be the last thought of our day as sleep comes—a symbol of our own eventual death. (Stand)

Leader: Lord, grant us trust in you that when our time on earth is ended our spirits may come to you without delay.
All: Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.

All sing: Word of Life of death defiant.
Bowed his head the world is silent.
Through his death came life anew.

Fourteenth Station
Jesus is Placed in the Tomb
Leader: We adore you, 0 Christ, and we bless you. (Genuflect)
All: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. (Stand)
Reader: When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea
named Joseph, who was himself a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate
and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be handed
over. Taking the body, Joseph wrapped it in clean linen and laid it in his
new tomb that he had hewn in the rock. Then he rolled a huge stone
across the entrance to the tomb and departed. Matthew 27:57-60
(Kneel)
Leader: Starting on Good Friday, the Church enters into a brief period
of silent grief. A time of mourning that looks with hope to the joy of the
resurrection that will be proclaimed and celebrated at the Easter Vigil.
We grieve in much the same way when someone we love dies. There
are tears and sorrow, of course, but rays of hope and belief in a later
reunion bring us comfort, understanding, and strength.
We have no image of a tomb on this page. We each have our own boul-
ders. What rock, what grief, what sorrow stands in my way between who
I am and who I am to become? Stand)
Leader: Lord, grant us your compassion that we may recognize our
boulders. Help us move beyond and provide for those in need.
All: Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.
All Sing: Hidden from the sight of heaven.
Earths dark womb receives our victim.
Now our hope seems all but gone.

Closing Prayer:
Leader: Lord Jesus Christ, your passion and death is the sacrifice that unites earth and heaven and reconciles all people to you. May we who have faithfully reflected on these mysteries follow in your steps and so come to share your glory in heaven where you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit one God, for ever and ever.

All: Amen.

Scripture excerpts are taken from the New American Bible with Revised New
Testament Copyright © 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine Inc
Washington, DC. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Permission is “hereby granted to reproduce these excerpts in free distribution of these stations.
Excerpts have been taken from Fr. Joseph M. Champlin’s Reflections on the Stations of the Cross with Pope John Paul II.

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