Thursday, 5 April 2012

64,000 dollar question: What happened to the Stations of the Cross?

I mean, there are only 14 of them, they are in just about every Catholic church......but no one appears to say them any more.

The path to Melbourne Cathedral

The past two weeks I have spent visiting more churches than normal during Lent due to the fact that I am not in West Wales where most of the churches are locked up during the day in case anyone decides they want to get religious.
Here in Melbourne the city churches, at any rate, are open and available but I have yet to see anyone indulging in the Stations of the Cross; I would expect that London or Cardiff would be much the same.

The 'Stations' is one of the most moving and spiritual of our prayers and may be completed without a prayer book of any kind (although I do normally use the CTS purple booklet which is excellent).

Each station automatically brings its own prayer and one only has to genuflect, remember that? And to utter the words: "We adore Thee O Christ and we praise Thee, because by Thy Holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world" - then say one Glory be, one Hail Mary and an Our Father before moving on to the next station. It takes about 30 minutes to complete all 14.

Today (Maundy Thursday) I completed the Stations in St Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne. The Cathedral was busy with tourists, locals wishing to be shriven of their sins, people just wanting to meditate and pray, workmen and cleaners and about 10 coachloads of Chinese visitors who appeared both amused and perplexed at my attempts to pray the Stations. By now I expect photographs of me trying to focus on the Via Dolorosa to be in many a household in Beijing or Chengdu or wherever they came from. I wonder what they really thought of my efforts.

But the real point is, who does say the Stations today?

Have they gone the way of Benediction, Forty Hours Devotion, Corpus Christi Processions?

Or do hordes of parishioners descend upon their churches after dark in order to carry out this devotion in secret?

Answers on a postcard please!


  1. I am very happy to report that at Our Lady of LaSalette in Kirbyville, Texas the Stations are prayed every Friday in Lent. As corporate prayer we would probably pray them weekly, but we have one LaSalette missionary covering three parishes.

    As for me, well, yes, I could make a better effort myself.

    God bless our LaSalette missionaries!

    Mack in Texas

  2. Excellent news Mack, but there is a good case for saying the Stations throughout the year, maybe we should start a campaign.
    A happy and holy Easter to you and your family.


  3. We say the Stations every Friday in Lent as well--but, of course, we are a TLM parish.

    A blessed Triduum, and a happy Easter to you, Richard! If you are on Facebook, be sure to "friend" me--Christine Niles. I am far more active there than at my blog. God bless!

  4. And a happy and holy Easter to you Christine, will see you on Facebook soon.

    Richard Collins

  5. We have Stations every Friday in Lent at Blackfen, plus a couple of extra ones for Children along the way. We had Stations every Friday in my previous parish as well - I've never heard of one that didn't have it, but what a dreadful omission where that is the case! It's such an important part of spiritual preparation for Easter. Wishing you and your family a blessed Eastertide, Annie Elizabeth and family xxx

  6. In my parish they were done communally on Wednesdays and Fridays of Lent. I tried to do them regularly myself during Lent. I do them occasionally through the year. I'm in my church most days but have rarely seen anyone pray them.

  7. Happy to report that our parish (St. Michael's in Houston, Tx), as well as some others do the Stations on Fridays during Lent. Haven't done then during the year, but should probably make the effort. :D

  8. Here in Volo, rural Illinois, it is not unusual to see people praying the stations after morning Mass throughout the year. Mind you, it's a wonderful parish, staffed by priests from John Cantius in Chicago. Deo Gratias!

  9. I left my previous church when I discovered, among other travesties, that the SOC were in a side chapel, had chairs lined up in front of them so the pray-er has to stand several feet away and they were also about 5 inches square. It was impossible to SEE which station you were looking at.
    My present church has SOC during Lent but alas, at an impossible time for me. I pray them myself, when I can, during Lent. On Good Friday, our Priest led them and was astonished at the large crowd that turned up! I think they're beginning to make a comback after many years of neglect - at least in New Zealand.

  10. We have Stations every Friday during Lent; and Rosary and Benediction every Sunday afternoon in Lent, May and October. And . . . we have a Corpus Christi procession and have had 40 Hours Devotion for the past two years. I do realise how fortunate we are. Thanks be to God for our good and holy PP