A Catholic Monthly Magazine

Stations of the Cross

Based on the ceremony led by Pope Francis, 19 April 2019, at the Colosseum, Rome, written by Sister Eugenia Bonetti.


We walk this way of the Cross in union with the poor, the outcast of our societies and all those who, even now, are enduring crucifixion as victims of our indifference and hardness of heart.

We pray:

May the Cross of Christ, a means of death but also of new life, embracing heaven and earth, north and south, east and west, enlighten the consciences of all those who call themselves followers of Christ, so that the Good News of our redemption may be made known to all.

First Station – Jesus is condemned to death – Matthew 7:21

Mary accepted the Father’s will even at the darkest moment in her life, and she stood by her Son, heartbroken. She followed him on the road to Calvary and shared in the most tragic and painful moments of his life.

We pray:

Lord, how many mothers, even today, share the experience of your Mother, as they weep for the fate of their daughters and sons? How many parents see their children suffer and die from disease, malnutrition and lack of water, medical care and hope for the future? We pray that we may heed the cry of the poor rising up to you from every part of our world, and do what we can to help.

Second Station – Jesus takes up his cross – Luke 9:23

It is easy to wear a crucifix on a chain around our neck or to use it to decorate the walls of churches or homes. It is less easy to acknowledge today’s newly crucified: the homeless; the young deprived of hope; refugees with nowhere to go after having endured untold suffering.

We pray:

We thank you, Lord, because by your own life, you have taught us how to show genuine and selfless love for others, especially for our enemies and for those who are different from ourselves. You have taught us about serving and forgiving others, about self-sacrifice and suffering. Grant that we may put our lives always at the service of others.

Third Station – Jesus falls for the first time – Isaiah 53:4

On the steep path leading to Calvary, Jesus chose to experience our human frailty and weakness. As members of the Church, through our efforts on behalf of those less fortunate than we are, we are to be the Samaritans of the third millennium.

We pray:

Lord, we thank you for the good done by your people who help relieve the sufferings the poor. May we neither forget, nor neglect, the poor and the last in line. Grant us the grace to overcome our blindness to their tears, their sufferings and their cry of pain. Through them, we meet you.

Fourth Station – Jesus meets his Mother – Luke 2:35

When Jesus was presented in the Temple, Simeon predicted that a sword would pierce Mary’s heart. Her acceptance of the Father’s will led her on the road to Calvary. Many mothers today are heart-sick at seeing their children suffering hunger, poverty and deprivation. Their suffering is like that of Mary.

We pray:

Lord Jesus, at this very moment, your Mother experienced the same tragedy as all those mothers who are heartbroken at the plight of their children, and powerless to help them. Give them strength and courage. May we have the grace to be generous to those in need.

Fifth Station – Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry the cross – Galatians 6:2

On his way to Calvary, Our Lord was crushed by the weight of the Cross. In vain, he hoped for help from a friend, from one of his disciples, from one of the many persons whose sufferings he relieved. Simon of Cyrene, a stranger, helped him. We are called to be like Simon in our day.

We pray:

Lord, may we never falter in our desire to welcome you in the least of our brothers and sisters, knowing that in welcoming the poorest members of our society, the marginalised, the suffering, we welcome you.

Sixth Station – Veronica wipes the face of Jesus – Matthew 25:40

Think of children who have never been to school and are exploited in mines, fields, and fisheries, bought and sold by human traffickers, used and abused. They experience oppression by those who ill-use them, and indifference from those who have the resources to help them.

We pray:

Lord Jesus, open our eyes to see your face in our brothers and sisters, especially in all those children who live in poverty and squalor, deprived of their right to a happy childhood, education, and innocence. In ourselves and in them may we see people created in your image and likeness, utterly deserving of dignity and respect.

Seventh Station – Jesus falls for the second time – 1 Peter 2:33

In a society where forgiveness is seen as weakness, Our Lord asks us not to stop forgiving. To those who tortured him, he asked: “Why do you persecute me?” True justice can never be based on hatred and revenge. May we be capable of asking for, and granting, forgiveness.

We pray:

“Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Lord, you bore the burden of condemnation, rejection, abandonment, and suffering. You offered forgiveness to your murderers, and you offer love and hope to those who today, like you, walk the path of ridicule, mockery, abandonment, betrayal, and loneliness.

Eighth Station – Jesus meets the women – Luke 23:28

The social, economic and political situation of migrants and the victims of human trafficking challenges and disturbs us. We must have the courage to denounce human trafficking as a crime against humanity. We cannot ignore the problem, and we must be part of the solution. The poor, the foreigner, the other, must not be seen as an enemy to be rejected and resisted, but as a brother or a sister to be welcomed and assisted.

We pray:

Lord, teach us to see with your eyes. Help us to realise that we all belong to the same human family, and to find new ways of protecting the vulnerable and those on the margins.

Ninth Station – Jesus falls for the third time – Isaiah 53:7

Our Lord fell again, exhausted and humiliated, beneath the weight of the Cross; like people exploited by unscrupulous employers or children forced into slavery, rejected and condemned by an indifferent and uncaring society.

We pray:

Lord, how many times have you asked us this disturbing question: “Where is your brother? Where is your sister?” Their heart-breaking cry rises up to you. Help us to share the sufferings of all those treated as rubbish. Help us to accept our responsibilities as individuals, as governments, and as Christian communities.

Tenth Station – Jesus is stripped of his garments – Colossians 3:12

Money, comfort, power -- these are the idols of every age. Everything can be bought, including people, fleeing poverty, and trafficked into slavery, stripped of their dignity and hope for the future. Much of our world has forgotten the dignity, and beauty of every man and woman.

We pray:

Lord, help us to appreciate the beauty and richness present in every person as your unique gift, not to be used for personal profit or gain. May your example and your teaching on mercy and forgiveness, on humility and patience, make us more human, and thus, more Christian.

Eleventh Station – Jesus is nailed to the Cross – Luke 23:34

While society proclaims equal rights and dignity for all human beings, it practises and tolerates inequality. Men, women, and children are bought and sold by the new traders in human lives. They are exploited, and then discarded as worthless. Some grow rich by devouring the flesh and blood of the poor.

We pray:

Lord, many people, even today, are nailed to a cross, victims of brutal exploitation, stripped of dignity, freedom, and hope. Their cry for help challenges us -- as individuals, as governments, as society and as Church. Give us eyes to see, and a heart to feel, the suffering of all those who are nailed to a cross by our systems of life and consumption.

Twelfth Station – Jesus dies on the Cross – Mark 15:34

Jesus bore the weight of scorn, mockery, insults, violence, abandonment, and indifference. Only Mary, John, and a few women stayed with him. We remember and pray for all those dying today on Calvary-Crosses throughout the world: in transit camps, on boats denied entry to safe ports, in shelters, and in refugee camps.

We pray:

Lord, help us to be true neighbours to those suffering in today’s world. Teach us to wipe away their tears, to comfort them, even as you were consoled by the presence of your Mother and friends beneath your cross. Help us to help those who suffer.

Thirteenth Station – Jesus is taken down from the cross – John 12:24

So many refugees perish when they are trying to reach freedom – murdered by bandits, dying of malnutrition, dehydration and exhaustion, or drowned at sea. Their deaths, like that of Jesus taken down from the Cross, were not in vain. They are of limitless value in God’s eyes, and we commend them to the Father of all.

We pray:

Lord, at this hour, we hear once more the cry of Pope Francis at Lampedusa, the site of his first apostolic journey: “Has anyone wept?” After countless refugee deaths, we continue to cry out: “Has anyone wept?” Lord, help us to be neither silent nor indifferent in the face of so many human tragedies that afflict our world.

Fourteenth Station – Jesus is laid in the tomb – John 19:30

Deserts and seas are the new cemeteries of our world. Our brothers and sisters die: men, women, children that we could not, or would not, save. The Sahara is filled with the bones of children, men and women who could not survive exhaustion, hunger, and thirst. How much pain is inflicted on those fleeing their homelands -- in their desperate journeys, in the extortion and tortures they endure, in the sea that becomes a watery grave.

We pray:

Lord, make us realise that we are all children of one Father. May the death of your Son Jesus grant to the leaders of nations and to lawmakers consciousness of the role they must play in the defence of every person created in your image and likeness.

Final prayer:

Lord, teach us to keep watch, together with your Mother and those who stood by you on Calvary, in expectation of your resurrection. May it be a beacon of hope, joy, new life, fraternity, acceptance, and communion among peoples, religions and systems of law. May all the sons and daughters be truly recognised in their dignity as sons and daughters of God, and never be treated as slaves.

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