Stations of the Cross

What are the Stations of the Cross?

The Stations of the Cross (or Way of the Cross; in Latin, Via Crucis; also called the Via Dolorosa or Way of Sorrows, or simply, The Way) refers to the depiction of the final hours (or Passion) of Jesus.  The devotion commemorates the Passion. 

The object of the Stations is to help the faithful to make a spiritual pilgrimage of prayer to the chief scenes of Christ's sufferings and death.  It may be done at any time, but is most commonly done during the Season of Lent, especially on Good Friday and on Friday evenings during Lent.

The Stations themselves are usually a series of 14 pictures or sculptures depicting the final hours of Jesus.  In recent years some variations have been introduced in the traditional devotion.  One of these is the addition of a 15th station - the Resurrection of Jesus (c.1960). 

Why do we pray the Stations of the Cross?

It is a powerful way to help people contemplate the journey of Jesus to the cross and its significance for our lives.  The stations of the cross ...

 – is a mini-pilgrimage (you are tracing the footsteps of Christ, in his journey from being condemned to death to his resurrection);

– it is a powerful way to contemplate, and enter into, the mystery of Jesus' gift of himself to us (in meditating on the stations we more closely unite with Christ);

– it allows us to engage all the senses, heart, mind and body;

– it is Christ-centered; and

– it connects us to our common Christian heritage

Pray before beginning the Stations of the Cross

Make a good act of contrition, knowing that those sins are exactly the reason why Christ obediently died.  Allow the Lord to speak to you and give him complete reign in your heart.  Meditating upon the passion of Jesus Christ, draws a soul closer to God.  You give yourself over to the Holy Spirit and become an instrument in the salvation of souls.  This one meditation allows you to contemplate Christ's suffering and His victory over sin and Satan.  With this knowledge and the abundance of graces the Holy Spirit will fill your soul, you will gain souls (yours and others) for the kingdom of heaven. 

How to do the Stations of the Cross

This is prayer not an intellectual exercise.  Reading the text of each of the stations, and looking at the pictures or crosses isn’t prayer.  As you read the text and see the pictures contemplate who Jesus is to you.  Open your heart to be touched.

This is an imaginative exercise.  Its purpose is not a historical examination of what happened on that day in history.  It's about something far more profound.  Let the experience touch your heart by showing you the depth of his love for you.  You should feel a profound sense of gratitude.  It should also lead you into a sense of solidarity with all your brothers and sisters.  Journeying with Jesus in the Stations, allows us to imagine his entry into the experience of those who are tortured, unjustly accused or victimized, sitting on death





First Station
Jesus is condemned to death






Second Station
Jesus takes up His cross





Third Station
Jesus falls the first time





Fourth Station
Jesus meets His sorrowful mother






 Fifth Station
The Cyrenean helps carry the cross





Sixth Station
Veronica wipes the face of Jesus





 Seventh Station
Jesus falls the second time





Eighth Station
  Jesus comforts the women of Jerusalem





Ninth Station
Jesus falls the third time





Tenth Station
Jesus is stripped of His garments





Eleventh Station
Jesus is nailed to the cross




Twelfth Station
Jesus dies on the cross





Thirteenth Station
Jesus is taken down from the cross





Fourteenth Station
Jesus is placed in the tomb

Fifteenth Station
The resurrection of Jesus
St. Patrick's Church at Moody Air Force Base