The Stations of the Cross during COVID-19
THE STATIONS OF THE CROSS DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC
The devotion known as the ‘Stations of the Cross’ or the ‘Way of the Cross’ is an adaptation to local usage of a custom widely observed by pilgrims to Jerusalem for centuries: the offering of prayer at a series of places in that city traditionally associated with the Lord’s passion and death.
The number of stations, which at first varied widely, finally became fixed at fourteen. Of these, eight are based directly on events recorded in the Gospels. The remaining six (numbers 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, & 13) are based on inferences from the Gospel account or from pious legend. If desired, these six stations may be omitted, and some churches choose to do so.
The Stations of the Cross is appropriate either as a public service or private devotion (the latter of which lends itself well to this time of isolation), particularly on the Fridays of Lent. Some will wish to use this devotion during Holy Week. However, it should not be used on Maundy Thursday or Holy Saturday, and should never displace or take precedence over the primary rite of Good Friday, The Celebration of the Lord’s Passion.
Below are five versions people may find particularly helpful during this time of isolation. The first listed will be used by Archbishop Anne for her live-stream on Monday of Holy Week, 5:00 p.m.
The Stations, with Woodcut Images of Margaret Adams Parker
This resource has been generously made available to us without cost for use during this time of pandemic. A booklet with woodcut images and text is provided here, though it is in photo-ready form. Therefore, for ease of use, it will be necessary to print the booklet.
A file with slides has also been provided should you join with Archbishop Anne has she leads the meditation for each station. Simply download and view each image on your computer screen or tablet as the Archbishop leads us from station to station…
Here is the booklet:
Here are the slides:
Finger Labyrinths for the Stations of the Cross
This version of the Stations of the Cross (home grown here in the Diocese!) is ideal for those with mobility issues or who must remain stationary for other reasons. It also works very well for those who simply want to sit and be contemplative.
These are “finger labyrinths” designed and offered by Algoma’s own Nancy Houghton, a parishioner at Trinity All Saint’s in Bala in the Deanery of Muskoka.
Nancy has provided traditionally shaped and cross-shaped labyrinths. As you trace the path of the labyrinth with your finger, you will find spots marked where you stop and engage in reflection and prayer based on the 14 Stations.
This form for “walking” the Way of the Cross was an idea that occurred to Nancy when it became clear her parish would not be able to engage in the usual procession in the community. You will be impressed by her work!
The text to accompany the Stations was assembled by The Rev. Heather Manuel, Incumbent of the parish.
Stations with Children
This first version uses all fourteen stations and has artwork provided. The text was developed over the years by Cecelia S. Snyder, former Director of Children’s Ministries at Grace Church, Alexandria, VA, (1985- 2006), and Montessori teacher for over 40 years; and Chrissie Crosby, former assistant for Children’s Ministries at Grace Church, holding an MA in Biblical Interpretation, Virginia Theological Seminary (2014). Artwork by Chrissie Crosby.
In the second version, the non-biblical stations have been removed. A few stations have been combined. The Resurrection is added as the final station. Some of the language for the prayers has been simplified.
Though it is not necessary, consider moving from “station” to “station” with this one. Place seven crosses (one for each station) throughout a room, apartment, or house (sticks make wonderful crosses!). If you don’t have crosses, perhaps have members of the household draw pictures ahead of time depicting the scene for each station, or stay at the station long enough to draw a picture related to the part of the story read or the prayer prayed.
Weather permitting, if your yard allows you to move about outside while maintaining the pandemic restrictions of the province, you may want to walk around there, with or without crosses signifying each station. (Again, though, remember the usefulness of sticks for crosses, or rocks for marking a sacred place.) If you have a sacred space set up in your home, consider beginning and ending there.
If you cannot or choose not to process from station to station, simply take a moment of quiet between the stations to mark the change, or draw a picture at this time.
Video Stations of the Cross
The text of the meditations is adapted from a service written by Frank and Victoria Logue for use at King of Peace Episcopal Church in Kingsland, Georgia. Frank will be consecrated as the 11th Bishop of Georgia in May.
This is a very stirring version of the Stations. These video Stations of the Cross use film of more recent examples of needless suffering alongside images of Christ’s passion to challenge viewers to see how Jesus’ death and resurrection can redeem all of the many times and ways the innocent have endured pain even to death. Though many come from Frank’s context of the southern US, they are strong enough to bring to mind many other examples of suffering and injustice, even in this part of the world.
A booklet for this Stations of the Cross is online here: