STATIONS OF THE CROSS (PODCAzTs from Fr. Z)

Many parishes and chapels will have the Via Crucis or Stations of the Cross during Lent.

What version does your parish use?

I have audio projects with the Way of the Cross.

Here is a reading of the Via Crucis, the Way of the Cross, composed by Joseph Card. Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, for the 2005 Good Friday observance at the Colosseum in Rome.

Also, for your Lenten spiritual warfare, here are two versions the popular Via Crucis by St. Alphonsus Liguori. One version is plain, just my voice. The other is the same voice recording, but with the Gregorian chant Sequence Stabat Mater interlaced between the stations.

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41 Responses to STATIONS OF THE CROSS (PODCAzTs from Fr. Z)

  1. asperges says:

    The traditional Alphonus Ligori version of Stations is contemplative and moving: not long, not self-indulgent, but gentle and devotional. I haven’t yet listened to the Holy Father’s version, but I cannot imagine they will be far from this in spirit.

  2. PghCath says:

    I’ve never been to Stations at an EF parish. All of the OF parishes I’ve visited for Stations use the “brown book;;et” published in 1965 by Barton-Cotton (or its large print cousin, the “red booklet”).

  3. Brooklyn says:

    I’ve found that most parishes use St. Alphonsus Liguori. But my favorite is The Way of The Cross of St. Francis. I listen to it every Friday on my way to work. I find it very moving. But I am looking forward to hearing these versions.

  4. Childermass says:

    Father, two years ago I went out and bought the new “Praying the Way of the Cross” CD put out by the Redemptorists. It is narrated by Liam Neeson and one of the Redemptorist priests. It’s very good.

  5. tmjost says:

    Thank you so much Father!!! I homeschool my three sons, and I am utilizing these Lentcazts as a teaching tool. God bless you!

  6. When I was a kid, the Stations of the Cross followed by benediction of the Blessed Sacrament were an oasis of Catholicism amid the howling desert of the “spirit of Vatican II.” There would be the sung Stabat Mater (albeit in English), incense, and the priest would wear a cloth-of-gold cope and humeral veil for the benediction. Those were special moments.

    Now, however, it is necessary to be selective about which Stations to attend, because in so many places in my town the Stations are warped and distorted by leftist politics. A couple of years ago I walked out of one that compared the Passion of Christ with the Kent State incident. Last year, a local parish did a lefty, neo-pagan Stations that attacked American imperialism, had the Blessed Mother standing in solidarity with public sinners, and included the twisted prayer: “By the power of Your Holy Cross, help us to change the world” (i.e., remake it in the image of aging hippies).

  7. Father: IMHO, this set is among the greatest PODCAzT’s you’ve ever done. I kept them and I listen to them periodically. In fact, I was just listening to one of them yesterday evening “The Way of the Cross by St. Alphonsus w/o chant”. When I can’t make it to Stations, I listen to one of these instead.
    Thank you.

  8. Cathy: I am grateful for the comment!

  9. Catherine L. says:

    Thanks, Father. These are lovely. I’m listening to the version with chant.

    My parish in Sacramento, CA uses these Stations from St. Alphonsus translated into modern English (no thee/thou). Our deacons lead them, and they do an excellent job and include the chants and the prayers for the indulgence at the end. We’re very blessed to have our good deacons.

    However, last year I encountered a new version of the SOTC at another Sacramento parish. Somebody there decided to make the SOTC all about immigration issues. Oy vey! The reflections at the various stations talked about everything BUT the actual Via Crucis. When they got to the point of meditating on supposed immigration officials conducting midnight raids to find illegal immigrants in their homes and scaring immigrant children out of their beds by shining flashlights into their faces, I just quit and quietly waited for the Mass to begin. Actually, I had a little chuckle. The sign of lousy Stations of the Cross: altar servers processing between the Stations with the crucifix consistently confused and in front of the wrong Stations. A kindly layman eventually popped out of his nearby pew and moved the procession over two Stations to catch up with the lector. Obviously, there was no connection between the action depicted in each Station on the wall and the “immigration stations,” so the boys ended up frustrated and embarrassed.

    [I know there are bad versions and strange things done. I know people are frustrated. That is why I did this. I had hoped that this might be a positive entry.]

  10. K_Suzanne says:

    I’m not sure which Via Crucis my parish uses (I’m new), but I’ve been using St. Josemaría Escrivá’s Way of the Cross ever since I heard it while on retreat and was brought to tears.

  11. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    Last year at this time, since St. Alphonsus Liguori was obviously off limits at school (for reasons I won’t explain at this point), I went looking for a replacement. I found one by Archbishop Fulton Sheen, and asked permission to use it. It became the school standard form, much to my delight. I would still have liked to use St. Alphonsus, but the good Archbishop served as an adequate substitute.

  12. Bornacatholic says:

    Dear Fr. The Stabat Mater Chant is wonderful but Barbara Bonney singing Perlogei’s Stabat Mater tops it, in my book.

    I can’t write enough positive comments about your podcasts. They are so enriching and inspiriting. You are doing a very great good. Kudos

  13. frjim4321 says:

    We recommend the scriptural stations of the cross with the corrected lineup as did Pope John Paul II. Most of the older versions (e.g., Ligouri) don’t use the corrected lineup.

    Agree with Catherine L., we don’t allow versions that advertise “causes,” such as Stations for Immigrants, Stations for Vocations, Stations for Life, etc. The Stations should be about the Stations, and not about the cause-of-the-week.

    Everyone here seems to like the scriptural stations.

  14. Fr Matthew says:

    For our parish Friday Way of the Cross in English, we use St Alphonsus Liguori’s version. When I was teaching in the Legion of Christ’s novitiate in Brazil (more than a decade ago), the daily missalet we received (the monthly disposable kind) had a Stations of the Cross based on liberation theology. The novice master found out and banned the use of immediately.

    Of course, when we did the Stations as a community, we were using a booklet that had quotes from scripture and from Fr Marcial Maciel. The content of the texts from Fr Maciel was OK in istelf, but in retrospect, knowing what we know now about his life (and that some of the texts were plagiarized by Fr Maciel from a Spanish politician), it’s ironic. And a temptation to rant… but I’ll resist the temptation. It wouldn’t do any good.

  15. StClair says:

    Our parish uses Clarence Enzler’s Everyone’s Way of the Cross published in 1970 by Ave Maria Press. I was inclined to preface that with “Unfortunately, ” but I’ll reserve judgment. They’ve doctored it up to include the traditional opening and closing prayers, and Stabat Mater verses in between stations. The overall effect isn’t too bad. It would be pretty groovy without the additions. I prefer a more traditional devotion like the Liguori, which they use at a parish I visit near work .

  16. Marc says:

    The parish I attended in New Orleans used “The Way of the Cross with Scriptures” (same as PghCath mentioned above). However, I was disappointed. Once Mass was finished, the priest left and a laywoman lead us in the stations. Sigh.

  17. fieldsparrow says:

    Our parish uses the same booklet PghCath mentioned (and by her username I assume we are in the same city). Last week was my first experience of the Stations of the Cross, and it was awesome in the truest sense of experiencing awe in the presence of Christ and his sacrifice. I was in tears by the seventh station. Also, by the end my leg kind of hurt because being a new almost-Catholic (at Easter Vigil!) I am still getting used to genuflecting and kneeling. Ahem.

    I went again this week, and it was just as wonderful. At the end we have exposition of the Eucharist and Benediction, and we sing O Salutaris Hostia in the Latin. There’s no music printed with it so I’m a little off on the tune but it is such a reverent and amazing experience to be there. I am still learning all the terminology so I hope I get this right, but the priest wears a humeral veil for the blessing with the monstrance, and the censer is used. It is so reverent and really focuses on the fact that Christ is present.

  18. Jason Keener says:

    Thank you for posting these. I will start using them for my Friday Lenten devotions.

  19. Cavaliere says:

    The USCCB has developed “Stations of the Cross for Vocations” as an initiative to promote and pray for vocations. Basically it is the St. Alphonsus version with the inclusion of this following prep prayer. The website for their new vocations initiative is, http://www.foryourvocation.org/index.cfm

    STATIONS OF THE CROSS FOR VOCATIONS
    PREPARATORY PRAYER
    ALL: Gracious God, Each of us is called to discipleship with Your Son Jesus through the sacrament of Baptism. We are sent to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus, to share the good News of God’s saving love. Hear our prayer as we ponder the redemptive vocation of Jesus who continues to call men and women to walk in His way, renewing His Church and caring for His people. We
    give You thanks for the mystery of every vocation and we pray for all who have answered Your call. Send forth Your Holy Spirit upon the faithful and enkindle in them the fire of Your love, drawing many young men and women to dedicate themselves with an undivided heart to the love of Christ and His Kingdom. Amen.

  20. Agnes of Prague says:

    Our EF parish as far as I can remember always used the St. Alphonsus booklets by TAN. This week, however, I felt a small sensation of unfamiliarity and thought perhaps I was paying less attention than usual or something. After we were finished, I looked at the cover of the booklet and saw that it was a very similar booklet by TAN but according to the method of St. Francis of Assisi. Heh. I liked those ones too very much. We’ve had quite a good turn out so far this Lent for Friday-evening Stations.

  21. wrightap says:

    At our young adult group in St. Louis, MO (yoga was not involved), we used stations composed by Blessed John Henry Newmann. They were quite thought provoking. You can find them on ewtn’s website.

  22. PostCatholic says:

    I remember Deacon Clarence Enzler’s booklet–I have a copy somewhere, but if I recall correctly mine is old enough to be “Everyman‘s Way of the Cross.” It’s certainly not a traditional via crucis like St. Alphonsus Liguori’s, but I don’t remember anything heterodox about it and I daresay it makes an immediate and accessible introduction for those who’ve never prayed the way of the cross. It’s a a follow up to a book of meditations Dr. Enzler wrote, My Other Self, which he modeled on the The Imitation of Christ. Deacon Enzler’s son is a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington.

  23. dcs says:

    We use the Way of the Cross according to St. Alphonsus Liguori along with the Stabat Mater in English.

  24. Centristian says:

    I suppose we can rule out imagining you in various Yoga poses as you recite the stations.

    Ohm…

  25. Mom2301 says:

    Thank you Father Z for these podcasts. I have long loved the Way of the Cross and over the years have been completely stunned by the abosolute trashing of this beautiful tradition. These may be the best and most helpful podcasts you have done! Again, thank you so much for this!

  26. Stephen Matthew says:

    Praying the Stations with Mary the Mother of Jesus by Richard Furey is used in the parish every Friday of Lent.

    On Good Friday the parish hosts they Way of the Cross for the entire community (as part of a series of Lenten ecumunical prayer services hosted by the local ministerial association, followed by a light lunch of coarse) and this is sometimes done with the traditional version such as that of St. Alphonsus Ligouri, but has been done with above mentioned version, which I suspect rankled the protestant visitors to no end.

  27. JoyfulMom7 says:

    My EF parish uses the the St. Alphonsus booklets by TAN. We sing the Stabat Mater in English, one verse between each station. It is so beautiful and meaningful to me!

  28. stpetric says:

    Although I converted some years ago, I continue to use (among others) two Anglican versions of the Stations:

    1. The translation made by the late, great Anglo-Catholic priest Fr Stanton of St Alban’s, Holborn (London) of St Alphonsus’s stations. It has the great advantage of being in dignified liturgical English.

    2. And from a surprising source, “The Way of the Cross” published by the Episcopal Church in its Book of Occasional Services (and republished later as a separate booklet). It’s the traditional 14 stations; after “We adore you, O Christ…” and its response, each consists of a brief biblical passage, a versicle, and a BCP-style collect, with the Trisagion recited between stations (and the Stabat Mater provided as an alternative). As a Catholic now I find two or three minor points about which I’d quibble, but they’re definitely at the level of quibbling — I use it with a clear conscience, and find it dignified and edifying.

  29. Steven says:

    At the seminary they have us write our own reflections that are read for Monday evening stations. Each of us is assigned a station that we have to do a reflection for (one per station each week). It’s been very good so far. It works well in the seminary…although I can see it not working so well in a parish, because of the angles people might take.

  30. catholicmidwest says:

    We have the old “Barton-Cotton” booklets to use, but the priest hasn’t been using the (very good) reflections, but rather substituting some of his own which are very, very touchy-feely and modern. I really don’t like this and wish he’d just use the ones in the booklet.

  31. Peggy R says:

    I have a booklet of St. Alphonsus Liguori’s I pray on my own when I can’t get to Stations. I also have a two-sided pocket pamphlet with brief meditation on each station and opening/closing prayer with directions to pray OF, HM, and GP after each station. Nice to have on hand. I taught that to my PSR (public school) students who were quite unfamiliar w/the Stations. They couldn’t believe I really meant to genuflect at each station! They were rather subdued when we finished. I think it was their first encounter with detail of what Christ suffered that Good Friday.

    Our parish uses something different each week. I think we’ve used “Every One’s Way of the Cross” one week. The title sounds familiar. Not terribly bad, I thought. Another week something way too modern about us being Jesus’ “other self.” Horrid. Tonight they used a much more traditional booklet by the Benedictines in Collegeville, MN from about 1978 I think. Sabat Mater is chanted at each station regardless of the booklet used at the parish. That helps.

    No benediction at our parish, but I know another parish that does so in our diocese.

  32. irishgirl says:

    I’ve been doing the Stations on my own this Lent, at a beautiful Gothic-style church in a small college town. I found a copy of St. Alphonsus Liguori’s Way of The Cross, published by TAN, when I was scrounging around in some storage bins at home. It’s nice to do it in church when no one else is around-though I had to do them in kind of a ‘hurry’ yesterday because there was going to a funeral Mass at 10:00! I got done just in time, because I heard someone go into the sacristy as I was finishing up!

  33. pelerin says:

    I attended a ‘Stations of the Cross’ on Sunday with a difference. It was done as a performance in the Basilica of St Remi in Reims, France with two singers, a percussionist and organist. The words were by the poet Paul Claudel and the narrator was the famous actor Michael Lonsdale. A very large screen was erected in front of the altar which showed the 14 stations (thankfully traditional in style) from a nearby chapel.

    It was moving although I did feel uncomfortable in that it was obviously a performance and many people must have come just to hear the actor speak. The applause at the end seemed out of place too following such a solemn occasion. In my own parish we take part in the Stations although I don’t know whose words we use in between the English Stabat Mater.

  34. DisturbedMary says:

    Thanks for the podcasts. I’ll put them in my ipod. Got to go. Stations at 12:30. We use the Scriptural brown Barton-Cotton as we walk the stations. Intense and sobering.

  35. FloridaJoan says:

    I am fairly new to WDTPRS and have downloaded St Alphonsus with chant Stations to my ipod ( which I also just recently learned how to use ! ). Thank you Father Z. This lent I am listening/saying the Stations daily thanks to you. They are the same Stations we say at our Parish.

    pax et bonum
    Joan

  36. JohnW says:

    My love is for St. Alphonsus Way of the Cross. I believe that many hearts could be soften by St. Alphonsus Stations of the Cross. I think it would be very hard to find the good saints work used in Houston. I also don,t think you,ll be able to find Benediction after the stations.

  37. Peggy R says:

    Tonight I am attending a Solemn Stations of the Cross featuring sacred music (it’s not clear whether it’s woven in or follows or precedes the Stations). At St. Peter’s Cathedral of the Belleville, IL Diocese.

    More information here.
    http://soilcatholics.blogspot.com/2011/04/solemn-stations-tonight-at-st-peters.html

  38. MargaretC says:

    I went to Stations at the cathedral last night. We did the Stations of St Alphonsus Liguori led by one of the deacons. No music except Stabat Mater a capella.
    Why a deacon rather than a priest? Because both of our priests were hearing confessions at the time.
    I arrived early enough to make my confession, then finish the Stations. It was a very moving experience.
    I shall look forward to listening to the versions you have posted here. Have a blessed Lent.

  39. Melody says:

    I must proclaim my continued gratitude for those recording. I use it now and then because I have a bad habit of rushing through the prayers when doing them on my own.
    Last Friday I went to do the stations at a nearby parish. In the middle a very loud youth group walked in and clattered around, laughing, talking, even using the mike to shout messages across the hall. They then began doing their own very loud and far less edifying version of the Stations outside.
    I am diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, and there’s no way on earth I could have kept praying with all that. But thanks to your recording, I could just turn up the volume! I received some graces that day and on my own I probably would have become frustrated and stomped out.

  40. ssoldie says:

    During Lent after every Sunday Mass, our dear Priest Fr Art Hoppe (90 )prays the stations with the people, the method of St Alphonsus Liguori. May God bless him abundantly.

  41. ssoldie says:

    At home during Lent I watch” The Passion” on Fridays. I would like to know if I am the only one who does that?