STATIONS OF THE CROSS (audio 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?  

Let’s get some titles/versions/authors and we can have a poll later on.

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.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. DeProfundis says:

    Being that St. Alphonsus Liguori is my patron saint, I am partial to his version of the Via Crucis. We will be using that version as we pray the stations with all of our RCIA candidates and catechumens. Thank you, Fr. Z for posting your audio version. I especially enjoy the chant between each station.

  2. michelelyl says:

    In English, Bernard Groschel’s Way of the Cross. Wonderful meditations! In Spanish, we use Via Crucis. Sacred Heart , Klamath Falls Oregon

  3. thymos says:

    Along with St. Alphonsus Liguori’s, I also like St. Jose Maria Escriva’s.

  4. Dr. K says:

    How about the Stations of the Cross which focus on the women in the Gospels? See here.

  5. Rellis says:

    My current parish uses the traditional Ligouri version. However, I much prefer what my home parish used growing up (and what is used at the National Shrine on Good Friday):

    The full text for each station can be found here:

    Some might describe this as the “Novus Ordo” SOTC (which makes little sense since this isn’t liturgy). However, I like very much (and always have) the OT/NT exegesis. It’s very good for parishioners who want to combine learning with devotion.

  6. Lee says:

    At one point I collected a huge variety of stations of the cross. IMHO the one most congruous with the ethos here at WDTPRS and my favorite by far is the one put out by Liturgical Press, because it is “Adapted from an Old Latin Compilation of Liturgical and Biblical Texts.”

    Here, for example, is the Ninth Station:

    Jesus Falls a Third Time

    V. We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.

    R. Because by your holy Cross, you have redeemed the world.

    My people, what have I done to you, or in what have I grieved you? Answer me. I brought you out from the land of Egypt, and you have led me to the gibbet of the Cross. Forty years I fed you with manna in the desert, and you have beaten me with blows and scourges. What more should I have done for you that I have not done?

    V. He was led as a sheep to the slaughter.
    R. He was mute as a lamb before the shearer.

    Let Us Pray

    Guard us, O God on High, by your ever present mercy and goodness./ Without your help, we cannot overcome the evil that beckons us, because of our weak human nature./ Without you we shall surely fall./ Help us to avoid all that is sinful,/ and guide our steps in the way of all that is profitable for our salvation./ This we ask you through Christ, Our Lord. Amen

    There follows a verse from The Stabat Mater

  7. marthawrites says:

    For the second year in a row our parish is using Pope John Paul II’s Biblical Way of the Cross, designed for ecumenical groups with parts for a leader (the priest), a lector (for the Gospel readings) and the people. I don’t think anyone in the church (at noon) is not a Catholic and except for a second grade class, most of the participants are over 65, so ecumenism shouldn’t be an issue here. The refrain, “We adore You O Christ and we praise You, Because by Your holy cross You have saved the world” had been simplified and there is no genuflection. The stations themselves are not the traditional 14 sites; instead they begin at the entrance to the church with #1 being Jesus Prays in the Garden, continue to the middle of the main aisle and reach the foot of the altar at station #3. Finally, at station #4 the priest goes to the first station on the wall to say that and the next couple of stations. Veronica’s veil, the meeting with Mary, Jesus falling three times have gone by the wayside. In fact, Mary doesn’t come in until one of the final stations when she is given into the care of John. When we came out of church my husband said, “Now I remember why we missed some Fridays last year. I won’t come here again.” (Our Friday Lenten schedule has been determined by the stations for 45 years). He’s going to check the other churches in our area to see what text they use.

  8. Geoffrey says:

    You can find a prayerbook of the Way of the Cross (Via Crucis) in Latin and English, using St. Alphonsus de Liguori’s meditations and prayers here…

  9. Peggy R says:

    I use St. Alphonsus Liguori’s version as well. I wish I recalled what my old NoVa parish used. That had scripture texts and was quite good also.

    Our sappy clappy parish uses something very juvenile with the school kids during the afternoon. We did not have a problem with the unvarnished Truth and focus on Jesus’ physical suffering when I was a kid in the 70s. But I digress. The older grade schoolers have occasionally gotten off the web teen versions in which we prayed for AIDs victims, worried about the environment…Ugh! Not adequately about our sins and Jesus’ suffering for them.

    I went to stations one evening and they used something very theologically weak as well. Post V2 of course.

    I go before the school stations or I might do it at home with the kiddies using Alphonsus. We’ve gone to another parish after their fish fry. They used the same book that my NoVa parish used! The pastor also had exposition and benediction following. Very nice!

  10. tioedong says:

    Last year, our parish replaced the Stations of the cross on the church wall with the JP2 version of the stations.
    But alas haven’t attended the service so can’t tell you which prayers are used.

  11. An American Mother says:

    Lee, we sing the T.L. Victoria setting of the Reproaches every year. We can’t handle the double choir setting, not enough singers, but the style and treatment is much the same as in this recording from St. Thomas 5th Avenue:

    I apologize for the venue! but they do have one of the best choirs in the U.S.

    Awful recording quality, must have been somebody with a handheld recorder and a speech mike with the gain turned all the way up, somewhere in the back of the nave (they did correct the gain about halfway through). But the beauty shines through regardless.

  12. Dr. Eric says:

    “With regard to the number of Stations it is not at all easy to determine how this came to be fixed at fourteen, for it seems to have varied considerably at different times and places. And,naturally, with varying numbers the incidents of the Passion commemorated also varied greatly. Wey’s account, written in the middle of the fifteenth century, gives fourteen, but only five of these correspond with ours, and of the others, seven are only remotely connected with our Via Crucis…When Romanet Boffin visited Jerusalem in 1515 for the purpose of obtaining correct details for his set of Stations at Romans, two friars there told him that there ought to be thirty-one in all, but in the manuals of devotion subsequently issued for the use of those visiting these Stations they are given variously as nineteen, twenty-five, and thirty-seven, so it seems that even in the same place the number was not determined very definitely…published in 1584, gives twelve Stations which correspond exactly with the first twelve of ours, and this fact is thought by some to point conclusively to the origin of the particular selection afterwards authorized by the Church, especially as this book had a wide circulation and was translated into several European languages. Whether this is so or not we cannot say for certain. At any rate, during the sixteenth century, a number of devotional manuals, giving prayers for use when making the Stations, were published in the Low Countries, and some of our fourteen appear in them for the first time. But whilst this was being done in Europe for the benefit of those who could not visit the Holy Land and yet could reach Louvain, Nuremburg, Romans, or one of the other reproductions of the Via Dolorosa, it appears doubtful whether, even up to the end of the sixteenth century, there was any settled form of the devotion performed publicly in Jerusalem…”

    I really don’t know what all the fuss is about if a church wants to use the 15 stations that Ven. John Paul II created. The stations were never fixed and were very fluid in number and content up until about 300 years ago. They are a devotion, not on par with Scripture, and not the Holy Mass.

  13. Dr. Eric says:

    Having written what I have written I personally like the version that Lee posted above at 2:52 pm on 19 Feb. How would I find that one? It has the Reproaches that are from the Liturgy of Good Friday.

  14. We did Mary’s Way of the Cross tonight.

  15. worm says:

    We use the traditional version by St. Alphonsus de Liguori at my parish.

  16. Cath says:

    We do not have Stations of the Cross at my parish at all. We have a fish fry and father says that is our penance. Not exactly sure what that means and what one has to do with the other. So, I left the fish fry early so I could attend Stations with Mass following at another parish.

  17. Cath says:

    Oh, and I prefer St. Alphonsus Liguori’s version. I have fr. Z’s on my phone and listen to it in the car

  18. Lee says:

    Dr. Eric- It is available from Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN.

    Their catalog says,
    Biblical and liturgical texts make up this booklet, illustrated with woodcuts by Clemens Schmidt. Used at home and in the parish assembly, this publication has been a favorite for decades.
    ISBN: 978-0-8146-0664-3
    Price: $1.30

    You can find it here: of the Cross&q3.x=5&q3.y=3&Page=1

  19. DetJohn says:

    The local Roman parish near my home does not have Stations of the Cross. Instead they have something called Reflections. Non-relegious photos are flashed on a sancatuary wall (winding country road etc.) and a poem read by a lay person. After the reflections the pastor came into the nave and spoke individualy with those there. I asked the priest What happened to the Stations of the Cross service? He told me that it was felt the the Reflections were more appropriate. He did say that I was welcome to make the way of the cross on my own.

    As there is no Traditional Roman Parish anywhere close to my home in Los Angeles , I find my self attending St. Jude Marionite Rite Parish in West Covina, Ca.
    The Maronites use the Ligourian Stations of the Cross. At this parish the priest and deacon lead the way of the cross. What is diffrent is that after saying We adore You O Christ and we bless You. In lieu of genuflecting the priest and deacon kneel at the base of the particular station and remain kneeling until the end prayer of the station. The congregation kneels the whole time for each station.

    After the Stations, there is an adoration of the Cross ( about 2 1/2 feet tall ) after a prolonge time of holding the cross toward the faithful and incensenceing by the deacon, Father blesses the faithful with the crucifix.

    The Chaldeans have their own form of the Stations of the Cross. They use the Ligourian opening followed by an appropriate Scripture reading, a Reflection, a Liturgical hymn, an Our Father, Hail Mary an a Glory be.

    This is from the Chaldean Diocese of St. Peter in San Diego, Ca There website The Prayers and recitations for the entire Way of the Cross is posted. I found it intresting to read. I have not attended a Chaldean Stations of the Cross.

    The Byzantin Catholic Rites do not have Stations of the Cross.

  20. Kent says:

    We use the St. Alphonsus Ligouri Stations of the Cross with powerpoint visual aids based on Mel Gibson’s the Passion of Christ. Our church has no wall-hung permanent stations; that being partly the reason for the powerpoint. We have several other slide sets of visual aids including slides of a neighboring church’s hung stations and a set of slides of religious art images. We also use an adaptation of John Paul II’s Stations of the Cross for an alternate text.

  21. Dr. Eric says:

    Thank you, Lee. :-)

  22. St. Alphonsus Liguori’s version is used in the parishes that I attend.

    However, I use the Franciscan version of the Stations for my own private use. You can find the booklet on the TAN website.

  23. The last time I went to Stations, I walked right back out again. They had something called “Peace Stations of the Cross.” It is the product of an outfit allegedly dedicated to Catholic education and is pure rotgut: nothing but left wing ideology with a thin veneer of Catholic devotion. It’s not even well written. Each “station” ends with the following: “We adore you O Christ, and we bless you. By the power of your holy cross, help us to change the world.”

    I like the Stations by St. Alphonsus Liguori. No rotgut, no politics, no inclusive language. Just unalloyed Catholic devotion.

  24. Melania says:

    Thank you. I appreciate you providing this.

  25. Serviam1 says:

    We use St. Alphonsus Liguori’s ‘Via Crucis’ conducted by a priest with a Cross Bearer and two torch (candle) bearers at Mary Immaculate of Lourdes in Newton Upper Falls, Massachusetts (

    I also like St. Jose Maria Escriva’s ‘Via Crucis’. We used this at my annual Men’s Lenten Retreat at Arnold Hall Conference Center (Opus Dei-, in Pembroke (MA), last weekend.

  26. JoyfulMom7 says:

    My church uses the beautiful devotional by St. Alphonsus Liguori.

  27. wolfeken says:

    I only attend the Saint Alphonsus stations — and have been delighted that several parishes have moved away from the Vatican II stations (and its “extra” station of the resurrection) and re-instituted what has worked for many years.

    One day, though, I would love to make the Saint Alphonsus stations in Latin!

  28. Girgadis says:

    Our parish uses the St. Alphosus Liguori Stations of the Cross followed by Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament and confessions.

  29. Serviam1 says:

    BTW, we also sing (chant) the Stabat Mater between the ‘Stations’ at Mary Immaculate in Newton, MA. We typically follow up (after Stations) with Benediction. These were our former practices at Holy Trinity (German) Church in Boston’s South End before parish suppression and the Indult move to Newton in April ’07.

    Does anyone else have similar practices elsewhere?

  30. Huxtaby says:


    Since you have reposted the Podcast on the Holy Father’s Via Crucis it goes dead after 17mins. Anyone else have a problem?

  31. avecrux says:

    Thank you so much for posting these podcasts, Father. I have had sick children two Fridays in a row and have not been able to make it to the Stations at our parish.

  32. BenB says:

    The one I use for personal use is The Way of the Cross for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, available here

    I have yet to see it used in a parish setting, but it would fit well for Lent or for devotions to the Holy Souls, particularly in the month of November. I too am fond of St. Alphonsus’ version as well.

  33. kiwitrad says:

    Our church has the Stations of the Cross on the walls but keeps them well hidden. I went looking for them with another parishioner and found them in the “day chapel” a small room behind the altar. Each station is the size of a post card and is in bronze. In front of them are 4 rows of pews and various pillars so it’s impossible to get near them and actually SEE them. The only way you can know which station is which is by the number underneath.

    We did pray the stations but it was a very uncomfortable and frustrating. I’ll be going to another church next time I want to say them. There are no group stations of the cross in any church in our city

  34. Someone said the Via Crucis by Joseph Ratzinger cuts off at 17 minutes or so. I have not been able to reproduce that. Anyone else have a problem?

  35. kat says:

    Our parish has Stations every Friday at 7 pm in Lent. We use the St. Alphonsus booklets. I really like them.

  36. frjim4321 says:

    We use the scriptural stations as did Pope John Paul II. We can still use the stations on the walls because they are simple crosses with roman numerals. The assembly seems to like them because they are based on the bible and not on extrabiblical legends. The stations here were erected by a fransican and there is a parchmont certificiate to that effect in the sacristy. I guess at one time all stations were supposed to be installed by a fransican, but that was before I was ordained. I think techinically what is needed is a cross; the artistic representation of a particular event is not required (or at least not the most important part). The school children seem to like the scriptural stations, and it is probably better pedagogy for the children to use scriptual rather than ledgend-based stations. Oh, we did not do stations with the children today because we did the lenten penance service with visiting priests for individual confession and absolution. Fr. Jim.

  37. canon1753 says:

    Ones I’ve used in a parish setting: The Ligouri stations, stations from Mary’s perspective (by an SSE), Scriptural stations and preached stations. I personally like Bl. Columba Marmion’s Stations from Christ in his Mysteries.

  38. Kaneohe says:

    We have been using Pope Benedict’s 2005 Way of the Cross. Everyone in our parish loves this version. It takes us about one hour to pray them. We printed over 100 of the booklets and were soon down to only 50 – people kept taking them home to use and taking them to home-bound friends- we’ve printed more. Every week I hear comments on how moved peole are by the meditations/prayers.

  39. plaf26 says:

    Here at St. Charles in Mpls., we pretty much alternate between St. Alphonsus and the Lit. Press Stations. I remember when we started using the first edition of the Lit. Press Stations in my home parish in the ’50’s. I would like to see “Stations of the Cross for Children by a Religious of the Cenacle” (Paulist Press, 1936) made available again. We used those in the afternoon at my home parish in the ’50’s.

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