Last night the community led the parish in the celebration of Stations of the Cross. In talking with the pastoral staff here at the parish about preparations for Lent we were told that they have never really done Stations on a regular basis. On Good Friday they have a ceremony called “Prayer around the Cross” which includes elements of the Stations, but we felt that having a more regular celebration of the way of the Cross would be a nice addition for this Lenten season. We decided to go as simple as we could so that the congregation could engage in the prayer slowly. Carolyn knew of a setting of the Stations which she brought from her time as an undergrad in Kansas and this formed the basis of our prayer last night.
I put together the order of prayer using Carolyn’s version (“Everyone’s Way of the Cross” by Clarence Enzler) and a version that we found from Liturgical Press called “All of You Drink of This” which is an adaptation of an old Latin version of the way of the Cross. “Everyone’s Way” is set out in the form of a dialogue, with the first part being written from the point of view of Christ as He walks the way of the Cross. In the “Christ” section we are called to understand a lesson based on each station; in the first station this takes the form of Jesus submitting to the legal rule of Pilate out of obedience to the earthly power he holds and thus our lesson that we too must submit to those who are legally placed in authority over us. The second reading is from our point of view and responds to Christ’s challenge by accepting the lesson we have been taught and asking for Jesus’ help in fulfilling that challenge. From the “Drink of This” version I pulled closing prayers for each station which summed up the lesson and asked God to give us the strength to persevere in our way.
Here in Clonard the Stations are stained glass windows which line the back of the church, thus making it hard for people to focus on the station if they are seated. To fix this we projected pictures of each window onto the wall at the front of the church, along with verses to the Stabat Mater which we sung after every other station. In my head I tried to make our celebration a simpler version of the celebration at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, which I found very edifying during my time at Notre Dame. Although the congregation was considerably smaller, and the singing was considerably less, I got the sense throughout the service that everyone was being drawn into the journey. For the first time in a long time I was able to personally sink into the prayer that is the Stations of the Cross and all around me I could feel that prayer coming from the congregation. Following the service it was great to hear from some of the parishioners that they had enjoyed the service and had felt a real connection to the Way of the Cross. We will be continuing these Stations services every Monday of Lent at 7pm and I hope that through this prayer we can help the people of Clonard join more fully in the march to Calvary and beyond to the Resurrection.
This we ask of you through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.