What are the Catholic "stations of the cross"?

My friend was talking about going to confession and she said she was going to tell the priest her one confession and ask him not to give her the stations of the cross because she felt bad enough already. What does that mean?

I'm not Catholic (thank God), but I was curious.

10 Answers

  • Midge
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Several different stops are set up depicting points on Jesus' walk to Calvary for crucifixion. Each stop has a meditation and prayers. It is a very good thing to get your mindset in the feel of Lent and Holy week. I remember when Pope John Paul II would go throughout the Coliseum and do this in Rome and it was very moving to see this man who could barely walk shuffle from station to station. I always look at each station (usually depicted with a clay tablet and 3 dimensional picture) and pretend I am there in the crowd.

  • 1 decade ago

    The Stations of the Cross are a beautiful devotion. If you travel to Jerusalem, you can actually walk the Via Dolorosa- the traditional path Jesus followed to Calvary.

    In early Christianity, sinners would make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to follow the way of the cross as a sign of their repentance, but for some it was impossible. So some cities set up their own versions around the town, so people could go from station to station, stopping to recall an event in the Crucifixion.

    eventually, it became a tradition ( St. Francis is credited) for every Catholic Church to havbe the 14 Stations of the Cross within the Church.

    There is still a pilgrimage, of sorts- it just around the inside of the Church. At each Station, you stop, and make a prayerful reflection on the Station. You can find many good examples on line.

    I know there are purists out there who will point out that " we don't know if Jesus fell three times" or "There is no 'Veronica' in the Bible," But most of them are straight out of the Bible.

    The reason your friend wanted to avoid them is because the final Station leaves Jesus in the tomb. Some people add a 15th Station- the Resurrection- but that defeats the ENTIRE purpose of the Staitons.

    The last Station has Jesus in the tomb, because we are supposed to end the devotion feeling sad and empty- like Jesus followers did when they rolled the stone in front of the tomb. we are supposed to be reflecting on WHY Jesus had to go through the most inhumane of tortures- because of our sinfulness.

    Even if you were the only person on Earth, Jesus Christ would have died for you.

    Stations are a really beautiful way to enter into the mystery of Christ's passion. Almost every Catholic Church has Stations on Fridays during Lent. Why not go and see what it is all about. All you need to do is follow along with what everyone else does- there will be papers to read from. I have taken many Protestants to Stations, and they are amazed and find it very moving and enriching!

  • 1 decade ago

    Series of 14 prayers: a Roman Catholic devotion in which a prayer is said before each of the Stations of the Cross

    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, and this has become one of the most popular devotions for Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox (particularly those of the Western Rite).

    The Stations themselves are usually a series of 14 pictures or sculptures depicting the following scenes:

    1. Jesus is condemned to death

    2. Jesus receives the cross

    3. The first fall

    4. Jesus meets His Mother

    5. Simon of Cyrene carries the cross

    6. Veronica wipes Jesus' face with her veil

    7. The second fall

    8. Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem

    9. The third fall

    10. Jesus is stripped of His garments

    11. Crucifixion: Jesus is nailed to the cross

    12. Jesus dies on the cross

    13. Jesus' body removed from the cross (Pieta)

    14. Jeus is laid in the tomb

    Source(s): Wiki. Msn Encarta.
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    the stations of the cross are 14 different stations tht reprsent an image of the day jesus died. For example, jesus falls for the first time, Simon is forced to help jesus, and so on. There is a short paragraph or two about the significance of the picture and a few prayers are said. The stations of the cross are usually said on Fridays in Lent.

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 1 decade ago

    The object of the Stations is to help the faithful to make in spirit, as it were, a pilgrimage to the chief scenes of Christ's sufferings and death, and this has become one of the most popular of Catholic devotions. It is carried out by passing from Station to Station, with certain prayers at each and devout meditation on the various incidents in turn.

  • 1 decade ago

    The Stations of the Cross are a virtual reenactment of Christ's journey to Calvary. A person stops at mini-shrines spaced around the worship area, praying and meditating on the subject of each. It can take a while to perform, on the order of a half hour.

    There are 14 in the standard set, consisting of various events from either the Gospels or pious tradition. From my untrustworthy memory, they are:

    1 Jesus is condemned to death

    2 Jesus takes up his cross

    3 Jesus falls

    4 Jesus meets his mother

    5 Simon helps Jesus carry the cross

    6 Jesus falls a second time

    7 Veronica wipes Jesus' face

    8 Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem

    9 Jesus falls a third time

    10 Jesus is stripped of his garments

    11 Jesus is nailed to the cross

    12 Jesus dies on the cross

    13 Jesus is taken down

    14 Jesus is buried

    Some people add a 15th station, the Resurrection, but it's not "official". You may not have heard of "Veronica" but she's a Catholic tradition.

    The Stations supposedly had their origins in the time of the Crusades, when would-be pilgrims could not risk the expense and danger of a journey to Jerusalem. The Stations were a backup plan, performed at the local church or just in one's head. There were versions with 30 stations and some with just five. Pope John Paul II once proposed a set of Stations that were more "Biblical" but they don't seem to have caught on.

    [edit] Yeah, I know, 8 and 9 are backwards. Fr. K! You cut and pasted! I'm shocked!

  • 1 decade ago


    anyways the stations of the cross are a traditional meditation on the passion of christ at calvary. Since catholics emphasize the passion alot it's a popular form of prayer. It was invented by st. francis of assisi.

  • hobo
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    I am catholic it would take a while to describe it It involves a lot of prayers only the elderly do them now Tell your friend to dump confession lots of catholics dump it too It is a total guilt trip

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Prayers and meditations on the passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Source(s): I'm Catholic (thank God).
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Stations of the Cross

    The following stations of the cross are based on those celebrated by Pope John Paul II on Good Friday 1991. They are presented here as an alternative to the traditional stations1 and as a way of reflecting more deeply on the Scriptural accounts of Christ's passion.

    The presiding minister may be a priest, deacon, or layperson. This minister prays the opening and closing prayers, leads the acclamation, announces the stations, and says the prayer that concludes each station. One or more readers may read the Scriptural reflections. A period of silence should be observed between the Scripture reading and the prayer. A crossbearer accompanied by two candlebearers may stand in front of each station as it is announced. As the cross- and candlebearers move between the stations, all may sing a verse of the Stabat Mater (At the Cross Her Station Keeping - traditional) or an appropriate antiphon, such as Parce Domine (traditional, various settings) or Crucem Tuam (Berthier, GIA),

    Before each station:


    We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.


    Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

    After each station:


    Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.

    Opening Prayer:


    God of power and mercy,

    in love your sent your Son

    that we might be cleansed of sin

    and live with you forever.

    Bless us as we gather to reflect

    on his suffering and death

    that we may learn from his example

    the way we should go.

    We ask this through that same Christ, our Lord.



    First Station: Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane


    Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to feel sorrow and distress. Then he said to them, "My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with me." He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will." When he returned to his disciples he found them asleep. He said to Peter, "So you could not keep watch with me for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

    Matthew 25:36-41



    grant us your strength and wisdom,

    that we may seek to follow your will in all things

    Second Station: Jesus, Betrayed by Judas, is Arrested

    Reader: Then, while [Jesus] was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived, accompanied by a crowd with swords and clubs, who had come from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. His betrayer had arranged a signal with them, saying, "the man I shall kiss is the one; arrest him and lead him away securely." He came and immediately went over to him and said, "Rabbi." And he kissed him. At this they laid hands on him and arrested him.

    Mark 14: 43-46



    grant us the courage of our convictions

    that our lives may faithfully reflect the good news you bring.

    Third Station: Jesus is Condemned by the Sanhedrin

    Reader: When day came the council of elders of the people met, both chief priests and scribes, and they brought him before their Sanhedrin. They said, "If you are the Messiah, tell us," but he replied to them, "If I tell you, you will not believe, and if I question, you will not respond. But from this time on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God." They all asked, "Are you then the Son of God?" He replied to them, "You say that I am." Then they said, "What further need have we for testimony? We have heard it from his own mouth."

    Luke 22: 66-71



    grant us your sense of righteousness

    that we may never cease to work

    to bring about the justice of the kingdom that you promised.

    Fourth Station: Jesus is Denied by Peter

    Reader: Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. One of the maids came over to him and said, "You too were with Jesus the Galilean." But he denied it in front of everyone, saying, "I do not know what you are talking about!" As he went out to the gate, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, "This man was with Jesus the Nazorean." Again he denied it with an oath, "I do not know the man!" A little later the bystanders came over and said to Peter, "Surely you too are one of them; even your speech gives you away." At that he began to curse and to swear, "I do not know the man." And immediately a cock crowed. Then Peter remembered the word that Jesus had spoken: "Before the cock crows you will deny me three times." He went out and began to weep bitterly.

    Matthew 26: 69-75



    grant us the gift of honesty

    that we may not fear to speak the truth even when difficult.

    Fifth Station: Jesus is Judged by Pilate

    Reader: The chief priests with the elders and the scribes, that is, the whole Sanhedrin, held a council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. Pilate questioned him, "Are you the king of the Jews?" He said to him in reply, "You say so." The chief priests accused him of many things. Again Pilate questioned him, "Have you no answer? See how many things they accuse you of." Jesus gave him no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.... Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barrabas... [and] handed [Jesus] over to be crucified.

    Mark 15: 1-5, 15



    grant us discernment

    that we may see as you see, not as the world sees.

    Sixth Station: Jesus is Scourged and Crowned with Thorns


    Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged. And the soldiers wove a crown out of thorns and placed it on his head, and clothed him in a purple cloak, and they came to him and said,"Hail, King of the Jews!" And they struck him repeatedly.

    John 19: 1-3



    grant us patience in times of suffering

    that we may offer our lives as a sacrifice of praise.

    Seventh Station: Jesus Bears the Cross

    Reader: When the chief priests and the guards saw [Jesus] they cried out, "Crucify him, crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Take him yourselves and crucify him. I find no guilt in him." ... They cried out, "Take him away, take him away! Crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your king?" The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar." Then he handed him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, and carrying the cross himself he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha.

    John 19: 6, 15-17



    grant us strength of purpose

    that we may faithfully bear our crosses each day.

    Eighth Station: Jesus is Helped by Simon the Cyrenian to Carry the Cross

    Reader: They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross.

    Mark 15: 21



    grant us willing spirits

    that we may be your instruments on earth.

    Ninth Station: Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem

    Reader: A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him. Jesus turned to them and said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children, for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.' At that time, people will say to the mountains, ‘Fall upon us!' and to the hills, ‘Cover us!' for if these things are done when the wood is green what will happen when it is dry?"

    Luke 23: 27-31



    grant us gentle spirits

    that we may comfort those who mourn.

    Tenth Station: Jesus is Crucified

    Reader: When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him and the criminals there, one on his right, the other on his left. [Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do."]

    Luke 23: 33-34



    grant us merciful hearts

    that we may bring your reconciliation and forgiveness to all.

    Eleventh Station: Jesus Promises His Kingdom to the Good Thief

    Reader: Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us." The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, "Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." He replied to him, "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."

    Luke 23: 39-43



    grant us perseverance

    that we may never stop seeking you.

    Twelfth Station: Jesus Speaks to His Mother and the Disciple

    Reader: Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son." Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother." And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

    John 19: 25-27



    grant us constancy

    that we may be willing to stand by those in need.

    Thirteenth Station: Jesus Dies on the Cross

    Reader: It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse of the sun. Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle. Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit"; and when he had said this he breathed his last.

    Luke 23: 44-46



    grant us trust in you

    that when our time on earth in ended

    our spirits may come to you without delay.

    Fourteenth Station: Jesus is Placed in the Tomb


    When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph, who was himself a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be handed over. Taking the body, Joseph wrapped it [in] clean linen and laid it in his new tomb that he had hewn in the rock. Then he rolled a huge stone across the entrance to the tomb and departed.

    Matthew 27: 57-60



    grant us your compassion

    that we may always provide for those in need.

    Closing Prayer:


    Lord Jesus Christ,

    your passion and death is the sacrifice that unites earth and heaven

    and reconciles all people to you.

    May we who have faithfully reflected on these mysteries

    follow in your steps and so come to share your glory in heaven

    where you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit

    one God, for ever and ever.



Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.