Stations of the Cross by Fr Lovasik S.V.D.
We took a walk around the stations. Under each station was an intriguing box or basket, that the children took great delight in opening, to discover what was inside.
First station. Jesus is condemned to die.
For this station weplaced a bowl of water on the floor beneath the station. We invited the children to dip their hands into the bowl as we read from the above book, and explained Pilate's actions. (In 2009, we had a salt-dough crown -the children all took some thorns and pushed them in to make a crown of thorns for Jesus. Showing how our sins hurt Jesus.)
Second station. Jesus takes up his cross.
Here the children selected a palm cross each to carry around with them.
The third station. Jesus falls the first time.
On the ground, the children came across a small box. Inside was a plaster (band aid) in its paper packaging. One of the small children enjoyed tearing off the wrapper to see what was inside. We explained that Jesus would not have been given a plaster for his injuries.
Jesus meets his mother
Here the children came across a small basket. When they opened it they found assorted colours of rosary (Fr blessed these before we began). They all got to keep a rosary in the colour of their choice. We explained that we can use the prayers of the rosary to meditate on the life of Jesus and "meet" Him that way.
Simon helps Jesus carry His cross.
At this point, the children saw a large but lightweight cross of plywood. After we had meditated on this station, children took it in turns to carry this cross around the rest of the stations. They swapped after each following station, so everyone who wished could have a turn at carrying it.
Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
Here there was a simple cloth. We explained to the children how Jesus's blood,sweat and tears would have been rubbed off.
Jesus falls for the second time.
At this point the box was opened to reveal a bandage. This was visually linking to Jesus's injuries getting worse.
Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem.
This was very moving-even for the adults in attendance. Inside this box was a pipette for ear drops, and a small container of water. While the children were trying to figure out the significance of this, I sucked up some water and placed a few drops into their outstretched hands. These were the tears of the women.
Jesus falls the third time.
Here there was a rope. In the book we used, Jesus is pictured with a rope around his neck that the Roman soldiers are using to drag him upright.
The soldiers tear off Jesus's clothes.
At this station there was a large die, which we used to demonstrate how the soldiers would have cast lots for His clothing.
Jesus is nailed to the cross.
We got hold of 3 huge,nasty looking nails.There was a stunned silence at this point.
Jesus dies on the cross.
Here we quietly laid down our palm crosses, and paused in silence.
Jesus is taken from the cross.
Inspired by the book, which writes,"Thirty-three years before,she gave you to us, a sweet child of Bethlehem. Now we give you back to her torn, bleeding, and dead." We used a baby doll to link to this, and also to remind the children that this is the same Jesus, whose birth we joyfully celebrated earlier in the year.
Jesus is laid in the tomb.
For 2009, we got hold of a spicy-scented soap box. Inside this were some bandages which we used to wrap up the doll in "grave clothes"-a link also to the swaddled babe at Bethlehem. All the children sniffed the spicy scent. This was Myrrh-used to embalm the dead-and of course, one of the three gifts Jesus received at his birth.
We did go on to the resurrection at the end.