Immerse your kids in Christ’s Passion by praying the Stations of the Cross with them. Here’s how . . . plus a Stations of the Cross for Children printable PDF and PowerPoint file.
Get The Stations of the Cross for Children
as a printable PDF and a PowerPoint file
Since the earliest centuries of the Church, Christians have made pilgrimages to Jerusalem in order to retrace the steps of Jesus during his suffering and death (the Via Dolorosa or “Way of Sorrow”). Around the fifteenth century, Christians began the practice of prayerfully meditating on the Passion of Christ by reproducing that pilgrimage in miniature in what eventually became known as the Stations of the Cross.
Why meditate on Jesus’ suffering? Most people want to avoid suffering, not spend time imagining it! But suffering is a reality that everyone has to deal with in life. In Jesus, God entered into our suffering in order to save us. By walking with Jesus, we join our suffering to his, knowing that he will lead us through it into the new life of the Resurrection.
Today, there are fourteen stations, each of which represents an event during Christ’s Passion. Besides the traditional Stations, Pope John Paul II introduced a form of the Stations more closely linked to events recorded in the Scriptures; this form of the Stations is known as the Scriptural Stations of the Cross. Also, the bishops of the Philippines recently introduced a “new” set of stations that turns out to be perfectly suited for younger children who may just be learning the story of Holy Week. Both versions are presented below.
Here are some ways to pray the Stations of the Cross with your family:
1. Find a public service. Join a public meditation on the Stations of the Cross at a local parish or retreat center; these are most common during Lent and other penitential times.
2. Pray the Stations as a family at your parish. Most Catholic parishes have the Stations of the Cross depicted in pictures or bas relief on the side walls of the nave, or sometimes on the grounds outdoors. Pick a quiet time to visit the church to say the Stations there.
3. Find the guide that fits your family. For a richer experience of the Stations of the Cross, find a meditation guide to deepen your prayer and reflection. Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers contains one such guide, but there are literally hundreds in circulation. You can find them at your parish, a bookstore, or online (go to pbhrace.com for links). If you have young children, look for a Stations of the Cross geared toward their age.
4. Say the Stations of the Cross at home. If you do the Stations of the Cross at home, hang pictures representing each station around the house, making your own “Way of the Cross.” The pictures can be printed out (search online for images tagged “Stations of the Cross”), or you can have your older children draw them.
- See Preparing for a Hands-On Lent for a great way to do the Stations of the Cross using candles.
- Get The Stations of the Cross for Children as a printable PDF and a PowerPoint file
The Scriptural Stations of the Cross
In 1991, Pope John Paul II introduced a form of the Stations of the Cross more closely linked to events recorded in the Scriptures. You can use the following outline of the stations to meditate on the Passion, or use one of the many resources available online (search for “Scriptural Stations of the Cross”) or at your parish.
One: Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane
Read Matthew 26:36-41
Two: Jesus, Betrayed by Judas, is Arrested
Read Mark 14: 43-46
Three: Jesus is Condemned by the Sanhedrin
Read Luke 22: 66-71
Four: Jesus is Denied by Peter
Read Matthew 26: 69-75
Five: Jesus is Judged by Pilate
Read Mark 15: 1-5, 15
Six: Jesus is Scourged and Crowned with Thorns
Read John 19: 1-3
Seven: Jesus Bears the Cross
Read John 19: 6, 15-17
Eight: Jesus is Helped by Simon to Carry the Cross
Read Mark 15: 21
Nine: Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem
Luke 23: 27-31
Ten: Jesus is Crucified
Read Luke 23: 33-34
Eleven: Jesus Promises His Kingdom to the Good Thief
Read Luke 23: 39-43
Twelve: Jesus Speaks to His Mother and the Disciple
Read John 19: 25-27
Thirteen: Jesus Dies on the Cross
Read Luke 23: 44-46
Fourteen: Jesus is Placed in the Tomb
Read Matthew 27: 57-60
The ‘New’ Stations of the Cross from the Philippines
A third form of the Stations of the Cross was recently introduced by the Catholic bishops in the Philippines. This form of the stations is especially well-suited to children who are just learning the story of Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection.
- The Last Supper
- The Agony in Gethsemane
- Jesus is Condemned to Death
- Jesus is Scourged and Crowned with Thorns
- Jesus Carries the Cross
- Jesus Falls under the Weight of the Cross
- Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus Carry the Cross
- Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem
- Jesus Is Nailed to the Cross
- The Good Thief
- Mary and John at the Foot of the Cross
- Jesus Dies on the Cross
- Jesus is Laid in the Tomb
- Jesus Rises from Death
The Stations of the Cross for Children, available from Gracewatch Media as a PDF download and a PowerPoint file, uses this form of the devotion.
- Stations of the Cross at the USCCB: A brief explanation, and several options for praying the stations, including an audio version.