The Way of the Cross is a prayer as old as the Church herself. Tradition holds that the Blessed Mother would go through the streets every year on the anniversary of Good Friday, pausing along the way to meditate on what happened during the Passion.
As time went on pilgrimages continued and stopped as the Holy Land became more and less dangerous to travel to. It wasn’t until the 1300’s that the Franciscan order was allowed access to the sites.
In 1731 the particular 14 in this order were clarified, and Pope Clement XII allowed all churches to display and venerate the stations at home, if you will, instead of only in Jerusalem. The stations chaplet was approved for the Vincentian order in the 1800’s.
There are many versions for the 6 opening beads of the Stations Chaplet that include the Apostle’s Creed, Act of Contrition, Prayer to Jesus Crucified, Eternal Rest prayer, Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be, which you might note is 7 prayers total. I don’t know when it got complicated, but this is the simple version that I first learned.
You can, of course, use any Way of the Cross pamphlet prayers as you pray with these beads. The chaplet itself is a way to mark the time spent meditating on the station, to keep your mind moving at a measured pace, not too fast or slow.
I’ve included an instruction pamphlet with each chaplet.
HOW TO PRAY
Begin at the crucifix and make the Sign of the Cross and pray the Apostle’s Creed.
On each of the next 6 beads pray an Act of Contrition, either the one you know or the one below:
O my God, my Redeemer, behold me here at Thy feet. From the bottom of my heart I am sorry for all my sins, because by them I have offended Thee, Who art infinitely good. I will die rather than offend thee again.
On each station’s medal, announce the station and pray “We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You because by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world”.
Then pray an Our Father, a Hail Mary, and a
Glory Be on the beads, meditating on the station.
At the end of all the stations pray the 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 fallow in your steps and so come to share in Your glory in Heaven where You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, on God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The First Station: Jesus is condemned to die.
The Second Station: Jesus takes up His cross.
The Third Station: Jesus falls the first time.
The Fourth Station: Jesus meets His Mother.
The Fifth Station: Simon helps Jesus carry His cross.
The Sixth Station: Veronica wipes Jesus’ face.
The Seventh Station: Jesus falls the second time.
The Eighth Station: Jesus meets the crying women of Jerusalem.
The Ninth Station: Jesus falls the third time.
The Tenth Station: Jesus is stripped of His clothing.
The Eleventh Station: Jesus is nailed to the cross.
The Twelfth Station: Jesus dies on the cross.
The Thirteenth Station: The body of Jesus is taken down from the cross.
The Fourteenth Station: The body of Jesus is laid in the tomb.
The Fifteenth Station: The Resurrection.