Some images from Friday’s night’s Stations of the Cross, courtesy parishioner and friend Regina Faighes.
My parish does “The Way of the Cross with Mary“ by Richard Furey—a stirring and deeply human interpretation, which follows the traditional stations, but seen through the eyes of the Blessed Mother. (You can order copies here.)
Every stop includes a first person meditation by Mary (at our parish, read by my wife, Siobhain) along with a prayer read aloud by the congregation. Between each station, we sing the “Stabat Mater” (“At the Cross, Her Station Keeping”). The evening concludes with Benediction.
Adding a sense of solemnity: a dozen or more altar servers, who process with me from station to station, carrying the cross and torches.
We’ve been doing this for about 10 years now; we typically get about 200 people on a Friday night (many, not insignificantly, parents of the altar servers), and the crowd usually grows week by week.
It was early Friday morning when I saw my son. That was the first glimpse I had of him since they took him away. His bruised and bleeding skin sent a sword of pain deep into my heart and tears down my cheeks. Then Pilate, from his chair of judgment, asked the crowd why they wanted my son executed. All around me they shouted, “Crucify him!” I wanted to plead with them to stop, but I knew this had to be. So I stood by and cried silently.
Lord Jesus, it is hard for me to imagine the anguish your mother felt at your condemnation. But what about today, when I hold a grudge …? “Crucify him!” When I judge others…? “Crucify him!” Doesn’t this bring tears of anguish to both you and your mother? Forgive me, Jesus
I followed close behind my son as he stumbled toward Calvary. Nothing had ever hurt me more than to see him in such pain. I saw the cross digging into his shoulders. My heart dropped when I saw him fall face to the ground, the heavy cross landing squarely on his back. For a moment I thought my beloved son was dead. Now my whole body began to tremble. Then the guards kicked him. He rose slowly and began to walk again, yet they still whipped him. I wanted to protect him with my own body. But, I knew this had to be, so I walked on and wept silently.
Lord, how often have I seen you fall, and , unlike Mary, have left you there without concern? How often have I seen people make mistakes and laughed at them? How often do I find myself getting angry when someone does things differently than I? Mary offered you her support through your entire passion. Help me to do the same for you by the support I give to others. Lord, have mercy on me.
The crowd had gone; the noise had stopped. I stood quietly with one of Jesus’ friends and looked up at the dead body of our savior, my son. Then two men took the body from the cross and placed it in my arms. A deep sorrow engulfed my being. Yet, I also felt deep joy. Life had ended cruelly for my son, but it had also brought life to all of us. I knew this had to be, and I prayed silently.
Lord, your passion has ended. Yet, it still goes on whenever I choose sin over you. I have done my part in your crucifixion and now, my savior, I beg your forgiveness with all my heart. Help me to live a life worthy of you and your mother.