Praying The Stations Of The Cross With Young Kids

 

How we started out.

A few years ago, I decided to start a new family tradition: praying the Stations of the Cross as a family on Good Friday. Attending the Triduum services already made for a busy weekend, including late nights on Holy Thursday and Holy Saturday, plus skipping afternoon naps on Good Friday. It was just a bit much for us to also get out of the house for Stations of the Cross on Good Friday morning. So we started doing it (literally) “in house”.

I had come across the idea of making stations to put on the wall for this and seen some photos of lovely looking home made ones online (including Emily’s ones from the YCM Lenten Calendar). But I had no time! So I found some nice black and white images, printed them off on regular paper, we blue tacked these down our hallway and off we went. It wasn’t particularly classy, but it got us praying!

I think the Stations of the Cross can work really well for young kids. They don’t have to sit still and get to keep moving physically, between moving to the next station and genuflecting, there are pictures to look at, it tells a story and there are short repetitive prayers they can join in with.

Since we started a few years ago, we’ve gradually refined things and I’m mostly happy with how it’s working for us. Our black and white images are now mounted on black card and this year we have been praying the Stations each Friday during Lent.

The first lot of stations in our current house. They head around the corner, out the door and into the loungeroom.

 

The most important tweak we’ve made, after much googling, has been settling on using these prayers and reflections. For each station they are brief and succinct, so the kids don’t lose focus and we can physically move to the next station before too long. I simplify some of the language a little as I go, but mostly use it as is. We found doing the traditional Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be at each station to be too long for the kids, but doing just the Our Father, as this one prescribes, has worked fine.

So our Stations now look like this:

We open with the Sign of the Cross followed by this short prayer:

O Jesus, who for love of me
Didst bear thy cross to Calvary
In thy sweet mercy grant to me
To suffer and to die with thee.

We then start with the first station. For each station:

(Genuflect)
V. We adore thee O Christ and we bless thee.
R. For by thy holy cross, thou hast redeemed the world.

Short meditation by St. Alphonsus Ligouri.

Short prayer relating to the station by the Franciscan Fathers.

Our Father…

V. Jesus Christ, crucified.
R. Have mercy on us.

Chant one verse of the Stabat Mater and move to the next station.

After the last station, we offer an Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be for the Holy Father before closing with the same prayer we opened with.

My 5 year old and 2½ year old have gone quite well with this format. I blue tack the images low enough for them to see and they like to get up close to look at each one. They join in genuflecting and my 5 year old has memorised the short responses. My 2½ year old is naturally more fidgety. I allow her to move around as long as she stays roughly with us (ie. doesn’t slink off round the corner) or if she keeps leaving the room, I get her to hold my hand for a few stations. They also enjoy pulling the stations down from the walls when we’re done! 

It has been rewarding to add this prayer time to our Lent this year and foster a family faith tradition. And maybe one year, I will get around to sprucing up our images of the Stations!

 

Have you prayed the Stations of the Cross at home with your family? How have you found it? What strategies have you found worked for keeping your young children engaged in it?

 

 

Filed Under: ChildrenFaithFeaturedPrayers & Devotions

About the Author: In yesteryear, I studied and taught music and was involved in youth ministry. Now I am a wife and a home educating mum, with kids aged 6, 4 and 1. I also like to read, knit and sink my vocal chords into chant and polyphony. Through it all, I am striving to battle the busyness to come closer to the Lord. For anything of value I write here, to God be the glory.

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