When people as early as the 4th century began to make pilgrimages to the Holy Land from Europe and Asia, they wanted to walk the route Jesus took from the place of his death sentence by Pilate to the place of his crucifixion and burial. This walk became known as the Via Dolorosa or Way of Sorrows. At each stop along the way, pilgrims sang hymns, read Scripture, and said prayers.
Stations of the Cross are a way people can experience this journey of tears without traveling to Jerusalem. Many churches have paintings or sculptures of these events or stations on their walls. Over the centuries the number of stations depicting Jesus’s journey to the cross and death has changed.. Fourteen is the common number for many churches now. Each station offers an opportunity to enter into the story, to contemplate, and to pray. Holy Week and especially Good Friday are typical times for praying the Stations of the Cross.
If you are unfamiliar with this practice, you can explore websites with the history of Stations of the Cross. There are thousands. Also look for Images. There are many examples of Stations of the Cross liturgies with prayers and readings. Click here for one example.
Below is a template for you to make your own Stations of the Cross journey with Jesus on paper. Each of the fourteen cloud shapes has a sentence for the station and an empty space with a cross. As you imagine yourself in Jerusalem on this sorrowful walk to the cross, add your own images, doodles, or words. Read. Sing. Think. Pray. Be there.