As we find ourselves in this season of Lent, we invite you to embark with us on a prayerful journey along the Via Dolorosa, the route Jesus carried his cross after being condemned to death on Golgotha by Pontius Pilate. The Via Dolorosa begins at the Roman fortress, the Antonia, and ends at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where Jesus was crucified and eventually rose from the dead.
Each Friday for centuries, Franciscan friars, as well as millions of pilgrims from around the world, have been making their Way of the Cross. Many have prayed and walked along this sorrowful route. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless You; because by Your cross, You have redeemed the world.
1st Station: Jesus is Condemned to Death
Here, Christ was condemned to death. Pontius Pilate had Jesus flogged, then handed over to be crucified. With God’s help, may we overcome the temptations that we suffer because of our sins. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
2nd Station: Jesus Carries His Cross
Here, Jesus carries the cross. The soldiers took charge, making Jesus carry His own cross to Golgotha. Without You, our mortal weakness is incapable of anything. Grant us the help of your grace, that in fulfilling your commandments, we may please you in both mind and body. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
3rd Station: Jesus Falls the First Time
Here, Jesus falls the first time. He bore our sufferings and carried our sorrows to the cross. O Mighty and everlasting God, you have revealed your glory to all nations. God, the works of your mercy, that your church spread over the world, may with constant faith, persevere in the confession of your name. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
4th Station: Jesus Meets His Mother
Here, Jesus meets His mother. According to the prophesy of Simeon, a deep sorrow pierced the soul of Mary, Virgin and Mother. O God, mercifully grant we who call to mind with veneration her sorrows, that we may obtain the fruit of your passion, who lives and reigns forever. Amen.
5th Station: Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus Carry His Cross
Here, the Cyrenian helps Jesus carry the cross. As Jesus was led away, Simon from Cyrene was on his way in from the country. They placed the cross on Simon to carry it behind Jesus. O Lord, when the world was growing cold, in order to inflame our hearts with the fire of your love, You renewed the sacred marks of your passion on the body of blessed Francis. Mercifully grant, that by his merits and prayers, we may always bear our cross and bring forth fruits worthy of penance. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
6th Station: Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus
Here, Veronica wipes the face of Jesus. A man of sorrows and familiar with sufferings, He was despised, and we took no account of Him. O God, to those who go astray, you display your light of truth that they may return into the way of righteousness. That all who profess to be a Christian will avoid the things contrary to that name. And, to follow those things that are pleasing to you. Amen.
7th Station: Jesus Falls the Second Time
Here, Jesus falls the second time. He was pierced through our faults, crushed for our sins. On Him lies a punishment that brings us peace, and through His wounds we are healed. O Mighty and eternal God, you have shown your glory to all nations through Christ your Son. Guide the work of your church, help it to preserve in faith and proclaim your name and bring your salvation to people everywhere. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
8th Station: Jesus Meets the women of Jerusalem
Here, Jesus meets the holy women of Jerusalem. A large number of people followed Him, including women who mourned and wailed for Him. He spoke, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, weep for yourselves and your children.” O Mighty God, long ago you promised Abraham and his posterity, listen to Your church as we pray, that the people you first made your own may arrive at the fulness of redemption. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
9th Station: Jesus Falls a Third Time
Here, Jesus falls a third time. We have all gone astray like sheep, each going our own way. Yahweh burdened Him with the sins of all of us. Bring to life O Lord, the spirit of piety in your church and its vigor, so we may generate worthy ministers of your alter and staunch promoters of your word. Amen.
10th Station: Jesus’ Clothes are Taken Away
Here, Jesus is stripped of His garments. They took His clothes, dividing them into four shares, with just an undergarment remaining. O Mighty God, you keep those together who have united. Look kindly on those who follow Jesus, your Son. We are all consecrated to you by our common baptism. Make us one in the fullness of faith, and keep us one in the fellowship of love. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
11th Station: Jesus is Nailed to the Cross
Here, Jesus is nailed to the cross. They offered Him wine mixed with myrrh, but He did not drink. Then, they crucified him. O Mighty and everlasting God, you appointed your only begotten Son to be the Redeemer of the World. You willed to be at peace by His blood. We beseech you, that we may so venerate the price of our redemption; and by its power be defended from the evils of this present earthly life. That we may enjoy its fruits forever in heaven. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
12th Station: Jesus Dies on the Cross
Here, Jesus dies on the cross. From the sixth hour to the ninth hour, the sun stopped shining. The curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus cried out, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” Then, He breathed his last breath. We feed on the body and blood of Jesus Christ our Lord, by whom the banner of the Holy Cross was sanctified. Since we are able to venerate that same holy sign, it may be ours to enjoy forever, the effects of its saving glory. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
13th Station: The Body of Jesus is Taken Down From the Cross
Here, Jesus is taken down from the cross. Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. O Lord Jesus Christ, we offer you our prayers and sacrificial gifts. May we, who commemorate the piercing of the soul of Blessed Mary, your mother, share the reward of the saints through her loving and constant intercession. May the prayers of those who stood with her beside the cross be filled with grace and your blessing. This we ask through Christ, our Lord.
14th Station: Jesus is Laid in the Tomb
Here, Jesus is laid in the tomb. Taking Jesus’ body, they wrapped it with spices and strips of linen, in accordance with Jewish burial customs. At the place where He was crucified, there was a garden with a new tomb, where no one had been laid. There, they placed the body of Jesus. Send down your abundant blessing Lord, upon your people, who have devotedly recalled the death of your Son in the sure hope of resurrection. Grant them pardon, bring them comfort and may their faith grow stronger and their eternal salvation be assured. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
We hope this prayer journey along the Via Dolorosa is a great reminder of the sufferings that our Lord endured for our transgressions and sins. As He suffered for us by carrying His cross, let us learn to offer up our own suffering and pain, so as to unite them with His. As Christ told us, “He who wishes to be a follower of mine, must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.”
During this Lenten season, we pray that our Lord will touch your hearts, minds and souls to die to sin and become alive in Jesus. We ask your prayers and assistance for the suffering Christians in the Holy Land. May God bless and keep you.