Last Friday I posted a Stations of the Cross for Children. That’s the “what” of doing stations. I also want to address the “how” and the “why”. Today, a bit on the “how.”
You really can’t do the Stations without stations. Traditionally, there are 14 stations, each representing a step on the road to Calvary: Jesus Falls the First Time, Jesus is Stripped, Jesus is taken down from the Cross. When praying with children, I like to include a 15th station: Jesus Rises from the Dead. It’s nice to end on a definitively optimistic note (grown ups can handle an implied hope). Your “stations” or stops can be as simple as the number, but children really need something more vivid.
I have these prints, which Bill says he had in his classroom when he went to Catholic school way back when. They are colorful, and not too violently graphic. A friend of mine has the same ones, and she has them on the walls of her home year round. I prop mine on chairs on Friday evenings.
Buying a set of stations is nice, but this is also a wonderful opportunity for your children to be creative. My old homeschool group does a stations one Friday every Lent and families pick a station for which they are responsible. Last year, the stations were dioramas with various mediums. LEGOs were popular. Dolls. Clay models. Some were quite large. Several years ago, I used shoe boxes (post new Easter shoe shopping) and had the kids make shadow box dioramas.
This year, I think that homeschool group is doing “live” stations. The students will dress up for the different scenes. The youth group at another parish I belonged to did that for the community stations as well. It’s very nice, and definitely keeps the attention of even young children. Of course, that’s not very practical for a single family.
Two-dimension art is excellent too. Iconography is meant to be done prayerfully. My children enjoy drawing their own stations while listening to Gregorian chant. I enjoy the hour of peace and quiet. I planned to upload a few of the drawings my children have done, but my scanner refuses to cooperate. As soon as I get that fixed, I will update this page.
Whether you have the children create their own 2D or 3D stations or have them act them out, they can not help but think about the sufferings of Christ. And if you use their dioramas or drawings as you pray them in your home, they will have a sense of ownership that will connect them more closely to the meditation.
I really enjoy doing live stations with the middle school students, but I never thought of doing dioramas. I love that idea. (Did I just spell that wrong?)
I'll bet they would love it too.
My mother in law and I have been making coloring pages for years, mostly of saints and mysteries of the Rosary. We both work for the church (I do very limited part-time work from home and she is the coordinator of religious education) and we've been putting the coloring pages on our church's website. This year we decided to do the Stations of the Cross. I just put the first few online yesterday and I am working on more. My three year old is coloring the 13th Station at this moment. She loves these pages even though they are advanced to appeal to older kids.
I wanted this to be a way for kids to get involved with the Stations of the Cross, but it has really been beneficial to me as well. I started with the 13th Station and was overwhelmed by how difficult it was. I've been doing coloring pages for years but never have I had to replicate the look of utter sorrow on Our Lady's face as she held her Son in her arms. It is definitely a labor of love to do these, and it is hard not to be in almost constant prayer while creating them. It's given me a new understanding and respect for what Christ went through during His Passion.
There are only three so far, but here is what we have done. Scroll down to the purple part (or click on “Free Stations of the Cross Coloring Pages” at the top of the page).
Amanda, the pictures are great. Thanks for the link.