Our liturgical calendar will soon be changing from Ordinary Time to Lent. We will see changes inside the Church that reflect the new liturgical season. Vestments will change from white and green to violet and the weekly offering of Stations of the Cross becomes available.
There is something very powerful about this time on our liturgical calendar. Maybe it’s just the way I’m wired but I find attending weekly Stations of the Cross to be critically necessary to my earthly journey. Some people find Stations too somber but, for me, they are just what I need to escape the demands and stresses of the world and fully contemplate the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. I love everything about Stations. I love the incense, I love the tradition, and I love hearing us all say, “We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You. Because by Your holy Cross You have redeemed the world.”
I long ago noticed that, while not everyone participates during weekly Mass, everyone participates in Stations. The focus of that walk during the last hours of His life seems to really connect us to our Catholic faith in a rich and deep way. Attending Stations allows me to embrace my own crosses and I would make a presumption that this is the same for many others. We embrace our crosses; we accept His graces in a very special way during Stations of the Cross.
Kathryn Mulderink, OCDS, has captured the beauty of the Stations in two books written for Catholic families, classrooms, and religious education programs. Her first book, Way of the Cross for Children, masterfully captures the walk in a way that will help our children learn of Christ’s love and be encouraged to develop their own relationships with Him. Each of the fourteen stations has its own beautiful illustration by Father Victor KyNam that can be colored by younger children or simply contemplated by older ones. The book also provides space for children to write their own prayers and complete a Scripture exercise.
The following is the Introductory Prayer in Way of the Cross for Children:
Jesus, I love You.
I want to walk with You as You carry the Cross
through the streets of Jerusalem, out of the city gates, and
up the hill where criminals are put to death.
As I walk with You, help me to understand
what You suffered to prove how much You love me
and to bring me to Heaven with You.
you walked along with Your Son, Jesus,
all the way to Calvary.
You know better than anyone how much He suffered
and how much He loves us.
And because of this, you love us too.
I want to walk along with you, praying next to you,
watching Jesus with you.
Help me to follow Him like you.
Kathryn Mulderink’s second Lenten book is titled, Walk New: A Lenten Resource for Teens and Young Adults. Walk New is to teens and young adults what Way of the Cross is for younger Catholics. Beautifully illustrated by Father KyNam, Walk New provides a way in which teens and young adults are called into contemplation by the last few hours of Christ’s life in the section Kathryn has called “Put Yourself There.” Kathryn’s gentle but profound words encourage each reader to embrace the salvation offered at the Cross and become a witness to Christ’s love to the world.
Both of Kathryn’s books are sure to be welcome additions to any Catholic home, school, or religious education program.