Stations of the Cross for the Pandemic

I wrote these Stations of the Cross with the Covid Pandemic in mind, as both a way to pray for those suffering but also to connect their suffering, and ours, with that of Christ.

Each station recognizes the suffering of Christ at his passion, and connects that with a group that is suffering particularly during the pandemic. The goal is to walk with Christ, pray for communities who need it, and recognize Christ present to us in them. Hopefully, it will also move us to compassionate action.

If they resonate with you, feel free to pray these on your own or in your community.

Opening Prayer

Leader: Incarnate God, you entered fully into our humanity, forever mingling what is human with what is divine. In your humanity, you experienced both the joys and sorrows of the human condition. When confronted with illness, suffering, and isolation, you healed those who came to you in faith. In your passion and death, you felt fear and anxiety, suffered isolation from your friends and family, and died feeling forsaken and alone on a cross, struggling for breath. 

All: Our entire human family is suffering under the burden of this pandemic. We are experiencing a collective pain and suffering that only you can heal. 

Leader: As we walk the way of the cross with you, we ask for the grace to enter into solidarity with you and with all who are suffering right now: for those dying of Covid, for those who are sick, for those in quarantine or isolation, for front line healthcare professionals and essential workers, for all of us who are struggling with fear, misunderstandings, anxiety, and depression, for those who are in mourning. 

All: Grant us compassion for those who are sick and at risk, and give us the wisdom to navigate these uncertain and frightening times. Most of all, help us experience your peace and share your love with those around us. 

Leader: We ask all this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.


The First Station: Jesus is Condemned to Death.
For those who have been diagnosed with Covid-19  

Leader: We adore you O Christ, and we bless you. 

All: Because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

Leader: Jesus, our savior. You are sentenced to death by Pilate while the crowd looks on. The crowd, who once loved you, has abandoned you. You are forced to walk the way of the cross alone.

All: Jesus, you understand all who feel alone, betrayed, and isolated. You understand the fear of a diagnosis can bring. You are with all those who are afraid today, who have heard scary news for their own health or for their loved ones. 

(Short period of silent prayer or a verse may be sung)

All: Help us, Jesus, to see your face in all who have been diagnosed with Covid. In their fear and isolation, help us to see you before us, asking for mercy, for understanding, for care and compassion. Help us to be wise and understanding in our ministry to them, and grant them healing, comfort, and peace. 


The Second Station: Jesus Carries his Cross.
For all those who are sick with Covid and those suffering long term effects

Leader: We adore you O Christ, and we bless you. 

All: Because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

Leader: Jesus, our Lord. You accept your cross, knowing that in doing so you would suffer greatly. And yet, you carry it as both a yoke and burden for the sake of our salvation. 

All: You understand all of those who carry heavy crosses today, crosses of illness, crosses of misunderstanding, crosses of physical and mental exhaustion. You know what it is like to carry a cross that you do not deserve. 

(Short period of silent prayer or a verse may be sung)

All: We pray for the grace to see you in all who are sick with Covid and who suffer from its long term effects: difficulty breathing, headaches, fevers, chills, loss of taste and smell, and other debilitating symptoms. Inspire us to see your face in those who struggle, and guide the work of doctors and scientists who are working to relieve their symptoms and bring healing. 


The Third Station: Jesus falls for the first time 
For those who are experiencing anxiety, depression, and mental illness 

Leader: We adore you O Christ, and we bless you. 

All: Because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

Leader: Jesus, our brother. Under the weight of the cross you stumble and you fall. But somehow, you find the strength and resolve to get up again. 

All: You understand all those who feel like their cross is more than they can carry, who come to the end of their own strength when facing isolation, despair, and difficult diagnoses. You understand everyone who has buckled under the weight of their burdens. You are with them when they fall, when they struggle to rise, and when they get up and start again.

(Short period of silent prayer or a verse may be sung)

All: We pray for the grace to see you in all of those suffering from anxiety and depression due to this pandemic, and for mental health professionals who treat them. Inspire us to reach out for help when we need it, and to reach out to others who we see are struggling. 


The Fourth Station: Jesus meets his mother
 For the families and friends of those who are sick with Covid

Leader: We adore you O Christ, and we bless you. 

All: Because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

Leader: Jesus, son of Mary, your family and friends watch you carry your cross alone. But you do not suffer alone, as your pain ripples through all the relationships in your life, and your family and friends weep. The love they have for you turns into pain when they see your anguish.

All: You wept at the death of Lazarus, you know what it is like to cry, to feel despondent and sad at the suffering and death of someone you love. You also know what it is like to watch your family and friends suffer because of the pain you yourself are experiencing. You were helpless to relive their suffering and your own.

(Short period of silent prayer or a verse may be sung)

All: We pray for the grace to see you present in the family and friends of those who are sick with Covid. May they find ways to connect with their loved ones, physically, emotionally, or spiritually, and may they know the love, comfort, and support of their communities.


The Fifth Station: Simon Helps Jesus Carry His Cross
For healthcare workers 

Leader:  We adore you O Christ, and we bless you. 

All: Because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

Leader:  Jesus, friend of all who were suffering, you found help and companionship from a stranger, Simon the Cyrene. He was recruited from among the crowd, but showed you compassion and walked with you, temporarily relieving the burden of carrying the cross. 

All: You know what it is like to need help, to be vulnerable, to be unable to make it on your own. You know what it is like to have to rely on others to get you through the next breath, the next step, the next stage of the journey. You know the gratitude of those who experience the selfless service of others.

(Short period of silent prayer or a verse may be sung)

All: We pray for the grace to recognize you in healthcare workers who have sacrificed their physical, mental, and emotional well-being for the community. We pray for all those doctors and nurses who have comforted those who are sick, who hold the hands of those who are dying. Bless them, bless their work, and inspire us to live with the same love and care for each other.


The Sixth Station: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus 
For the marginalized and those minister to them

Leader: We adore you O Christ, and we bless you. 

All: Because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

Leader:Jesus, friend to the poor and marginalized, you always sought out those who were lost, those who were wounded, those who felt excluded. You found a kindred spirit in Veronica, who courageously ministered to you while others looked away. She saw you, face to face, and helped you in whatever way she could. 

All: You know what it is like to depend on the kindness of others. You know what it’s like to feel alone, to be marginalized, to be totally excluded and rejected. You, who are God, became human, and then became poor, identifying with and showing solidarity with all those who are poor and abandoned. 

(Short period of silent prayer or a verse may be sung)

All: We pray for the grace to recognize you in all those who are marginalized: the elderly, prisoners, people who are homeless, and those without access to food, clean water, shelter, and healthcare. We pray also for those who minister to them, for workers in long term care facilities, homeless shelters and food kitchens, prison staff and chaplains, and all those who minister to those who need it most. 


The Seventh Station: Jesus Falls a Second Time 
For communities who are struggling with division and misunderstanding

Leader: We adore you O Christ, and we bless you. 

All: Because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

Leader: Jesus, fully human and fully divine, for a second time the weight of the cross became unbearable, and you fell to the ground. Again, you get back up and continue on the way.

All: You know what it is like to fall, not once, but twice. And with a crowd and soldiers around you, jeering you and mocking you. They found delight, even joy, in your suffering. You felt so alone, maybe even heartbroken. 

(Short period of silent prayer or a verse may be sung)

All: We pray for the grace to see Jesus present in our communities, particularly when they are strained by division and misunderstanding. We pray that we may be able to forgive, to seek healing and reconciliation, to not let grudges fester, and to choose peace and nonviolence over hatred and vengeance. 


The Eighth Station: Jesus Speaks to the holy women 
For parents, teachers, and students 

Leader: We adore you O Christ, and we bless you. 

All: Because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

Leader: Jesus, servant and savior, in your suffering you still had the depth of spirit to show compassion towards those who mourned for you. When you encountered their despair, you gave them hope and consolation.

All: You know what it’s like to suffer and still have to serve others. You know that even in our most difficult moments, there are always opportunities to reach out and care for another person, to comfort others when you yourself are in need of consolation. 

(Short period of silent prayer or a verse may be sung)

All: We pray to see your presence with us in parents, teachers, and students, who have continued to serve and labor in an unprecedented time of upheaval, turmoil, and difficult decisions. We pray for parents, who must balance safety and the social needs of children, for teachers, tasked with educating and public safety, and for students, that they all may find supportive and caring communities around them.


The Ninth Station: Jesus Falls the Third Time 
For those who have committed suicide or suffered domestic abuse during the pandemic

Leader: We adore you O Christ, and we bless you. 

All: Because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

Leader: Jesus, friend of the despairing, you fell a third and final time, and you must have known that in getting up again you would draw even closer to a painful death. And yet, you still got up again and walked on your way.

All: You know what it is like to weep, to mourn and even to suffer violent physical, emotional, and mental abuse. You know the deepest darkness of the human experience. You have been there before. 

(Short period of silent prayer or a verse may be sung)

All: We pray for the grace to see you in those who have suffered domestic abuse during the pandemic for those who are tempted to despair, and those who have committed suicide. We pray for love and peace within our families, and for all victims of domestic abuse. We pray also for the conversion of all perpetrators of abuse. 


The Tenth Station: Jesus is Stripped of His Garments
For all those in the hospital 

Leader: We adore you O Christ, and we bless you. 

All: Because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

Leader: Jesus, suffering servant, at the end of your long walk you were stripped of your clothes, the outward sign of your cultural dignity, your freedom, your honor. You truly gave up everything on the way to the cross. 

All: You know what it is like t to lose your freedom and any outward signs of your dignity. You experienced humiliation, fear, misunderstanding, and even betrayal by your community. You had to go somewhere you did not want to go and do something you did not want to do. 

(Short period of silent prayer or a verse may be sung)

All: We pray to see you present to us to all those in hospitals today. Those who are sick with COVID or another illness, those who are having surgery, those who are working in hospitals, those who are cleaning and maintaining the facilities. We pray for all who feel abandoned, in danger, or fearful for themselves or someone they love. 


The Eleventh Station: Jesus is Nailed to the Cross 
For Those on Ventilators and in ICUs Today

Leader: We adore you O Christ, and we bless you. 

All: Because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

Leader: Jesus, beloved son of God, you suffered the painful torture of crucifixion, being nailed to the cross by the soldiers. You were pierced physically, psychologically, emotionally. 

All: You know what it is like to cry out in pain, to feel totally abandoned and helpless. You know the darkness of despair, you entered fully into it. You experienced the darkest, most hopeless parts of being human. You assumed and redeemed every part of our human nature, even those places of terrible desolation.

(Short period of silent prayer or a verse may be sung)

All: We pray for the grace to enter into solidarity and compassion for all those in intensive care units and on ventilators today. We pray for the courage to reach out as we are able in prayer and with love to those who are feeling afraid or abandoned, fearful and scared today. We pray also to all those who minister to them, that they may feel supported, loved, and cared for as well.


The Twelfth Station: Jesus dies on the cross
For those millions who have died of Covid around the world

Leader: We adore you O Christ, and we bless you. 

All: Because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

Leader: Jesus, salvation of the human race, you struggled to breathe on the cross for three long hours. You cried out to God, you cried out in pain, and then you died.

All: You know what is like to struggle for breath, to feel abandoned in your suffering, abandoned even by God, your beloved Abba. You died because of the sins of those in power and because of the fallenness of this world. You died so that we might have life.

(Short period of silent prayer or a verse may be sung)

All: We pray for the souls and in memory of the millions around the world who have died of COVID, the hundreds of thousands in our own country and abroad. We pray especially for the elderly and all those at risk. We pray for health care workers who died serving others. We pray for all the dead: mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, friends and companions. We commend them to your tender care.


The Thirteenth Station: Jesus is taken down from the cross 
For their friends and families of those who have died of Covid

Leader: We adore you O Christ, and we bless you. 

All: Because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

Leader: Jesus, Son of God, you were taken down from the cross and delivered into the arms of your family. Finally, your suffering has ended. Finally, the crowd is done jeering. Finally, your body is given back to your family and friends, those who love you.

All: You died. Your family and friends mourned bitterly. Into God’s hands, you gave up your spirit, and even in the face of death, you still trusted.  You descended into the dead. Your family, your friends, and your disciples felt the tremendous, painful loss. We have felt that loss too. 

(Short period of silent prayer or a verse may be sung)

All: We pray for the grace to see you in the families of all those who have died of Covid, who watched helplessly as their loved ones died behind closed doors. Inspire us to mourn with all those who see empty chairs at dinner tables, empty beds in bedrooms, and empty places in grieving hearts. 


The Fourteenth Station: Jesus is laid in the tomb 
For those unable to attend a funeral for a loved one due to Covid

Leader: We adore you O Christ, and we bless you. 

All: Because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

Leader: Jesus, risen Lord, your body was placed in the tomb by your friends and family. They quickly prepared your body for burial, eager to return to anoint you on the third day.

All: Your funeral preparations were rushed, as they had to place your body to rest before the sabbath. You were wrapped in borrowed burial clothes and placed into a friend’s tomb. Your friends and family had to say goodbye to you quickly, and hope that in the days ahead they could honor your life and bury your body properly.

(Short period of silent prayer or a verse may be sung)

All: We pray for all of those separated from their loved ones, at the moment of death and even beyond. We pray especially for families and friends unable to hold funerals for their loved ones who died during this pandemic, of Covid or other causes. We pray for all those who mourn and feel alone, isolated, and desolate. 

Closing Prayer

Leader:  God of New Life, we look forward to the Easter Promise of Resurrection, of new beginnings, of a dawn of light over the horizon. Be with us as we travel through Lent, through the way of the cross of Jesus. In love and in solidarity, help us walk with those who are acutely suffering today as a result of this pandemic. Help us to be your kind eyes, your healing hands, and your accompanying presence here on earth. 

All: Fully trusting in the power of your love over the power of death, we ask all this in your name. Amen.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Anonymous says:

    Beautiful Stations of the cross Michael – will print out and start using–Thanks for keeping us all consoled. Pops

    Liked by 1 person

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