Thursday, March 12, 2009

Resources - Stations of the Cross Materials

As promised, this blog entry includes more resources and information on celebrating Stations of the Cross with children. It includes information on making your own Stations of the Cross devotional area, a supplier for Resurrection eggs, and some of our favorite books and other media on Stations of the Cross.

1. Creating your own Stations of the Cross devotional area

This section provides more information on making your own Stations, including resources for artwork, how to make little shrines, and more.

Holy Spirit Interactive has downloadable and printable stations of the cross.

The Monastery Icons website sells some beautiful Byzantine icons depicting each station. They are a bit pricey, but they could become cherished heirlooms to pass down to your children.

Our Sunday Visitor publishes a poster that depicts the Stations of the Cross with simple colored drawings.This link gives more information:

Stations of the Cross, Poster Set

Illuminated Ink has a simple Stations of the Cross grotto kit you can make wit your kids:

You could use these simple line-art drawings to make your own stations.

This link gives information on making shrines from popsicle sticks. It is from one of my favorite Lenten resource books, Lent and Easter in the Domestic Church by Peter and Catherine Fournier.

Another one of my favorite books, Catholic Traditions in Crafts by Ann Ball, describe how to make Outdoor Metal Stations of the Cross with aluminum sheets and an engraver. You can find the book at This link gives you more information.

Catholic Traditions in Crafts

This might be a fun project for the upcoming year -- make your own Way of the Cross stepping stones and create your own garden! These are quite elaborate, but I think you could adapt them and create a more kid-friendly project:

If you want to create a permanent outdoor devotional area, you can purchase weatherproof stations from these two websites :

EWTN Catalog

Catholic Supply has a small set that retails for about $295.

2. Make a Game of It

"Resurrection eggs" are a great "hands-on" way to meditate on the Stations of the Cross. The kit includes a plastic egg carton and 12 plastic eggs that contain little items symbolizing Jesus’ passion and death. These are available from many Christian booksellers and Here is a link to information about it on the Amazon website:

Resurrection Eggs

3. Provide things for your children to do during parish devotions.

When I attend traditional stations with my daughter, I bring a small cloth bag filled with appropriate and quiet things to keep her busy. Besides a Way of the Cross coloring book, I rotate several child-friendly books that are written about the Stations. Here are some books you might consider.

The Story of the Cross: The Stations of the Cross for Children

This is a small, inexpensive paperback published by Catholic Publishing:

The Way of the Cross for Children

This one is by Pauline Books and Media:

Childrens Way of Cross (More for Kids)

This classic little book is by Father Lawrence G. Lovasik:

The Stations of the Cross

Do you have any favorite resources? I would love to hear about them!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Attending Stations of the Cross with children - Part II

Yesterday I listed five strategies for attending Stations of the Cross with children. Today's blog post will conclude with five more.

6. Make a game of it
I know that some people might not agree with this concept. It certainly isn’t right for every family. But I find that it works well with my daughter, who always needs to move a lot in order to absorb and understand things. I’ve set down some rules, however, to ensure that the game doesn’t become too boisterous and detract from the prayerful experience of the stations.

I purchased a beautiful set of prints from a Catholic bookstore. I put each print in different places around our house, then give my children hints on where they can find them. They must walk to the hinted location. When we have found the print, we discuss what we see in it, and what it means to us. Then we say an “Our Father,“ after which each child makes up a short prayer about the station. Sometimes we might sing a song, too. I will then give them a hint about the next location, and we will walk there and repeat the process. We do this as long as I can keep their attention. Some days we might only do four stations; other days we might be very lucky and do all fourteen!

Another family prays the stations of the cross by filling a shoebox with small items that represent each station. The children then take turns taking the appropriate item out of the box before the station’s prayers are said. This link describes the items they use.

Others may opt to use the Resurrection Eggs, a set of 12 plastic eggs that contain little items symbolizing Jesus’ passion and death. These are available from many Christian booksellers and

7. Use a candelabra while praying the Stations

Some families have successfully kept their child’s attention by using a candelabra. The devotion is done in a room illuminated only by 14 candles. A simple meditation or prayer is done for each station, after which a child extinguishes a candle. (Children love doing this!) The room is completely dark after the last station. This clever use of candles, light and darkness creates a lasting impression on children and adults!

These blogs describe their use of candlebra with the Stations:

Just Another Day in Paradise

Catholic Culture

Magnolia Cul-de-Sac

8. Break it up and do only a couple of stations each day.

Although it is best to pray all the stations in one sitting, this may not be realistic with young children. Instead, consider saying one or two stations each day. It could become part of your evening prayer time. You will then cover all station in about a week. By breaking the devotion into smaller pieces, your children will retain more, too.

9. Do the online Stations with your children.

Here is one way you can use technology to build your child’s faith! There are many online sites that offer virtual stations of the cross. Here are two that I have used with my children:

Stations of the Cross: Children and their Families Walk with Jesus

Stations of the Cross for Children

This website shows photos of the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem.

10. Provide things for your children to do during parish devotions.

You can still occasionally attend the traditional Stations devotion at your parish with your young children. Just try to be flexible and realize that you may not be able to stay for all fourteen stations. When I need to take my children with me, I bring a small cloth bag filled with appropriate and quiet things to keep them busy. My bag includes a Stations of the Cross coloring book and books. Here are some resources:

This link provides a printable coloring book of the Stations of the Cross.

Here is a downloadable book on Stations of the Cross.

In tomorrow's post, I will share additional books and other resources on Stations of the Cross.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

How Lenten observances can nourish your child's soul

Since we are in the season of Lent, I thought it timely to spend the next month and a half discussing various Lenten observances and how they can be used to nourish your child's soul. Many Lenten practices -- like fasting and abstinence -- do not always apply to children. Many Lenten observances -- like Stations of the Cross -- do not seem very "child friendly." Yet we can adapt these practices and observances to help our children grow spiritually and and build a personal relationship with Christ.

In this blog, I will often refer to some of the things I've learned as a certified catechist for the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program. I thought it might be good to tell you a bit about this program, in case you have not heard of it.


The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd was developed in the 1950s by a Roman Catholic Biblical Scholar named Sofia Cavalletti. It is a world-wide program that is currently used in 32 different countries. It uses a hands-on approach to faith formation. There are no workbooks and no tests. Instead, the children use a variety of handmade materials to deepen their understanding and relationship with our Lord. It is solidly Catholic and follows the teachings of the Magisterium. At the same time, it brings catechism to a level that reaches into the depths of a child's soul. In short, you can feel the work of the Holy Spirit when you step into an atrium!

If you want to learn more about the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, please check out the website of the National Association at


Some topics we will cover:

- Surviving Stations of the Cross with young children

- Favorite books, CDS and videos/DVDs for Lent

- Celebrating Palm Sunday

- How to make Holy Week meaningful to your children

Those are just a few proposed topics. I actually have many, many other ideas! If you would like to see something special, please let me know.

Don't forget to subscribe to this blog (on the left hand side of the page), so you will know when new articles are posted.

Cheryl Schroeder Basile