I hope this is a new tradition in my sister’s household.
I’m not sure when George got the idea – and whether it was his or his dad’s – but on Friday he decided he wanted to make the Stations of the Cross on their trail. Patrick has cleared out an awesome trail through the woods around their house — it starts in the front of the house and weaves around to the back, where it makes a nice big loop. It’s wide enough for walks and flat enough for bike rides.
And it was the perfect setting for the Stations of the Cross.
At school, George colored the 12th Station of the Cross. On Friday at home, he colored the other 13. (well, 12. I colored the 8th Station.) Patrick spent the afternoon constructing wooden crosses and affixing them to the trees along the trail, and rigged them up so that he could put George’s pictures in plastic sheets and slide them into the crosses. He even scratched the Roman numerals into the little wooden crosses. It was quite a little project for the day.
By dinner time, they were ready for us. George put on his school blazer and a crucifix was handed to Andrew, our impromptu server, and we had two books of St. Alphonus Ligouri’s Way of the Cross.
It was such a perfect way to finish up Good Friday as family. Jill and I (and John Paul) had gone to the Good Friday service in their parish, but this was something that we could do as a family. I hope it becomes a tradition for them.
Andrew was a great crucifier, leading us to each Station while as we sang the Stabat Mater. It wasn’t long until Sammy stole it away from him, though, as two year-olds are wont to do. In the spirit of the day, Andrew let Sammy take over as server — and as soon as Sammy did, he began marching ahead of us, humming a little tune — mimicking our chant of the Stabat Mater. Talk about a heart-melting moment.
He soon abandoned the group – come on, he is two, after all – but he returned every once and awhile.
George and Patrick took turns leading the Stations, and I was really impressed with George’s reading ability. I could also tell that he had prayed the Stations frequently with his school during Lent.
All of these things are part of our identity as Catholics. Sadly, few people take our customs seriously anymore. Fridays in Lent should seem empty without Stations of the Cross. But I was shocked after entering the real world that it’s not even on the radar for many Catholics.
We can’t lose our Catholic culture. It’s our key to survival. John Paul II knew it during World War II, and he knew it during the Communism rule of his homeland.
It’s time to save civilization, folks. See that above? That’s what it looks like.