The most powerful and meaningful times that I have prayed the Stations of the Cross is with preschool and kindergarten age children during Little Lambs classes. Believe me, I never dreamed that it could be like that. But it is! Most of the children have not only never prayed the Stations of the Cross, but they also have never heard the story of Jesus’ passion and death. They all know that He died on a cross but that is basically all that they know about Jesus’ death.
When the children first pray the Stations of the Cross — going from station to station — looking at the different scenes of Jesus’ passion — they ask questions and make comments that take an adult back to what really happened in Jesus’ passion. “Why did He have to carry the cross?” “That would hurt!”
When I pray the Stations of the Cross with preschool and kindergarten age children, I keep it very simple:
- Announce the station: “Station #1: Jesus is Condemned to Death”
- Do the usual beginning to a station so the children learn the basics of praying the stations in a group.
Leader: We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You…
All: Because by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world.
- All look at the station. I may ask a question, like “Who is this?” or “What do you think is happening?” The children may ask a question or make a comment.
- Conclude the station with: “Jesus, I love You. Please help me to be like You.”
Praying all the stations takes around ten minutes. The children can only absorb Jesus’ passion for a short time before it is too much for them to process and they are needing to move on.
Some may ask, “Why pray the Stations of the Cross with children who are so young?” The first year I prayed the stations with a Little Lambs class, there were twin 3-year-old girls in the class. Their mom later told me that they talked and talked about Jesus after praying the stations. They continued talking about Jesus and what happened to Him for months. This talking about Jesus inspired their mother to have the girls baptized. What a beautiful outcome to praying the Stations of the Cross!
I give each of the parents one of these Stations of the Cross booklets when we are praying the stations. The parents then have the words for the beginning and ending of each station. They then take the booklets home to use again to pray the stations and/or to continue the discussion at home. The children can color the booklets.
How to make the booklet:
- Print the booklet 2-sided on white paper.
- Fold in half.
- Staple in the center fold.