Holy or Maundy Thursday marks the beginning of the Easter Triduum: the final three days of Holy Week which begins on Palm Sunday. In 2008, Palm Sunday was Sunday, March 16th. At this liturgy, commemorating Christ’s last supper with His disciples, the Eucharist was instituted with Jesus’s exhortation: ‘This is my body; take and eat. This is my blood; take and drink?’
Within our families we can immerse ourselves in this most reverent and significant Holy Day of the Church year. Holy Thursday is an ideal time to explore the Stations of the Cross, a devotional which we may have observed during Lent and will definitely observe on Good Friday. The Stations of the Cross, twelve to fourteen in all are present in all Catholic Churches. Typically the Stations are images hung along the walls of the Nave (or main body). They progress through the various steps Jesus took on His Way to the Cross. These stations vary from Church to church and make fascinating study simply as art forms. I have seen baroque oil paintings, bas-relief sculptures, icons, individual sculptures in a niche or grotto, mosaics, wood carvings, sand sculptures, outdoor dioramas in glass cases that follow a path or walk and stained glass stations of the cross. The Stations are an interactive worship practice in which the worshiper goes from station to station, praying and meditating upon the concept represented. Often a leader or will guide the devotion.
For Holy Thursday, you can make a set of stations of the cross for your own home. You can make them as elaborate or simple as your time, energy and talent allow. We made simple drawings and placed them along our hallway. Our son who was about six at the time and a self-professed art failure, made his stations in a stunningly simple icon-like stylized pattern, very stark and reminiscent of the 12th century, art deco or even cubist art schools.
You might make yours along any of the art forms listed above. For smaller children, have them illustrate the image or shape it out of clay. You can make a simple outdoor prayer garden, by placing laminated images on stakes. You can make stepping stone stations. The idea is to help your children, students or family to visualize the stations. Let children explore the many different styles of stations to help them create their own. Ask them to focus on the feelings at each station and try to put that into the artwork. Here are the stations to design and the order to place them.
First: Jesus is Condemned to Death
Second: Jesus Carries His Cross
Third: Jesus Falls for the First Time
Fourth: Jesus Meets His Sorrowful Mother
Fifth: Simon (the Cyrenian) Carries the Cross
Sixth: Veronica wipes the Face of Jesus
Seventh: Jesus Falls for the Second Time
Eighth: Jesus Meets the Women
Ninth: Jesus Falls for the Third Time
Tenth: Jesus is Stripped of His clothes
Eleventh: Jesus is Nailed to the Cross
Twelfth: Jesus Dies
*Jesus is Taken Down
*Jesus is Laid in the Sepulcher
*Stations 13-15 were added by Pope John Paul. You can print a nice devotional booklet from this site for use with your family, home-school group. parish group or parochial school.