At the end of the Stations of the Cross with the Living Water Community through the streets of downtown Port of Spain, Trinidad, a congregant, jokily asked me, “Father, did you manage to pray?” This was a jab at my blog entitled “I Couldn’t Pray”, reflecting on my pilgrimage to the Holy Land. In response to her question, I share my prayerful reflection on the Living Water Community Stations of the Cross.THE FIRST STATION OF THE CROSS – JESUS IS CONDEMNED - Location: Entrance of the Port of Spain Maximum Prison – Frederick Street
Lord Jesus, Crucified.
We stand at the entrance of the Port of Spain Prison.
My eyes catch sight of its 40-foot concrete wall crowned with barbed wire,
And a massive thick, green-coloured gate.
There’s a deceptive quietness.
Behind these walls, I hear restless hearts and minds.
I hear cries for freedom, dignity and justice.
I hear cries for human touch and affirmation.
I hear cries, “We are innocent until proven guilty.”
Help me hear and respond to your cry in the voices of all imprisoned.
THE SECOND STATION OF THE CROSS – JESUS CARRIES HIS CROSS
Location: College of the Immaculate Conception (St. Mary’s College)
Lord Jesus, Crucified.
I thank you for the scores of missionaries
Who carried the mission of education to youthful minds.
I thank you for the young men
Formed in the Sacred Heart of Mary to build a just and peaceful world.
I pray for the thousands of children deprived of quality education, infrastructure and programmes and who have been disenfranchised by the same system that enfranchises a privileged minority.
Inspire more local missionary educators to carry the cross of education.
Help me to hear your voice in children crying out for authentic missionary educators.
THE THIRD STATION – JESUS FALLS THE FIRST TIME
Location: Frederick Street in front of Ultimate Eyewear Ltd.
So many fall because they cannot see their way through life.
I pray for those physically blind because they cannot access quality health services.
I pray for those blind by addiction,
blind by ignorance,
blind by poverty,
blind by lack of faith,
blind by excessive wealth.
Help me to see my own blindness and the ways I have caused others to become blind and fall.
Heal our blindness.
THE FOURTH STATION – JESUS MEETS HIS MOTHER
Location: Woodford Square and the Red House (Parliament Building)
Woodford Square stands before the seat of government.
Woodford Square is the people's square – the children of the nation.
Red House, the Parliament, is the mother of the nation.
Red House is the mother whose laws and legislations govern her children.
Give its leaders a mother’s heart, a nurturing, caring, and a compassionate heart.
May the nation’s leaders see themselves as mothers whose responsibility is to care for and nurture her citizens.
May our leaders inculcate a mother’s heart.
THE FIFTH STATION – SIMON HELPS JESUS CARRY THE CROSS
Location: Frederick Street
As we walked
We saw you lying on your back on the sidewalk,
Shirtless, dirty, wearing tattered pants, smelling of urine.
We didn’t pass you on the other side.
We stopped in compassion, offering you food.
We manifested the heart of Simon of Cyrene
Helping you to carry the cross of destitution, homelessness, and hunger.
Help us to become carry Simon of Cyrene in our daily lives.
THE SIXTH STATION: VERONICA WIPES THE FACE OF JESUS
Location: Independence Square
As we stopped at this busy crossroads of people
- Vendors, homeless, businesses, pedestrians, loiterers, homeless, mentally ill,
I feel the tears of everyone who intersects in this space.
I feel the tears of yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
I feel the tears of family challenges, hardships in business, broken relationships.
Our stopping in the middle of this tear bowl
Says, “We want to wipe your tears.”
Help us to be available to wipe the tears of everyone who cries.
SEVENTH STATION: JESUS FALLS THE SECOND TIME
Location: Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
We stand at the Mother Church of the Archdiocese of Port of Spain.
As Church, we have fallen so many times:
For not defending children of sexual abuse and trauma.
For not defending enslaved Africans and Indigenous peoples.
For being inhospitable, indifferent, and exclusive.
In your mercy, help us to stand again.
EIGHTH STATION: JESUS SPEAKS TO THE WOMEN OF JERUSALEM
Location: Living Water Community Ave Maria House Caring Centre on Nelson Street, East Port of Spain
Your Caring Centre offers the nurturing love of women
To those hungry, thirsty, clothes-less, and needing a shower.
Like the women of Jerusalem
This ministry is at the heart of human suffering and need.
Each time you pass, we feed, clothe, and bathe you.
Give us the faith and courage of these women to care.
NINTH STATION: JESUS FALLS A THIRD TIME
Location: Corner of Queen and George Streets
We are in the heart of human brokenness.
Standing at this corner
I feel the pain of those fallen
Because of poverty, drugs, mental illness, homelessness.
I feel their helplessness, vulnerability and pain.
How can I fall with them and help them rise up?
Give us the courage and faith to fall in solidarity with others.
TENTH STATION: JESUS IS STRIPPED OF HIS GARMENT
Location: Holy Rosary Church and Republic Bank
As I look at the Church and the Bank in proximity,
I think of the times when the sacred cooperated with the profane
To striped societies and persons of their dignity.
I think of the banks that financed the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and the sugar and cotton plantations of the Americas.
I think of Spanish Conquistadors and Missionaries in the Americas.
I pray for forgiveness for these and other times of collusion.
I pray for a new era – a Church challenging banks to invest in human capital development.
Help us to evangelise and not partner with the profane.
ELEVENTH STATION – JESUS IS NAILED TO THE CROSS
Location: Corner of New and Henry Streets – Marian House
I thank God for the ministry of Marian House,
Providing shelter and holistic care for young men.
I pray for young men nailed to the cross by gang dons and neglected fathers.
I pray for young men who have been nailed to the cross by police bullets,
By society and families who have neglected them.
I pray for young men who have died from gang warfare or drugs.
Help us stand at the foot of the cross of young Caribbean men.
TWELFTH STATION – JESUS DIES ON THE CROSS
Location: Port of Spain General Hospital
As we stand in front of the hospital
I pray for persons who die on Good Friday
Persons who have died by
- The gun
- Terminal illness
- Medical negligence
- Natural causes.
We pray those persons will die on this day.
May you have mercy on their soul.
We thank God for healthcare workers who die for self so that we may have life.
May we sacrifice ourselves so that others may live.
THIRTEENTH STATION: JESUS IS TAKEN DOWN FROM THE CROSS
Location: Memorial Park
I think of hundreds of young men
Taken from the battlefield of the two Great Wars
And placed in the arms of their grieving mothers.
I think of the thousands who continue to die in modern wars
- Afghanistan, Yemen, Ukraine, the Democratic Republic of the Congo
I pray for grieving families, grieving nations.
I pray for an end to war.
I pray for justice and peace.
Help us to turn our spears and spittle into ploughshares.
FOURTEENTH STATION: JESUS IS LAID IN THE TOMB
Location: Living Water Centre
“Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?”.
Many people are laid in the tomb of darkness,
The darkness of socio-economic conditions.
I thank God for the ministry of the Living Water Community
Whose members sacrifice their own tomb so that persons can be buried in dignity.
I thank God for this community that has adopted the ministry of the women
Who, at the crack of dawn, visited the tomb of Christ to care for him even in death.
I thank God for this community whose members become witnesses of the resurrected Christ in the tombs of persons’ lives.
May we witness your resurrection today in our lives and ministry.