Stations of the Cross : 14 or 15

When I was growing up, there were 14 Stations of the Cross. Now, more and more often, I see Stations of the Cross being done with 15 stations. Is this official? If so, when was this changed? If not, why are churches doing this?

My favorite Stations of the Cross document is the one that Cardinal Ratzinger performed the last Easter before he became Pope. In that document which includes a Gospel reading, Meditation and Prayer for each station, there are 14 stations. Personally I have never seen 15 stations…but maybe I am missing something.

So, if Cardinal Ratzinger used 14 stations I think that is probably a good reason to stick with 14.

Some got the feeling that ending the stations with the burial was a downer; so added a 15th station - The Resurrection. In many churches the stations are along each side; so 15 is unbalanced. They added a 0th station - The Agony in the Garden - to balance things up.

The number of Stations has varied frequently throughout their history. Fourteen became sort of a standard in recent times.

The Stations are not Official Church prayer, like the mass or the Divine Office. I don’t think that there are strict rules on them. Note that a few years ago Pope John Paul II introduced a new set that adhered more closely to scripture.

The Agony in the Garden, I have never seen that but I have seen the Resurrection. It is not something that is an “official change”

Many advocate today the addition of a 15th station, depicting Christ’s Resurrection, because without his rising from the dead he would not have accomplished the salvation that, Christians believe, was his mission – the same consideration that causes the three days commencing with the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Maunday Thursday and concluding with Vespers on the evening of Easter Sunday to be regarded as a liturgical unity, the so-called Holy Triduum or Paschal Triduum. Others have begun the practice of the Via Lucis in Eastertide to meditate on the Resurrection and Ascension of the Lord.

I have never been to a parish that had more than 14 Stations. Last year my parish used the very traditional version at some services (complete with Stabat Mater sung in Latin) and a very modern version at other services (with a lot of social justice issues mentioned in the prayers), but the name/number of the Stations were the same in both types of service.

Not where I live. Fourteen stations. I use Susane Tassone’s THE WAY OF THE CROSS FOR THE HOLY SOULS IN PURGATORY. Even though I am not in a state of grace, I am hoping that my efforts give some of the poor souls at least a partial indulgence

Well since there is no offical station of the cross order you can pretty much do what you want. I know as someone else mentioned JPII did a station of the cross based on scriputre but some people won’t like it. I believe St. Monica is not in JPII version of the stations. don’t quote me though. i will have to go pull my book out that i bought when i was teaching a bible study class a few years ago.


Um, that would be Saint Veronica, not Monica. (Boy, not even confirmed yet, and already acting like a Traditionalist:rolleyes:

Thanks for remembering. I was at work and could only post really fast

Hey, good for you. Almost forgot about them. Think I’ll start doing the same.

I never saw this until maybe twenty years ago. The fifteenth station is the empty tomb.
Even in churches that have it, it is often not used in public worship. I’ve also noticed that the 14 stations are spaced regularly around the church but the fifteenth is set off to the side – sort of, “It’s here if you want it” I guess.

We prayed the stations of the cross yesterday with the catechism classes. One little girl drew the 15th station, the Resurrection, and tacked it on the wall beside the fourteenth station. I’ve never heard of this before this year. Seems like an innovation to me, based on people’s preferences to end the stations on a happy note.

I always thought that stations were supposed to be a “sorrowful” prayer. I mean, you do it to prepare for Easter, not to celebrate it yet. It emphasizes Christ’s passion and death and all that He suffered for us, so that when we do reach Pascha we rejoice all the more at His resurrection.

I don’t know. I always thought that that was supposed to be the point of doing stations. Easter’s not here yet.

Exactly. That’s why I refer to the addition of the fifteenth station as an innovation. Seems like some people want the passion and death of Jesus to be “balanced” by His Resurrection. I think they are missing the point of Lent.

But it isn’t strictly a Lenten devotion. It can be done at any time. And as someone said, it’s only an innovation to us, as the number of stations have been somewhat fluid throughout history. I like the idea of adding the Agony in Gethsemane and the Resurection.

“And a little child shall lead them?”:slight_smile:

I have never heard of any parishes having a Stations of the Cross service in the Church other than during Lent. Is this a common practice in parishes?

A common practice of our Christ Renews His Parish teams is that during formation the previous team will take the current team through the Stations. I think one of the reasons that the Stations have always been emphasized during Lent was because of their focus on Christ’s passion and our sorrow. However, you don’t have to wait until Lent…I now a guy who does the Stations once every week, all year long.

One additional note, I mentioned this thread to a friend of mine and he stated that JPII added the 15th Station. I haven’t seen any documentation to prove this…but this friend is not wrong very often.

No, unfortunately. It’s hard enough to get people to show up for it during Lent. I don’t think anyone would attend stations outside of Lent.

I have heard that Padre Pio prayed the stations of the cross every day.

The Way of the Cross the way of Salvation! :slight_smile:

As has been pointed out, different versions have been used throughout the centuries. Here is a great article on its history with examples of different versions used in the past:

I have personally only seen the set of 14 that everyone here is familiar with. I love those by St. Alphonsus Liguori. He incorporates the Ressurection into the prayers of the 14th Station.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit