|The Stations of the Cross: a joint production of 15 theology students and 15 kids.|
Download the Stations of the Cross here in whole page format or in a booklet format
March 18, 2010. Thornwood, NY. It all began on
Ash Wednesday, when Br Peter Huynh, LC, a first-year theology
student, received a letter and pictures from a 3rd grade
class in Decatur, Georgia. One of the teachers there, Mrs.
Romana Khalaf, knew Br Peter and had invited her class
to pray for him during the Year for Priests.
Br Peter saw the pictures, he saw talent and possibility…
and a chance to involve children in evangelizing their peers.
and his 14 classmates in their first year of theology
at Thornwood were planning to write up a Stations of
the Cross booklet for Lent. But when Br Peter saw
the illustrations, he realized that the book could be written
for children, as a means of helping them relate more
easily to the mysteries of the Passion.
|The 6th Station: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus, as illustrated by Sara (3rd grade).|
So, he invited
them to participate in the Stations of the Cross project,
extending the same invitation to children in two other Catholic
schools. The response was immediate and enthusiastic.
As the children
pulled out their crayons and got to work on their
masterpieces, 15 theology students began composing reflections for each of
the Stations of the Cross, translating their knowledge into terms
that their intended readership of 2nd to 5th grade age
children could understand.
Three weeks later, Br Peter had a pile
of over 50 colorful drawings and a stack of 14
meditations, which he and two other brothers edited and compiled.
The brothers decided to vote on the best drawings for
each station, and the winning drawings accompany each of the
Br Peter didn’t want to leave anyone out,
so all of the 2nd and 3rd place drawings were
scanned and put together to form the cover of the
Through the eyes of a child
For Br Peter, the
stations have a unique richness because they bring two worlds
together: a class of theology students who are just a
few years away from ordination (scheduled for Christmas 2012) and
|The 7th Station: Jesus falls for the second time, as illustrated by Michael (3rd grade).|
a group of children who express the faith in a
direct and innocent way, through drawings.
“The brothers here are studying
theology, so they are immersed in a lot of doctrine
and spirituality in their classes. This project was a fruit
of their studies, a chance to integrate and apply what
they learned for an audience of young readers,” said Br
Meanwhile, the drawings were a chance for children to express
the faith as they see it. One brother remarked that
the drawings are almost “like an icon” because the children
draw without prejudices or preconceived notions.
Br Peter also observed
that the girls normally use a lot of colors, and
tend to express more feelings and emotions. The boys, on
the other hand, use darker colors and focus on action.
“In the seventh station (Jesus’ fall), the sky is all
black with lightning and there is blood everywhere. That’s the
male psychology there,” he noted with a smile.
also the richness, that combination of profound faith, simplicity, and
innocence. Children draw according to what they understand and believe,
not according to what others think. They express it as
they understand it,” he said.
A taste of the Stations
|The 10th Station: Jesus is stripped of his garments, as illustrated by Dylon (2nd grade).|
comes to prayer, adults can also use such a simple,
direct, and heartfelt expression of the faith. Prayer does not
have to be complicated. The language of love is a
language that people of all ages, from childhood to old
age, can understand.
Here is a sample reflection from the fourth station,
when Jesus meets his mother:
Jesus is carrying the cross.
He is walking in the midst of the crowd, the
soldiers, the dust. He looks around, and all he sees
are the angry faces of soldiers and the sad faces
of women. There is no love. There is no hope.
But suddenly he discovers a different face among the crowd,
a beautiful face, a familiar face. It is the face
of Mary, his Mother. Making eye contact with her is
enough to strengthen him. Thanks to her, Jesus found the
strength to keep
going on the path towards our redemption.
It is in Mary where we can find the strength
to be faithful to our Christian vocation in the midst
of the world we live in.
My prayer to Mary:
thanks to you, Jesus found the strength to continue in
a very tough moment of the way of the cross
after his first fall. Help me to see your beautiful
face, especially in the hard moments of my life when
everything seems to be senseless and dark. I know that
by simply making contact with your marvelous eyes, I can
find the courage to be a faithful disciple of your
beloved Son, Jesus. AMEN.