If you have ever been in Jerusalem, you have probably experienced praying the Stations of the Cross winding your way through tight and narrow streets. I experienced this prayer journey in May during a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The memory of the noise, people staring at us as they passed buy, and taking a turn at carrying the cross will not be forgotten. This is the journey that the Lord once took as he was condemned to die for us.
So, in a digital world, how can we pray the Stations of the Cross in a meaningful way? Saint Mary’s Press is providing a wonderful way to do this with their – Virtual Meditations: Stations of the Cross.
A young person today, using QR Codes, can:
- Actively engage in prayer by using their cell phones, iPods, or iPads
- Use videos to inspire their prayer
- Use technology to help them understand and reflect on the Stations of the Cross
I just prayed the stations using my iPhone, what an incredible experience. Sitting quietly in my living room, I was able to view the virtual stations that were created by Busted Halo. In addition, a series of suggested videos were generated showing a title and a link became available. Imagine easily having access to a variety of clips related to the Stations of the Cross at your fingertips.
A Parish Youth Group Experience
While visiting Queen of Peace Catholic Community’s Pathfinders Youth Group, I experienced a parish comfortably using technology in prayer with their youth. Amy Barber, Middle School Youth Minister often uses technology in her sessions. I came to see for myself how she was doing this. I was pleasantly surprised to see that she easily adapted what could be an individual prayer experience into a group prayer experience. How? This parish has the vision of integrating technology into its worship space.
As you view the following slideshow, you will see how these students moved from station to station, first viewing the video and then praying together. Later I had the opportunity to ask these students what this experience was like for them. I heard comments like: “The video helps this prayer come alive for me.” “We’re media people, I love this prayer.” “I’ve done this prayer before and we used cards to read from, it was boring.” “I learned a lot today from the videos.”
What I learned from this experience of praying with this youth group, is that media makes sense to them. It grabs their attention. The visuals help them understand the story of the Passion and Death of Jesus and also relate it to today’s suffering world.
I witnessed these youth understanding and appreciating a traditional prayer experience offered with a contemporary method. Of course, as Holy Week approaches, they were encouraged to return to church with their family and friends with their mobile devices, with a QR Reader installed. I’d love to be a mouse in the corner of this church to see who returns to pray the Stations of the Cross using the Virtual Meditations.
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Photography: Caroline Cerveny (c) 2013