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Love The Stations of the Cross? A Filipino Priest Makes More Devotions 

Fr. Raymund Acuña gives us “more reason to pray and encounter Jesus.”

One of the most popular and beloved Catholic devotions is the Stations of the Cross. Otherwise known as the Way of the Cross and Via Crucis, it invites us to contemplate on the Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ in 14 key events, each with a specific reflection and prayers.

Now, there’s a new way—five new ways, to be exact—to commemorate the life of Jesus, Stations of the Cross style.

Launched on August 15 and created by Fr. Raymund Victor Acuña, JCL, MA, senior parochial vicar of San Sebastian Cathedral, Tarlac City, the Way of Joy traces the Childhood and Life of Jesus; the Way of the Kingdom recalls the Public Ministry of Jesus through the Gospels of Mark and Matthew; the Way of Mercy highlights the Public Ministry of Jesus through the Gospel of Luke; the Way of Friendship focuses on the Public Ministry of Jesus through the Gospel of John; and the Way of Light details the events after the Resurrection of Jesus.

The idea to expand the Stations of the Cross into new devotions began 10 years ago, when Fr. Raymund was a seminarian on a 30-day retreat in the Chapel of St. Scholastica in Tagaytay City. From there, the devotions slowly unfolded and evolved to what they are today—powerful prayers that invite us to meditate on the life and teachings of Christ.

Here are five things to know about Fr. Raymund and his Way of Jesus:

He incorporated art

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Photos from Albert L. Dancel Facebook

To give the faithful a full experience of the devotions, Fr. Raymund commissioned Tarlac artist Albert Dancel to paint the 14 stations with a “Filipinized” theme and setting in 2013. Three years later, 90 paintings from four Tarlac artists displayed the complete set of the entire life of Jesus in a 14 Stations format at the 51st International Eucharist Congress in Cebu. (Read: For These Four Filipino Artists, Faith Can Be Fine Art)

He uses chaplets

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Photo courtesy of subject

While the traditional Way of the Cross is prayed before paintings, carvings, or life-size statues depicting the 14 events leading to Jesus’ crucifixion, Fr. Raymund’s Way of Jesus uses chaplets—beads, medals, and a crucifix strung together like a rosary.

Made of silver, the first 91 medals and crucifixes were designed by Edno Joson and created by Pedro Faci, SA, a medals and religious articles factory in Zaragoza, Spain, in 2018. Fr. Raymund recalls how the factory responded favorably to the priest’s email regarding his project and invited him over. Despite having no funds to finance his innovative devotion, “they supported me all throughout and produced everything.”

Fr. Raymund, who was studying his Licentiate in Canon Law in Spain at the time, eventually covered expenses through the kindness and generosity of strangers and acquaintances. He also bought the molds of the medals, allowing him to reproduce them in alloy in the Philippines. (Read: This Pinay Started ‘Allora Manila’ to Encourage Praying the Rosary)

He presented a chaplet to Pope Francis

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Pope Francis (left) receives a chaplet and prayer guide from Fr. Raymund as his bishop, the Most Reverend Enrique V. Macaraeg, DD (center), looks on. (Photos courtesy of subject)

The less-than-two-minute meeting happened in 2019 in Rome, and involved Fr. Raymund (who accompanied his bishop) giving Lolo Kiko a chaplet and prayer guide in Spanish. “He was surprised I spoke in Spanish and I told him it was because I was studying in Spain,” he says. Fr. Raymund also requested for a hug, to which the Holy Pontiff said, “Vaya!”

He had bashers

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Photo from Raymund Acuna Facebook

For all the good intentions behind his Way of Jesus, Fr. Raymund encountered his fair share of naysayers. “Of course, they said, ‘Additional devotions! You’re making our life complicated! The rosary is already difficult to fulfill, and yet you are introducing another one,’” he says with a hearty laugh.  

Through this innovative devotion, Fr. Raymund hopes to bring a modern way of Lectio Divino (Divine Reading). “This is not a substitute for the rosary. This is an expansion of encounter. It adds more reason to pray.” (Read: A Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel)

He’s launching new chaplets

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Walking with Jesus contains the prayers of the Way of Jesus, as well as new 14 Stations-inspired devotions on the life of Mary, St. John, St. Paul, St. Peter, and St. Joseph. (Photo courtesy of subject)

Apparently this is just the beginning, as Fr. Raymund is coming up with 14 Stations in the life of the people close to Jesus. He’s got a Way of Humility (14 Stations in the life of Mary), Way of Discipleship (14 Stations in the life of St. Peter), Way of Witnessing (14 Stations in the life of St. Paul), Way of The Beloved (14 Stations in the life of St. John), and Way of Wisdom (St. Joseph). Fr. Raymund is set to launch these new devotions this November.

To purchase the chaplets, contact Robbie Pantaleon at +639175062615 or robertom.pantaleon@gmail.com.

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