Lead your people in the Stations of the Cross with a focus on addiction and recovery.
This reflection on the Way of the Cross is written particularly for those who struggle with addiction and who have had an experience of a Twelve Step program. However, the insights and reflections in these prayers are relevant for all of us. We are all tempted, and we all have addictions of one kind or another. As we journey to the Cross together, remember that Christ is always alongside us.
From the introduction:
I wrote these Stations of the Cross out of love for the men afflicted with addiction with whom I work at the Jack Mulhall Center in Cleveland, Ohio, a few days a week. This Recovery House has a capacity of 40 residents, and since September of 2018, it has been a blessing for me to be a part of so many of their lives. I have truly found God in those who have admitted themselves to the residency.
Two weeks before Good Friday of 2019, I was having breakfast with Laura, who has battled addictions. Over the last five years, she has reached out to many other recovering addicts, both men and women, and has been an inspiration to them by the way she has entered the process of recovery. During the meal, I mentioned that I wanted to do something at the Center for Holy Week.
“Write a Stations of the Cross,” Laura said.
“What?” I responded. “There’s not enough time. Holy Week is just two weeks down the road. I can’t do that!”
I thought the case was closed. However, that day Laura’s suggestion would not leave my mind. Finally, I sat down at my computer and, drawing from conversations and the Twelve Step Program work at the Mulhall Center, started typing. After writing a few stations, I called Laura to ask for her input. She told me not to stop. And so I didn’t.
As a result, on Good Friday, the guys and I at the Recovery House walked the journey of Jesus to Calvary. At each station, one of the occupants reverently held a candle and then passed it to another man.
People have asked, “How do these people put a substance into their body knowing they could do harm to themselves?” My response has been: “Do you text or know of anyone who texts while driving? Why do people do that when they could possibly hurt or kill themselves and others?”
We all have addictions, and only with the grace of God can we make progress in recovering from them—as I often try to impress on the men. God created all of us in his image and likeness. We—like those addicted to substance abuse—can only grow by surrendering to the power and grace of God.
Ministry with those struggling to break the cycle of addiction can be very rewarding. But it is also very frustrating when I ask, “Where’s so and so?’” and the response is: “Father, he’s back on the streets.” I pray for all those men and staff at the Jack Mulhall Center and everyone coping with drug or alcohol abuse.
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Fr. Bob’s The Way of the Cross for Those in Recovery offers hope to people caught in the web of addiction. Its prayers reflect their pain and struggle and encourage them to move on aware of God’s love and unfailing presence. Rehab centers will surely welcome this booklet as a tool in supporting their residents, especially during Lent.
Fr. Robert Kraig is a retired Roman Catholic priest in the Diocese of Cleveland. After serving as a pastor for decades, he continues to serve in parish life. He also works with those in alcohol and drug abuse recovery at the Jack Mulhall Center for Sober Living in Cleveland, Ohio. “I value the work of those in recovery so much,” Fr. Bob states. “In many ways I have found the presence of God among these people in ways I could never have imagined. I am grateful this opportunity came about in my retirement.”