Stations of the Cross: praying with today’s pop music

Every year Cornerstone Media releases a CD of the traditional Stations of the Cross complimented by a brief selection from a pop song that reflects the themes of prayer and life.  Actually, it comes with a whole kit of resources.

I listened to this year’s CD on the way home from the Religious Education Congress last Sunday. What a way to make holy the task of driving for an hour in Los Angeles traffic.

As I listened and prayed I reflected on how catechisms and youth ministers, indeed anyone leading the Stations of the Cross, could transform this practice into a relevant spiritual moment. If you visit the website you will discover the many applications. The first thing I wanted to do was to prepare a PowerPoint of visuals to go along with the CD (which can be paused to add reflection time). Then lo and behold, you can actually download PopwerPoints from the website, too.

Some of the artists included are Shakira, Carrie Underwood, and 12 others. A second CD has reflections that you can use as a guided meditation for Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday.

Cornerstone Media has been producing “The Dirty Dozen (The 12 worst songs of the year) and Psalm 151 (the 21 best value songs of the year)” for sometime now. The 2009 edition is available now.

I don’t think I can say enough how important these resources are for religious education, catechesis, evangelization, and so fourth. All ministries. The exercise of focusing on values in popular media can lead all of us to be more media mindful, to discern our media choices, and once we choose, to make meaning from the media we experience. To ask what the story means, does it make a difference, how can I make a difference?

Of course, it is understood that each person reflects on and articulates the values they live by first of all.

Cornerstone’s mission is faith formation, to integrate discernment skills with popular culture, spirituality, and scripture.

I once heard Anna Scally, president of Cornerstone Media, speak to a group of Catholic communicators. The most important thing she said, if I recall well, is that we are to honor our students, our young people. If we honor young people, our whole attitude and ways of relating changes. To honor their music may seem more of a challenge, but there is a lot to savor and contemplate in popular music.

Now I look forward to listening to the Scripture Themes & Popular Music CD kit and The Gifts of the Holy Spirit 2 CD kit.

1 Comment

  1. Unfortunately, the Cornerstone Media website does not indicate the artist’s or the songs that they think are appropriate for a Teen Stations experience. I would be reluctant to pay $40.00 for this “kit” without more information, although we have been doing a teen stations for 18 years now and have some experience and success with this format. When you try to create a contemporary sensibility we have found that music from a variety of genres is appealing. Many of our young people are accomplished musicians and we try to accommodate this talent by using everything from classical music, movie soundtracks, contemporary pop, contemporary Christian, Broadway. If it is musical, emotional and informs the station, it seems to work. Here are some vocal and instrumental choices:

    Vocal Selections

    “Bleeding Love” by Jesse McCartney & Ryan Tedder
    “Breathe” by Marie Barnett
    “Dead Man Walking (A Dream Like This)” by Mary Chapin Carpenter
    “Endless Night” (The Lion King – Broadway) by Julie Taymor, Hans Zimmer et al.
    “Exile” by Enya
    “Flood” by Jars of Clay
    “Footprints On The Sand” by Richard Page, Simon Cowell, et al.
    “Forever My Love” by Richard Cimino
    “For Good” (“Wicked – The Musical) by Stephen Schwartz
    “He” by Jars of Clay
    “Healer of My Soul” by John Michael Talbot
    “He’s My Son” by Mark Schultz
    “How Beautiful” by Twila Paris
    “I Look To You” by Robert Kelly
    “I Want Jesus To Walk With Me”
    “If I Rise” by Dido & A.R. Rahman
    “If We Are The Body” by Tim Hall
    “Lamb of God” by Twila Paris
    “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers
    “Lean on Me” by Kirk Franklin
    “Many Rivers To Cross” by Jimmy Cliff
    “My Heart Will Go On” by James Horner
    “Now Behold the Lamb” by Kirk Franklin
    “O Come and Mourn With Me Awhile (Jesus, Our Lord Is Crucified) trad. arr. by Jars of Clay
    “Pie Jesu” from “Requiem” by Andrew Lloyd Webber
    “Purify My Heart” by Jeff Nelson
    “Redemption Song” by Bob Marley
    “Saw Ye My Savior” by anonymous arr. by Lee Dengler
    “Streets Of Philadelphia” by Bruce Springsteen
    “The Prayer” by David Foster, Carole Bayer Sager, et al.
    “The Quality of Mercy” by Michelle Shocked
    “This Lonesome Valley” arranged by Jean Anne Shafferman
    “Trading My Sorrows (Yes Lord)” by Darrell Evans
    “Were You There” arr. by Selah
    “What Did He Die For” by Twila Paris
    “You Raise Me Up” by Brendan Graham
    “Your Grace Is Enough” by Chris Tomlin & Matt Maher

    Instrumental Selections

    Adagio In G minor for Oboe and Organ by Remo Giazotto, formerly attrib. to Tomaso Albinoni
    “Ashokan Farewell” from “The Civil War” by Jay Ungar (violin, piano and guitar)
    “Cavatina” (Theme From The Deer Hunter) by John Williams (guitar & synthesizer)
    Consolation in D flat major by Franz Liszt (violin & piano)
    “Exit Music (For A Film)” by Radiohead arr. by Chris O’Riley (piano)
    French Suite No. 5 in G major – Sarabande by J.S. Bach (piano)
    “Farewell” by Yiruma (violin and piano)
    “Gabriel’s Oboe” from “The Mission” by Ennio Morricone (oboe & synthesizer)
    Intermezzo from ‘Cavalleria Rusticana’ by Pietro Mascagni (violin & piano)
    Meditation de ‘Thais’ by Jules Massenet (violin & piano)
    ‘Melodie’ from ‘Orfeo ed Euridice’ by Christoph Willibald von Gluck (violin & piano)
    Piano Sonata Nr. 8 C minor op.13, “Pathetique” (II. Adagio Cantabile) by Ludwig van Beethoven (piano)
    Prelude in E-Minor (op.28 no. 4) by Frédéric Chopin (piano)
    Oboe Concerto In C minor (II. Adagio) by Alessandro Marcello (oboe & piano)
    Oboe Concerto in D minor (II. Adagio) by J.S. Bach (oboe & piano)
    “Oxford Suite_Part 1” by Ed Alleyne-Johnson (electric violin and synthesizer)
    “Sad Romance – Sad Violin” by Thao Nguyen Xanh
    “Schindler’s List Theme” by John Williams (1-2 violins & piano)
    Sonata for Oboe and Piano – Déploration by Francis Poulenc (oboe & piano)
    “The Red Violin – Anna’s Theme” by Corigliano (violin)
    “The Sacrifice” from “The Piano” by Michael Nyman (piano)
    “The Water Is Wide” arranged by Kim Robertson (harp)
    Violin Sonata No.1 in G minor II. Adagio by J.S. Bach (violin)
    “Watermark” by Enya (piano)
    “When The Love Falls” by Yiruma (piano)


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