There are three means of doing the way of the cross in Lourdes, but by far the most popular is what is known as the "High Stations". These are fifteen of the most wonderful larger than life size tableaus located on the hill overlooking the Sanctuaries. You can pray the stations privately or join in a group led by a priest which commences at 9am each morning from the gate facing the front of the basilica. Be warned that the way is more than a mile in length and in places very steep. Not for people with mobility problems. These folk would be well advised to pray the "Low Stations" which are situated over the River Garve on the other sde of the santuary from the "High Stations". In bad weather there is a further option in the underground basilica. The stations are made of stained glass and begin in the general area of the organ.
There is a gate right by the Basilica announcing the way of the Cross. What this is the stations of the Cross, there are 14 of them that commemorate an event in the death of Jesus Christ.
The Stations of the Cross, in the order you will see them, are:
Jesus is condemned to death
Jesus carries his cross
Jesus falls the first time
Jesus meets his mother
Simon or Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry the cross
Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
Jesus falls the second time
Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
Jesus falls the third time
Jesus' clothes are taken away
Crucifixion: Jesus is nailed to the cross
Jesus dies on the cross
Jesus is taken down from the cross (Deposition or Lamentation)
Jesus is laid in the tomb.
Jesus is resurrected
This is the traditional Way of the Cross. It is different from the scenes represented in the Scriptural Way of the Cross, the representation of the Stations of the Cross from Scripture.
There are some really lovely sculptures depicting each of these. I am told that there is an organized schedule, I came to Lourdes in the middle of a giant pilgrimage from Italy.
My own experience with this was quite interesting. I walked with a group of Italian pilgrims and at each station the priest would stop and explain what this station was all about. From what I could see this was done in one language only, there are apparently separate walks for each language. Luckily, I was able to understand a good bit of what was being said by the Italian priest. The way is not particularly easy, it is very steep in parts. However, when i went, people of all ages were there. Children in wheelchairs were pulled up the hill either by family or some of the volunteers from the pilgrim organization they were traveling with. I noticed that most people were in their little group, there seemed to be little interaction or awareness of others.
You are welcome to go by yourself. Please be quiet and respectful, this is an event of very deep spiritual meaning to the pilgrims that do this,
After being betrayed by Judas Iscariot, Christ was taken to the Sanhedrin leadership. He was mocked and beaten, still he refused to deny that he was the Son of God. The jewish leaders hand Christ over to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of the province and ask for the death penalty.
The Roman punishment was crucifixion, where the person would be tied to the cross. From detailed specials I have seen over the years this death was an awful, painful death.
This station, the 2nd, is where Christ is given his Cross, to be carried through the streets to the place where he would be raised.
While being mocked and ridiculed (which the statues here do not show) Jesus bears his cross,
falling under its weight for the first time