For Pope Francis, Good Friday shrouded in grief over persecuted Christians

Rome, Italy, Apr 3, 2015 / 03:45 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Both Pope Francis' Good Friday service at the Vatican and the Stations of the Cross held at the Colosseum later in the day zeroed-in on the plight of persecuted Christians around the world. “In you, Divine Love, we see again today our persecuted brethren: beheaded, crucified, for their faith in you, beneath our eyes, or often with our complicit silence,” he said in a brief reflection April 3 following the Way of the … [Read more...]

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True martyrs die in prayer – not with clenched fists, papal preacher says

Vatican City, Apr 3, 2015 / 11:35 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In his homily for the celebration of the Passion of Our Lord on Good Friday, papal preacher Father Raniero Cantalamessa called for a spirit of forgiveness amid rising persecutions in the world. “True martyrs for Christ do not die with clenched fists but with their hands joined in prayer,” Fr. Cantelamessa said, according to the English translation published by Vatican Radio. His remarks come as news of 147 Christians … [Read more...]

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A Medieval devotion alive and well for a handful of modern Romans

Rome, Italy, Apr 3, 2015 / 04:51 am (CNA).- In the hours after evening Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday, a few pilgrims in Rome make their way to the Church of Saint Praxedes, home to a fragment of stone alleged to be the pillar upon which Jesus was scourged. Known as the Column of the Flagellation, the stone offers an object of contemplation for those visiting the church to reflect on Christ's Passion. This is especially true on Holy Thursday, when pilgrims traditionally go … [Read more...]

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What Holy Week looks like in a remote Indian diocese

Miao, India, Apr 3, 2015 / 04:29 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In the Diocese of Miao, located in India's northeasternmost state of Arunachal Pradesh, Bishop George Pallipparambil is not staying quietly in his cathedral for Holy Week, but is rather holding services across the diocese in an effort to better serve his people. “What we're trying to do is to reach to as many places as possible. I'm not confining myself to the main church in Miao,” the bishop told CNA April 1. … [Read more...]

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In Ukraine, Churches confront fearsome suffering

Kyiv, Ukraine, Apr 2, 2015 / 04:10 pm (Aid to the Church in Need).- Bishop Bronislaw Bernacki of Odessa-Simferopol was stunned by the Russian annexation of Crimea and the subsequent war in eastern Ukraine. “No one expected that another war would be carried out on European soil in this day and age,” the Roman Catholic prelate told international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need in March. The annexation has literally ripped apart his diocese, which was only established … [Read more...]

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Pope Francis to inmates: ‘I too need to be washed by the Lord’

Rome, Italy, Apr 2, 2015 / 12:23 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis on Holy Thursday told inmates of a Rome prison that God’s love is personal and endless, emphasizing that he too needs forgiveness and purification. “Today I will wash the feet of 12 of you, but among these brothers and sisters are all of you, all of you, all--all that live here. You represent them,” the Pope told inmates of the Rebibbia New Complex Prison at the April 2 Mass of the Lord’s Supper. However, Pope Francis stressed t … [Read more...]

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Passover and the Passion: Jewish roots enrich Holy Week celebrations

Washington D.C., Apr 2, 2015 / 07:54 am (CNA).- As Catholics around the globe prepare for the Easter Triduum, the three-day period beginning with Holy Thursday and culminating in the celebration of Easter, the Jewish community prepares for its own liturgical celebration of Passover, remembering how God freed their ancestors from slavery in Egypt. These two liturgical events are connected, and Catholics of Jewish origin stress that recognizing this connection can help give context and deepen … [Read more...]

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