Pope Will Lead Stations of the Cross for Christian Unity in the MIddle East

Preparing for good friday stations of the cross

Pope Francis will lead the Stations of the Cross tonight in the same Coliseum where early Christians were once martyred. 

The “games” that were fought there, in which gladiators fought to the death, ended due to the rise of Christianity and the respect for human life that it teaches. Pope Francis will lead those present in prayers and reflections written by Middle Eastern Christians. He will do this for the purpose of focusing our attention on the persecution Christians face in that part of the world.

I can think of no better way to make the point that following Christ is the way of the Cross than these prayers in this location. The symmetry is profound.

According to a CNA/EWTN article, the reflections will focus on ongoing violence in the MIddle East and Christian unity, as well as the abuse of women and children and the promotion of abortion. Six of them were written by representatives of six rites of Catholicism in Lebanon. The other eight were written by six different Catholic youth groups, a special needs group and a non-governmental organization.

From CNA/EWTN:

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Pope Francis will celebrate the Way of the Cross at the Coliseum on Friday evening, a solemn tradition that takes place by candle light every year.

Benedict XVI asked Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rai to choose a group of Lebanese to write the 14 meditations for the Way of the Cross and to supervise them. His wish was to raise awareness and increase prayers for the Arabic Christians living in the Middle East, following his visit to Lebanon in September 2012 … The meditations focus on ongoing violence in the Middle East and Christian disunity, as well as the abuse of women and children and the promotion of abortion.

Six of the reflections were written by representatives from the six rites of the Catholic Church in Lebanon: Latin, Maronite, Melkite, Armenian, Syriac and Chaldean. The remaining eight were composed by six different Catholic youth groups, a special needs group and a non-governmental organization … The young people who helped write the reflections arrived in Assisi from Lebanon on March 26, and they will later make their way to Rome. (Read more here.) 

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Stations of the Cross in Honor of Persecuted Middle Eastern Christians

In solidarity with the persecuted Christians in the Middle East, this is Wa Habibi, sung to the Stations of Cross in Arabic by Fairouz.

 

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Pope Francis: Preaching the Gospel Through Word and Deed

Pope Francis will use prayers written by two Lebanese young people when he leads the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday.

.- Pope Francis will celebrate a full schedule this Holy Week, including washing the feet of youth detainees and leading the Stations of the Cross at the Coliseum.

His six main events are: Chrism Mass at Saint Peter’s Basilica on Holy Thursday morning, followed by Mass at a youth detention center that evening, a Communion service and Stations of the Cross on Good Friday, Easter Vigil Mass on Saturday evening and Easter Mass on Sunday morning.

Pope Francis will start the week by celebrating Chrism Mass on March 28 with cardinals and other clergy from Rome at Saint Peter’s Basilica. During the Mass, the Pope will consecrate the oils that will be used throughout the year for Baptism, Confirmation and Anointing of the Sick.

In keeping with his practice in Buenos Aires, he will celebrate Holy Thursday Mass at Casal del Marmo youth detention center, instead of the Basilica of Saint John Lateran.

When he was the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, then-Cardinal Bergoglio celebrated the Mass in a prison, a hospital or a hospice for the poor and marginalized people. This time around he will be with youth offenders and will wash their feet.

On Good Friday, March 29, he will preside over a Communion service and the Veneration of the Cross in St. Peter’s Basilica at 5:00 p.m. local time.

The pontiff will then go to the Coliseum to lead the Stations of the Cross at 9:15 p.m. The prayers for the 14 stations were written by two Lebanese youths with the help of Cardinal Bechara Rai.

The Vatican chose the young Arabs to highlight the suffering of Christians in the Middle East and the growing urgency of their situation.

After the procession around the Coliseum, Pope Francis will give a speech to people gathered there and impart his apostolic blessing.

On Holy Saturday, the Pope will celebrate the first of two Easter Masses when he holds the Easter Vigil in St. Peter’s Basilica.

He will bless a fire in the atrium of St. Peter’s Basilica and enter in a procession with the Paschal candle singing the Easter Proclamation.

The Pope will then concelebrate Mass at 8:30 p.m. local time with the cardinals and impart the sacrament of Baptism, which is traditionally done in churches worldwide at this time of year.

On Sunday at 10:15 a.m. Pope Francis will celebrate Mass at St. Peter’s Square, which will finish with his “Urbi et Orbi” greeting and blessing from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica. (Read the rest here.) 

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