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.
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.)