27 Jul 2013

WYD 2013 - Via Crucis (The Way of the Cross)

From Vatican Radio:
Pope Francis prayed the Via crucis on Friday evening with [an estimated 1.5 million] pilgrims gathered for World Youth Day celebrations in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Nearly 300 artists and volunteers from several countries including the United States animated the popular devotion. The meditations accompanying each of the 14 stations depicting the principal episodes of Christ’s Passion, death and burial focused on a theme of particular significance in the life of contemporary youth, including: mission, conversion, community, and vocation; others involved pressing social challenges and existential issues such as suffering, illness and mortality. The texts of the meditations were prepared by a pair of Brazilian priests, Fr. José Zezinho and Fr. João Joãozinho, both of whom are well known in their native country for their work with young people.

In remarks to the pilgrims, Pope Francis spoke of the Cross of Christ as the source of hope, to which anyone and everyone can and ought to bring his deepest joys, sufferings and failures. The Holy Father also spoke of Christ’s Cross as a challenge to all of us: an invitation to allow ourselves to be smitten by his love, as well as a lesson and a reminder to us always to look upon others with mercy and tenderness – especially the suffering, and those we meet who are in distress and need help, whether in the form of a word of encouragement, or a concrete action that could take us beyond ourselves
You can read full text of Pope Francis address HERE.

Photos from Vatican Radio Facebook page HERE.

Vatican Radio's correspondant Sean Lovitt has been covering WYD all week and his personal commentaries have been excellent. Read/listen to his report from the Via Crucis last night HERE.

Quotes from the address:

.... Jesus, with his Cross, walks with us and takes upon himself our fears, our problems, and our sufferings, even those which are deepest and most painful. With the Cross, Jesus unites himself to the silence of the victims of violence, those who can no longer cry out, especially the innocent and the defenceless; with the Cross, he is united to families in trouble, those who mourn the loss of their children, or who suffer when they see them fall victim to false paradises, such as that offered by drugs. On the Cross, Jesus is united with every person who suffers from hunger in a world where tons of food are thrown out each day; on the Cross, Jesus is united with those who are persecuted for their religion, for their beliefs or simply for the colour of their skin; on the Cross, Jesus is united with so many young people who have lost faith in political institutions, because they see in them only selfishness and corruption; he unites himself with those young people who have lost faith in the Church, or even in God because of the counter-witness of Christians and ministers of the Gospel.

.....What has the Cross given to those who have gazed upon it or touched it? What has it left in each one of us? It gives us a treasure that no one else can give: the certainty of the unshakable love which God has for us. A love so great that it enters into our sin and forgives it, enters into our suffering and gives us the strength to bear it. It is a love which enters into death to conquer it and to save us. The Cross of Christ contains all the love of God, his immeasurable mercy. This is a love in which we can place all our trust, in which we can believe.....

.......the Cross of Christ invites us also to allow ourselves to be smitten by his love, teaching us always to always look upon others with mercy and tenderness, especially those who suffer, who are in need of help, who need a word or a concrete action which requires us to step outside ourselves to meet them and to extend a hand to them....

....Dear friends, let us bring to Christ’s Cross our joys, our sufferings and our failures. There we will find a Heart that is open to us and understands us, forgives us, loves us and calls us to bear this love in our lives, to love each person, each brother and sister, with the same love. Amen!......

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