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  • » 03/24/2009, 00.00

    INDIA

    Indian bishop: pope's request for Via Crucis meditations shows love for Asia

    Nirmala Carvalho

    Archbishop Menamparampil tells AsiaNews about his reaction to the announcement. For Good Friday, he recommends looking at Jesus in front of Pontius Pilate. His courage and serenity should inspire our lives today: we are not a persecuted Church, but a people of hope.

    Mumbai (AsiaNews) - "I have drawn much inspiration from the fearlessness of Christ before Pontius Pilate, who was at that moment in history the most powerful force, as he represented the Roman emperor. Christ was able to stand fearlessly only because of his inner rectitude and inner uprightness and the confidence and guarantee that he was sustained by Truth."

    Thomas Menamparampil, archbishop of Guwahati, tells AsiaNews about how he approached the task entrusted to him by the pope, of writing the meditations for the Via Crucis on Good Friday at the Colosseum.

    Menamparampil heard the news while he was in Mariampur, in the state of Assam, with 260 young candidates, postulants, and novices from 11 religious congregations and seminaries in his diocese. The bishop says "I was overwhelmed to be asked," and sees this choice by Benedict XVI as a sign that "His Holiness regards very highly the identity of Asia," "the cradle of civilization," "moreover, our Holy Father has a prophetic vision for Asia, a continent much cherished by him and his pontificate."

    For the Indian bishop, the image of Jesus in front of Pontius Pilate is an exhortation for all Christians today, and especially those of India. "At that time in history, it was ‘culturally’ unthinkable for a person of such a humble background (like Christ) to stand so fearlessly before Pilate. Yet, Jesus stood alone before Pontius Pilate with a deep conviction and calmness, his attitude was calm and reflected his own inner rectitude and serenity. Christ was non-aggressive and non-threatening and completely unafraid, without playing victim and devoid of anxiety. This fearlessness of Christ is the inspiration of our lives and situation - not a persecuted Church, but a Church with a future, a people with a future, a people with Hope."

    A faith that is solid and anchored in the message of the Gospel is "a major source of hope in hard times." Menamparampil confirms that he wanted to mention various places in the meditations for the Via Crucis, "from the Himalayas to the Alps and Americas. May the message of Christ echo to all the ends and corners of the world to enrich humanity." Archbishop Menamparampil, who is also the chairman of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conference Commission for Evangelisation, says that he is convinced that "living out our faith leads to an enhanced human development in every field of life." And "a person with deep faith," the bishop asserts, "will be able to enrich society through development and also build bridges of understanding, peace and harmony."

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    See also

    22/03/2008 VATICAN
    Let the cross unsettle our human certainties, says the Pope
    Presiding over the rite of the Via Crucis, Benedict XVI calls for conversion. Jesus calls each one of us “friend,” yet many believe they can live without the need for God.

    04/04/2007 VATICAN
    Pope: in a world of inflated words, let us rediscover silence and meditation
    In his weekly general audience, Benedict XVI reflects on the Easter Tridium, beginning tomorrow, in which we relive the Pascal mystery; “not just a memorial to the past but a present reality: today, Christ’s love continues to defeat sin and death”.

    08/04/2009 VATICAN
    Pope to travel to Abruzzi as soon as possible to meet quake victims
    Papal visit will come soon but not right away. In today’s general audience address Benedict XVI talked about the rituals of Holy Week, which “for us Christians is the most important moment of the year” and which “enables us to immerse ourselves in the central events of Redemption.”

    02/04/2012 VATICAN - CUBA
    With Good Friday recognised as a holiday, Benedict XVI wins "small" victory
    The Holy See welcomes the Cuban government's decision to make it easier for people to attend Good Friday celebrations. The Catholic Church seeks greater space and freedom on the island.

    03/04/2015 VATICAN – ITALY
    Pope: we see our persecuted and crucified brothers and sisters in the Crucifix “before our eyes, or often in our silent complicity”
    People from Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, Egypt, China and the Holy Land carry the Cross during the Via Crucis. An excerpt from the spiritual testament of Shahbaz Bhatti, a Pakistani Christian, was read. “May the fundamental right of religious freedom spread throughout the world,” the pope said in a prayer. Lest we forget, “In the cruelties of your Passion we see the cruelty of our hearts and our actions. In your feel abandoned we see all abandoned by their families, by society, by the attention and by solidarity.”



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