03/25/2005, 00.00
VATICAN
Send to a friend

I am present spiritually and with my sufferings on the Way of the Cross, says the Pope

Rome (AsiaNews) – "I, too, offer my sufferings, that the will of God be fulfilled and His word spread among the people. I also feel close to those who, in this moment, are being tried by suffering. I pray for each one of them."

For the first time in 26 years the Holy Father could only be present 'spiritually' at the traditional Good Friday ceremony of the Way of the Cross near the Coliseum because of the sufferings caused by his illness.

However, the tens of thousands of faithful who had gathered in prayer near the ancient Roman landmark were still able to hear the Pope's vibrant message, a message that showed that in participating in the Way of the Cross he was participating in the "sufferings of Christ".

In the message, which Card Camillo Ruini read at the beginning of the ritual, John Paul II also said: "On this day in which we remember Christ crucified, I gaze upon and adore the Cross with you and I repeat the words of the liturgy: 'O crux, ave spes unica!' Hail, oh Cross, our only hope, give us patience and courage and attain peace for the world!"

Around the Coliseum giant video screens showed the Pope praying before the altar in his private chapel holding this year's Meditations written by Card Joseph Ratzinger; in front of the altar in the papal chapel a TV screen gave the Holy Father the possibility of following the prayers at the Coliseum. Thus both were united in a single Way of the Cross.

In his chapel, when the time came for the Cross to be carried, the Pontiff looked at a crucifix he held in his hands, whilst along the Via Crucis, stations after station, Cross was carried first by Cardinal Ruini and then other members of the suffering and universal Church: two friars from the Holy Land, a nun from India, a woman from South Korea, a family from Rome, a woman from Sri Lanka, a family from Albania, an immigrant woman now living in Italy, and a young man from the archdiocese of Khartoum (Sudan).

Here is the message the Pope sent to the participants of the Way of the Cross:

"Brother and Sisters,

I am with you spiritually at the Coliseum, a place that evokes so many memories and emotions in me, to carry out the evocative rite of the Stations of the Cross this Good Friday evening

"I unite myself with you in the meaningful invocation 'Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi, quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum' (We adore you Oh Christ and we praise you, because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world). Yes, we adore and bless the mystery of the Cross of the Son of God, because precisely from that death a new hope for humanity has arisen.

"The adoration of the Cross refers us to a commitment we cannot ignore: the mission expressed by St Paul with the words: 'I fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ, for the good of his body which is the Church' (Colossians, 1, 24).

"I, too, offer my sufferings, that the will of God be fulfilled and His word spread among the people. I also feel close to those who, in this moment, are being tried by suffering. I pray for each one of them.

"On this day in which we remember Christ crucified, I gaze upon and adore the Cross with you and I repeat the words of the liturgy: 'O crux, ave spes unica!'

"Hail, oh Cross, our only hope, give us patience and courage and attain peace for the world!

"With these sentiments, I bless you and all those who participate in this Way of the Cross through radio or television."

From the Vatican, 25 March 2005

John Paul II 

Send to a friend
Printable version
CLOSE X
See also
The Way of the Cross, the 'filth' in the Church and the 'decay' of ideologies
25/03/2005
Pope talks about the Middle East, the Holy Land and the food crisis with Bush
13/06/2008
Let us contemplate the face that changed the world, that answered hatred with love, says Pope
10/04/2009
A moved Pope appears and blesses the faithful
23/03/2005
Pope says this is the time of the Cross, Love, Glory
10/04/2004