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Solemn, tender Via Crucis unites Pope and children in prayer

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 04/02/21

With reflections written by young people, the Pope leads Stations of the Cross in St. Peter's Square.

Pope Francis presided over a solemn yet tender Via Crucis this evening in St. Peter’s Square, as children read meditations that their peers had prepared, to reflect on the 14 stations of the Cross.

“You know that we children also have crosses to carry,” said the introduction to the Stations, which came about after one of Rome’s parish priests — Father d’Errico of the Parish of the Holy Martyrs of Uganda — organized a Lenten activity where the children of the parish prepared drawings and meditations for the Stations.

Some time later, the priest received a surprise call from the Vatican inviting him to draw inspiration from this experience to participate in the writing of the meditations.

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

Pope Francis has not visited the parish, but still has a personal link to it: One of the parishioners, a 30-year-old woman, recently died of Covid.

“The Pope telephoned the family of this only daughter,” Father d’Errico explained. “While the circumstance was terrible for them, they were supported by this phone call.”

“The fact that the Pope listens to such news like this and then makes himself close means that he takes into account all the injustices of everyday life,” reflected the priest.

Daily life, daily grace

The meditations used the simple experiences of the daily life of children to reach the depth of the mystery of sin, grace, and redemption.

One child recalled having to give up his grandmother’s homemade pasta in order to spend a Christmas Day helping the poor; another recounted her struggle to be generous in giving her beloved dolls to refugee children. Another station reflected on the awareness of sin, after the siblings had lied to their mom about doing homework.

The text of the meditations can be found below; the booklet used for the service also had the children’s drawings.


Read more:
Meditations for Way of the Cross to be led by pope, written by youth (text)

The meditations used during the Good Friday Via Crucis also included thoughts from a troop of Italian scouts in Umbria and residents of two group homes for disadvantaged young people in Rome. Fifteen children and young adults carried the cross and torches.

Another 70 youth were present, representing the children and young people who worked on the reflections for each Station. At the end of the prayer, a handful of the kids were able to personally greet the Holy Father.

Good Friday
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