Pope Francis will preside over the Stations of the Cross, as the devotion returns to Rome's Colosseum for the first time since 2019.
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The meditations and prayers of the Way of the Cross on Good Friday, April 15, have been entrusted by Pope Francis to families linked to Catholic communities and volunteer associations. This invitations comes as part of the Year of the Family – Amoris Laetitia, said a statement from the Holy See Press Office.
This year, the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday will be held at the Colosseum for the first time since 2019, reviving a tradition started by Paul VI in 1970. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the ceremony was held in St. Peter’s Square in 2020 and 2021, and without the presence of the faithful.
Each year, different people are invited to write these meditations. During the pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, the writing of the Stations of the Cross was often entrusted to Church leaders, although not necessarily Catholics: Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople was chosen for Good Friday 1994. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was the author of the 2005 meditations, conducted just a few days before the death of John Paul II and his own election to the See of Peter.
This mission has also sometimes been entrusted to groups. In 2002, for example, the task of writing the meditations was given to journalists accredited to the Holy See Press Office. This practice has become more frequent under the current pontificate: young people from Lebanon prepared the meditations in 2013, followed by high school students in 2018, prisoners in 2020 and children in 2021. The latter had expressed, in texts supervised by their catechists, their views on the pandemic.
The Stations of the Cross on Good Friday will be presided over by Pope Francis on Friday, April 15, at 9:15 p.m., at the Colosseum. In connection with the chosen themes, families will be responsible for carrying the cross between the different stations.