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Change at Pope’s Via Crucis a sign of respect for Ukraine


Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 04/15/22

The poignant meditations written by suffering families reflected the various Crosses carried by Christians today.

The suffering of the Body of Christ was made apparent at the Via Crucis led by Pope Francis on Good Friday, April 15, at Rome’s Colosseum.

Moving meditations written by families in a variety of difficult or unexpected situations — grandparents caring for their grandkids, infertile couples, adoptive couples, migrant families, those who have suffered the death of a child, etc. — highlighted with each station the various crosses carried by those following Christ today.

A sign of respect for Ukraine

There was a modification for the 13th station, as instead of the reflection written by Russian and Ukrainian families, the guide invited all to pray in silence for peace in the world, saying that silence can be more powerful than words.

This modification came after various Ukrainian civil and Church officials protested that representatives of Russia and Ukraine portrayed as sharing together in suffering failed to adequately reflect the nature of the war.

Nevertheless, as planned, the two women representing both countries — the Ukrainian a nurse, the Russian a nursing student – stood beside each other and gripped  the cross together during the long moment of silence. At one point, the two friends, Albina and Irina, looked at each other for a long instant. Albina has explained, “I am Russian, but I don’t want the war.” 

The Via Crucis gathered a large crowd, eager to celebrate these Holy Days again after the long years of the pandemic.

Each held a candle within a red cup, adding to the solemnity of the prayers and meditations.

Read the poignant and varied meditations below.

Holy Week
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