Way of the Cross 2017

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Way of the Cross on Palm Sunday organized by the JPIC Commission secretariat beginning with Eucharistic celebration at the Divine Word Missionaries Via dei Verbiti 1 at 9:00. Please bring your Palms and it will be in Italian English Spanish and Portuguese. Route Piazza dei Partiggiani – Piramide –Testaccio – PortaPortese – San Francesco a Ripa – San Calisto – S. Maria in Trastevere – S. Egidio – S. Maria della Luce – Fatebene Fratelli Hospital – S. Bartolomeo Tiber Island.

INTRODUCTION: The way of the cross is a sojourn of the soul inviting us to remember that we are faith walkers, compassionate pilgrims and not sightseers or tourists.  As such, this journey takes us to places, memories and realities where we’d rather not go or about which we would rather not think. By walking this way with Jesus suffering now in so many of our brothers and sisters, we feel again their pain, aloneness and suffering. We are urged once again to be full of care for and empathy with our brothers and sisters.

This year 2017’s reflection is based on Pope Francis’ Message for the World Day of Peace entitled: Nonviolence: A Style of Politics for Peace.  In his message, He repeats his observation that “we find ourselves engaged in a horrifying world war fought piecemeal” or world war three “in installments.” His message is that active nonviolence is the only sure way to peace: “Violence is not the cure for our broken world.” The pope asks us to go beyond the surface of a conflict, see others in their “deepest dignity” and “make active nonviolence our way of life.” “Whoever accepts the Good News of Jesus is able to acknowledge the violence within and be healed by God’s mercy, becoming in turn an instrument of reconciliation.”

As we visit various places and stop at monuments that mark historical events of people who lived here before us, let us remember that a follower of Christ cannot desire freedom from the cross which is the nonviolent symbol of love for he or she was specifically chosen to be the disciple of nonviolent love – Jesus Christ. ITALIAN

FIRST STATION: Jesus is Condemned to Death ENGLISH

L:   We adore you O Christ and we praise you

All: By your death you have redeemed the world and its people.

Stazione Ostiense – This Station was built by Mussolini to welcome Hitler to Rome in 1942. We call to mind the dictators and dictatorships of the past and, more importantly, those that exist now and the cruelty, havoc and suffering they are having on their people and the world.

Scripture: While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived, accompanied by a large crowd, with swords and clubs, who had come from the chief priests and the elders of the people. His betrayer had arranged a sign with them, saying, “The man I shall kiss is the one; arrest him.”Immediately he went over to Jesus and said, “Hail, Rabbi!” and he kissed him. Jesus answered him, “Friend, do what you have come for.” Then stepping forward they laid hands on Jesus and arrested him. And behold, one of those who accompanied Jesus put his hand to his sword, drew it, and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his ear.

Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its sheath, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” (Matthew 26:47-52)

Reflection: Jesus himself lived in violent times. Yet he taught that the true battlefield, where violence and peace meet, is the human heart: for “it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come” (Mk 7:21). But Christ’s message in this regard offers a radically positive approach. He unfailingly preached God’s unconditional love, which welcomes and forgives. He taught his disciples to love their enemies (cf. Mt 5:44) and to turn the other cheek (cf. Mt 5:39). When he stopped her accusers from stoning the woman caught in adultery (cf. Jn 8:1-11), and when, on the night before he died, he told Peter to put away his sword (cf. Mt 26:52), Jesus marked out the path of nonviolence. (Pope Francis WDP 2017 message no.3)

Let us pray together: Dear God, we wish peace to every man, woman and child, and we pray that the image and likeness of God in each person will enable us to acknowledge one another as sacred gifts endowed with immense dignity. Especially in situations of conflict, let us respect this, our “deepest dignity”, and make active nonviolence our way of life. Amen.(Pope Francis WDP 2017 message no.1)

Sung Refrain: Grant to us, O God, a heart renewed, Recreate in us your own spirit, Lord

SECOND STATION: Jesus takes up the Cross SPANISH

L:   We adore you O Christ and we praise you

All: By your death you have redeemed the world and its people.

Piazzale Ostiense–The Monument erected in 1995 on the 50th anniversary of memory of the victims of Nazi – Fascism, five types of people that were discriminated and condemned to be deported to concentration camps: Homosexuals, immigrants, the gypsies, Jews and political adversaries.

Scripture: Jesus called the people with his disciples and said to them, “If any want to be my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (Mark 8:34)

Reflection: Saint Francis of Assisi said “If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.” We live in the time of diversity. In our local neighborhood, we experience different nationalities, different cultures, different values, different religions, hear different languages and so on. Let us be the witness of compassion and pity, not exclusion and indifference. Let us carry our own cross, the cross which invites all humankind to salvation.

Let us pray together: Dear God, you invited us to carry our own cross and follow you. Open our heart to our sisters and brothers of a different culture, orientation, race, religion, belief and country. Give us strength to carry the cross to witness your love.

Sung Refrain: Grant to us, O God, a heart renewed, Recreate in us your own spirit, Lord

THIRD STATION: Jesus falls for the first time PORTUGUESE

L:   We adore you O Christ and we praise you

All: By your death you have redeemed the world and its people.

This Aurelian Walls (Mura Aureliane): This Aurelian Walls (Mura Aureliane) are a line of city walls built between 271 AD and 275 AD during the reign of the  Emperors Aurelian and Probus. They superseded the earlier Servian Wall built during the 4th century BC.The walls enclosed all the seven hills of Rome plus the Campus Martius and, on the right bank of the Tiber, the Trastevere district. The size of the entire enclosed area is 1,400 hectares (3,500 acres). This wall was built to protect people against outside violence.

Scripture: “But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his wounds we are healed”. (Isaiah 53:5).

Reflection 1: Along the slow and final journey of his mission, Jesus succumbs under the weight of the consequences of his choice. All the heavy burdens of human weakness which, in moments of fear and pain, are capable of betraying and condemning weighs upon His shoulders and brings Him to the ground. He is blended in with the material from which every human being is made. That is the earth from which every human is drawn to be free, to live as sister and brother. But with this same earth we erect walls. Apparently walls serve to protect, but in fact, they, end up growing selfishness, division, pride, separation, prejudice and death.

Reflection 2: When human beings feel unsafe there is a tendency to build walls. This is unlike Jesus who became a bridge between God and us. When we feel afraid of other human beings, this project of Jesus for us collapses. Pope Francis often appeals “not to create walls but to build bridges; to defeat evil with good, the offence with forgiveness; an offence you overcome with forgiveness.”

Reflection 3: Mahatma Gandhi, the well-known master of non-violence, experienced many times in his life the meaning of facing the social walls that overwhelm and weigh on people shoulders. Fighting against prejudice and division in the society, he always defended life and the peaceful way to solve problems. Gandhi said: “A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act”. Then, he added: “There are many causes I would die for. There is not a single cause I would kill for.”

Let us pray together: Lord Jesus, help us, with your grace, to bring down the real and imaginary walls created by our sins. Please, strengthen our courage, so that we may be signs of life and hope, building bridges instead of walls. Help us to set free the sons and daughters of God oppressed by injustice, prejudice, war and corruption. May we, like Mahatma Gandhi and many others, be able to dream and affirm the value of love with the testimony our life. Amen

(Let us stretch out our two hands toward the wall like we were pushing out all the walls we build in our mind and our heart and repeat together three times: We are bridge builders!)

FOURTH STATION: Jesus meets his mother ITALIAN

L:   We adore you O Christ and we praise you

All: By your death you have redeemed the world and its people.

Military Cemetery near Monte Testaccio – we stand in awe and sadness – the sheer number of graves of soldiers from other countries, the allied forces, who came to defend Rome during World War II. War is always a tragedy and there are never really winners, only deaths, suffering, pain, loss of infrastructure, land and cultural achievements. And in this cemetery are all those who were not permitted to receive a Catholic burial.

Scripture: Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted. And you yourself a sword will pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”(Luke2:34,35)

Reflection: Martin Luther King said, “Non-violence is a powerful and just weapon. It is a weapon unique in history, which cuts without wounding and enables the one who wields it. It is a sword that heals. With a practical and moral answer to the oppressed peoples’ cry for justice, non-violent direct action proved that it could win victories without losing wars.”

Let us pray together: Mary, mother of Jesus, you stand shoulder to shoulder with us today. Give us the courage not to look away but to look toward the light and the Truth, your son, Jesus, who illuminates hope and unity. Help us to hold in our hearts the truth in love and unity with sisters and brothers of the universe. Amen

Sung Refrain: Grant to us, O God, a heart renewed, Recreate in us your own spirit, Lord

FIFTH STATION: Jesus is helped by Simon ENGLISH

L:   We adore you O Christ and we praise you

All: By your death you have redeemed the world and its people.

Lutheran Church opposite the Cemeteryas we stand before this Church we are reminded of the suffering in the world due to the lack of unity among Christians and the hurt we have caused each other through our accusations, words and judgments.

Scripture: “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.  I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (Jn 17:20-21)

Reflection: Pope Francis reminds us that “Active nonviolence is a way of showing that unity is truly more powerful and more fruitful than conflict.  Everything in the world is inter-connected. Certainly differences can cause frictions.  But let us face them constructively and non-violently, so that “tensions and oppositions can achieve a diversified and life-giving unity,” preserving “what is valid and useful on both sides”. (Pope Francis World day of peace message, n.6)

To help carry each other’s cross of nonviolent love is part of the purpose of the Christian community, the Peace community. To love without condition, to serve without  desiring reciprocation, to suffer without desiring retaliation and to reconcile without desiring domination.

Let us pray together: Let us give a hand to many of our brothers and sisters who have grown weary and fallen under the harsh and dreadful weight of the cross of nonviolent love. Jesus, help us with your unfailing love because often we fail to love heroically like you, simply because we are not Simon-like in our relations with those who think and act differently.

Sung Refrain: Grant to us, O God, a heart renewed, Recreate in us your own spirit, Lord.

SIXTH STATION: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus PORTUGUESE

L:   We adore you O Christ and we praise you

All: By your death you have redeemed the world and its people.

Monte Testaccio: This hill is about 50 meters high and over 1 kilometer in perimeter. In former days it was a dumping place for the amphorae (clay jars) used for transporting olive oil from Andalusia. However, the amphorae could not be recycled but there was a controlled way of disposing of them. The concern of that generation made it to become a nice hill. An intelligent way of taking care of our mother earth will grant a future to the next generation.

Scripture: “[Jesus] went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources”. (Luke 8, 2).

Reflection 1: Pope Francis says about the earth in Laudato Si’ n. 2: “This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life. We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth (cf. Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters”.

Reflection 2: Sister Dorothy Mae Stang, an US-born, member of the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, was murdered in Anapu, a city in the state of Pará, in the Amazon Basin of Brazil. Sister Stang had been outspoken in her efforts on behalf of the poor and the environment, and had previously received death threats from loggers and landowners.

“I light a candle and look at Jesus on the cross and ask for the strength to carry the suffering of the people. Don’t worry about my safety. The safety of the people is what’s important. I know they want to kill me, but I will not go away. My place is here alongside these people who are constantly humiliated by persons who consider themselves powerful. We are a global people–one family. We need to be poor with the poor and re-appropriate a kind and tender relationship with Mother-Earth.”

Reflection 3: Berta Isabel Cáceres Flores, a Honduran environmental activist, indigenous leader of her people, and co-founder and coordinator of the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) was murdered in her home by armed intruders, after years of threats against her life. She said: “I cannot freely walk on my territory or swim in the sacred river and I am separated from my children because of the threats. I cannot live in peace, I am always thinking about being killed or kidnapped. But I refuse to go into exile. I am a human rights fighter and I will not give up this fight”.

Let us pray together: “All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures. You embrace with your tenderness all that exists. Pour out upon us the power of your love, that we may protect life and beauty. Fill us with peace, that we may live as brothers and sisters, harming no one. Amen”. (Laudato Si’)

Sung Refrain: Grant to us, O God, a heart renewed, Recreate in us your own spirit, Lord.

SEVENTH STATION: Jesus falls for the second time PORTUGUESE

L:   We adore you O Christ and we praise you

All: By your death you have redeemed the world and its people.

The Ancient Port of Rome: This port reminds us of colonialism and the practice of stealing from the conquered and enslaved countries their resources, goods and precious metals and, most horrific of all, their people for slaves.

Scripture: “Then an angel from heaven appeared and gave him strength. In his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground”. (Luke 22, 44).

Reflection 1: The walk of Jesus is long and difficult. The steps are slow, the forces diminish; he feels the fatigue and the weight of the cross. So, the falls are repeated. Today, on our way there are many difficulties. We feel the weight of the cross in the present day forms of exploitation: “We know that we had transatlantic slavery and that this ended more than 200 years ago. Now we have new forms of slavery. And human trafficking is part of that. Human trafficking is the slavery of modern times. ” (Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, of the UN on Human Trafficking).

Reflection 2: In South Africa, Desmond Tuttu archbishop emeritus of Cape Town and Nobel Peace Prize winner organized those of good will to fight against slavery. Let us listen to some of his words: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality”. The former South African President Nelson Mandela was also a fighter for the union between peoples and in his struggle for the right to LIFE let us learn that together and with faith we can transform the weight of the cross into a space of LIFE in fullness. “Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.”

Let us pray together: Lord Jesus Christ, who through your death and resurrection has given us new life, give us the grace of conversion. Allow us to learn the lesson of Nelson Mandela when he says: “Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again”. Be open, my heart. Be as expansive as God’s own heart. Be open to bringing hope. Be open to caring. Be open to listening. Be open to pouring balm upon every wound. Be open to bringing light to those living in darkness. Protect and console, today, tomorrow and always. Amen.

EIGHTH STATION:  Jesus speaks to the women of Jerusalem SPANISH

L:   We adore you O Christ and we praise you

All: By your death you have redeemed the world and its people.

Porta Portese: This is the Sunday market, the place where the poor people of Rome and foreigners come, those who cannot afford the costs of goods in most of the stores in this city. We think about our patterns of consumerism, our seemingly unending needs. And we think about the many people who labor and sweat in unsafe and terrible conditions to produce the products we buy.

Scripture: Jesus turning to them said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never gave suck!’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us’; and to the hills, ‘Cover us’. For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?” (Luke. 23:28-31)

Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” (Lk 12:13-15)

Reflection: “Governments, the private sector and civil society, including people of faith, need to work together to establish a just global economic system and bridge the enormous gap between the rich and the poor. A just economic system and just structures for ensuring access to a dignified life for all God’s children are powerful nonviolent tools for avoiding perpetual violence and war. To accomplish the agenda set forth by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals it is imperative that these efforts be sustained by international peace.” (Pope Francis, WDP Message 2017).

Prayer: Slow us down, O Lord, this Lent, so that we may understand the darkness in which we live, the darkness that comes with wanting more and the fear of having less. Grant us the light of transformation as we wait for your Resurrection. Give us the victory that is our true security, the victory that gives us freedom. Your new Life embraces all, enriches all, and calls us all to walk justly in right relationships. Sung Refrain: Sung Refrain: Grant to us, O God, a heart renewed, Recreate in us your own spirit, Lord

NINTH STATION: Jesus falls for the third time ITALIAN

L:   We adore you O Christ and we praise you

All: By your death you have redeemed the world and its people.

Church of San Francesco a Ripa: When St. Francis of Assisi visited here, there was a leprosarium in this area. Today we call to mind not only persons living with leprosy today but also the many people who are considered the new lepers of today, the untouchables – the persons who are HIV+ and those living with AIDS.

Scripture: When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” (Mt. 8:1-4).

Reflection: Like St. Francis, Mother Teresa of Calcutta is “a symbol, an icon of our times” “through her welcome and defense of human life, those unborn and those abandoned and discarded… She bowed down before those who were spent, left to die on the side of the road, seeing in them their God-given dignity; she made her voice heard before the powers of this world, so that they might recognize their guilt for the crimes – the crimes! – of poverty they created. In response, her mission we are challenged to reach out to the suffering, with generous dedication, touching and binding up every wounded body, healing every broken life. (Pope Francis, WDP Message 2017).

Let us pray together: Loving Father and Mother there is nothing that You cannot do and no one that is outside of Your sphere of knowledge – Your word says that You defend the cause of widows and orphans – that you rescue the weak , the sick, the needy and that You set the lonely in families. We pray that You would work a mighty work in the lives of all those around the globe that are abandoned, orphaned or simply uncared for and provide for each of their needs according to Your riches in mercy and grace.

Sung Refrain: Grant to us, O God, a heart renewed, Recreate in us your own spirit, Lord

TENTH STATION: Jesus is stripped of his clothes ENGLISH

L:   We adore you O Christ and we praise you

All: By your death you have redeemed the world and its people.

Piazza San Calisto, Trastevere: We gather in this space, the site of Vatican offices of the Dicastery for Integral Human Development and Caritas Internationalis. We recall the words of the 1971 World Synod Document, Justice in the World: “While the Church is bound to give witness to justice, she recognizes that anyone who ventures to speak to people about justice must first be just in their eyes. Hence we must undertake an examination of the modes of acting and of the possessions and life style found within the Church herself.” (#40).

Scripture: “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. (Mt 5:13-15)

Reflection: Refugee and migrant children and women are routinely suffering sexual violence, exploitation, abuse and detention along the Central Mediterranean migration route from North Africa to Italy (UNICEF report, 2017). Nearly half the women and children interviewed had experienced sexual abuse during migration – often multiple times and in multiple locations, according to the report, with “widespread and systematic” sexual violence at crossings and checkpoints. In addition, about three-quarters of all the children interviewed said that they had “experienced violence, harassment or aggression at the hands of adults” including beatings, verbal and emotional abuse. “May we dedicate ourselves prayerfully and actively to banishing violence from our hearts, words and deeds, and to becoming nonviolent people and to build nonviolent communities that care for our common home. “Nothing is impossible if we turn to God in prayer. Everyone can be an artisan of peace”. (Pope Francis, WDP Message 2017).

Let us pray together: Dear God, we remember all those who have suffered and are suffering because of the Church’s inability to live faithfully these words. We pray, in particular, for the victims of Child abuse by clergy. Holy Spirit, comforter of hearts, heal your people’s wounds and transform our brokenness. Grant us courage and wisdom, humility and grace, so that we may act with justice and find peace in you. Amen

Sung Refrain: Grant to us, O God, a heart renewed, Recreate in us your own spirit, Lord

ELEVENTH STATION: Jesus is nailed to the cross SPANISH

L:   We adore you O Christ and we praise you

All: By your death you have redeemed the world and its people.

Santa Maria in Trastevere – Santa Maria in Trastevere – this is the site of one of the oldest churches in the city. A Christian house-church was founded here about 220 by Pope Saint Callixtus I on the site of the Tabernameritoria, an asylum for retired soldiers. Emperor Septimius Severus gave the area to Christians when he settled a dispute between them and the tavern-keepers, saying, according to the Liber Pontificalis, “I prefer that it should belong to those who honor God, whatever be their form of worship.” Thus this first Christian Church of Rome was built when the Roman community of Christians started to grow and persecution increased.

Scripture: “So they took Jesus, and carrying the cross himself he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus in the middle. Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” (John 19: 17-19)

Reflection: Around the world, many believers have been persecuted — imprisoned, even killed — for their faith. And such evil happens often in the name of God.

Pope Francis said “The Church has been involved in nonviolent peace building strategies in many countries, engaging even the most violent parties in efforts to build a just and lasting peace. Such efforts on behalf of the victims of injustice and violence are not the legacy of the Catholic Church alone, but are typical of many religious traditions, for which “compassion and nonviolence are essential elements pointing to the way of life”. I emphatically reaffirm that “no religion is terrorist”. Violence profanes the name of God. Let us never tire of repeating: “The name of God cannot be used to justify violence. Peace alone is holy. Peace alone is holy, not war!”(Pope Francis WDP 2017 message no.4)

Let us pray together: Make me a channel of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me bring your love;
where there is injury, your pardon, Lord; and where there’s doubt, true faith in you.

Make me a channel of your peace. Where there’s despair in life, let me bring hope;
where there is darkness, only light; and where there’s sadness, ever joy.

O Master, grant that I may never seek, so much to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love with all my soul.

Make me a channel of your peace. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
in giving to all men that we receive, and in dying that we’re born to eternal life.

Sung Refrain: Grant to us, O God, a heart renewed, Recreate in us your own spirit, Lord

TWELFTH STATION: Jesus dies on the cross ITALIAN

L:   We adore you O Christ and we praise you

All: By your death you have redeemed the world and its people.

San Egidio, Trastevere: This house is home to many generous and dedicated laity and volunteers who, in response to an invitation from God and others, give themselves in service of their brothers and sisters throughout the world. Here women and men come to be enriched so that they can enrich their sisters and brothers.

Scripture: From noon onward, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And about three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lemasabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”Some of the bystanders who heard it said, “This one is calling for Elijah.”Immediately one of them ran to get a sponge; he soaked it in wine, and putting it on a reed, gave it to him to drink. But the rest said, “Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to save him.”But Jesus cried out again in a loud voice, and gave up his spirit. (Matthew 27: 45-50)

Animator: Let us have a moment of silence, thank Jesus for his sacrifice and love for people. After that, we are invited to mention the name of martyrs, who sacrificed their life for others.

Let us pray together: O God, we give thanks for the many people throughout the world who, inspired by You and your message, respond to your invitation to give of themselves in service to others. We pray for their courage and strength on the journey to a better world for all. Amen.

Sung Refrain: Grant to us, O God, a heart renewed, Recreate in us your own spirit, Lord

THIRTEENTH STATION: Jesus is taken down from the Cross PORTUGUESE

L:   We adore you O Christ and we praise you

All: By your death you have redeemed the world and its people.

St. Maria della Luce Church: This is an ancient church in Rome, founded by Saint Bonosa, it was originally known as San Salvatore in Corte. The current name of the church dates from 1730, when a series of miracles were linked to an icon painted on the exterior of a nearby house, which was seen to emit light. The image was then transferred to the Church, and the name was changed. From 2003, the church became a home for the Latin-American Mission, which aims to serve migrants from the Diocese of Rome. Here, we want to make memory of our great Latin American pastor and Master of non-violence, Mons. Oscar Romero.

Scripture: “The centurion and those with him, who were keeping watch over Jesus… said, ‘Truly this man was God’s Son!’. Many women were also there … Among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee”. (Mark 15,39)

Reflection 1: Jesus is dead. Everyone leaves, but Mary stays, because Jesus is there. Only a small group of friends helped to take down his body from the cross. When we stand firm with those victims of violence we are proclaiming the values of the Gospel. Today we see around us so many people who need to be taken down from the cross of hunger, lack of work, lack of housing and from violence. Jesus is the supreme model of nonviolence. At the cross, every form of violence was defeated. Monsignor Oscar Romero, courageously denounced the numerous violations of human rights in El Salvador.

Reflection 2: Let us listen to the words of blessed Oscar Romero: “I ought to say that, as a Christian, I do not believe in death without resurrection. If they kill me, I will rise again in the people of El Salvador. I’m not boasting; I say it with the greatest humility. I am bound as pastor by a divine command to give my life for those whom I love, and that means all Salvadorians, even those who are going to kill me. If they manage to carry out their threats, as of now, I offer my blood for the redemption and resurrection of El Salvador. If God accepts the sacrifice of my life, then may my blood be the seed of liberty and the sign that hope will soon become a reality. May my death, if it is accepted by God, be for the liberation of my people, as a witness of hope in what is to come. You can tell them that, if they succeed in killing me, I pardon and bless those who do it”.

Reflection 3: I will not tire of declaring that if we really want an effective end to violence we must remove the violence that lies at the root of all violence: structural violence, social injustice, exclusion of citizens from the management of the country, repression. All this is what constitutes the primal cause, from which the rest flows naturally”.

Reflection 4: Shahbaz Bhatti, was a Pakistani politician elected member of the National Assembly from 2008. He was the first Federal Minister for Minorities Affairs from November 2008 until his assassination on 2 March 2011 in Islamabad. Bhatti, a Roman Catholic, was an outspoken critic of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws and the only Christian in the Cabinet. Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for his killing and called him a blasphemer. Like him, many other Christians and people committed to the promotion of human rights have been killed in different places of the world. He said: “I made it clear that I will consider – this is the important phrase I am trying to say – myself most fortunate if Jesus Christ will accept the sacrifice of my blood to raise the voice for the justice and rights of the persecuted and victimized Christians and other minorities in Pakistan”.

Let us pray together: Dear Jesus, from you we learn that the essence of life is to love! It extends our heart to the measure of yours. Make our hearts welcoming as yours. Like Mary, you’re Mother, make us persons who welcome all those who have fallen. With her we want to help all the crucified ones of today to come down from the cross. Help us to repeat with our lives what Monsignor Romero said: Let us not tire of preaching love; it is the force that will overcome the world. Let us not tire of preaching love. Though we see that waves of violence succeed in drowning the fire of Christian love, love must win out; it is the only thing that can. Amen.

Sung Refrain: Grant to us, O God, a heart renewed, Recreate in us your own spirit, Lord

FOURTEENTH STATION: Jesus is placed in the tomb ENGLISH

Hospital Fatebenefratelli, Tiber Island: – This hospital reminds us of the many sick persons in our world who are suffering from physical and mental illnesses and of the persons who are dying especially in areas of conflict and violence.

Scripture: “When Pilate learned from the centurion that Jesus was dead, he gave the body to Joseph.  So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.” (Mk 15:45-47).

Reflection: The last operating hospital in east Aleppo has been destroyed by airstrikes in November 2016, leaving up to 250,000 residents without access to surgery or specialist care. “I don’t think in all my years of doing this I’ve seen such dreadful pictures of injuries, of people lying on the floor in an emergency room, the dead mixed with the living,” said David Nott, a surgeon with decades of experience working in war zones.  At least two doctors were among the dead, he said, and he feared hospitals that had kept operating under attack and with dwindling supplies might have been shut down permanently.

 

Dr. Mutwali Adam was part of the MSF emergency team that worked with the Ministry of Health during the 2013 tumult when the severe violence erupted in South Sudan. When asked what motivated him to go on helping the severely injured in war, this is what he had to say: “I have to focus on my patients and ignore the outside environment, which is so difficult. I have someone’s life in my hands, and so I’m left with two choices: to try to save the patient’s life, or to leave them and know they may die. My motivation to save their life keeps me going. In times like this, I often have a verse from the Quran running in my head: “If anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.”

Let us pray together: Great Father in heaven, today we come to You and ask for Your godly wisdom to be imparted to the doctors and nurses involved in taking care of the sick and injured, that You grant them the wisdom to make good, sound decisions and to use their experience and education to bring about the best possible outcome and quickest possible recovery so that they can return home again to their loved ones. Sometimes doctors face difficult decisions and have to determine the best avenue in fighting an illness, disease or injury and so please help them in that decision-making process and grant them the wisdom that is from above and that is Your wisdom and so in the precious name of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ Your Son who became man, lived on this earth, healed the sick, suffered and died on the cross. Amen.

Sung Refrain:  Grant to us, O God, a heart renewed, Recreate in us your own spirit, Lord

FIFTEENTH STATION: Jesus rises from the dead SPANISH

L:   We adore you O Christ and we praise you

All: By your death you have redeemed the world and its people.

San Bartolomeo – we stand before this church, which is home to six side altars for the new Christian Martyrs of the  20th Century and we remember how the passion, death and Resurrection of Jesus inspires and compels people to give their lives for the good of their people and their love of God.

Scripture: Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.  As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. (Mk 16:2-6).

Reflection:  In fact, at the moment Jesus was raised from the dead, no one had faith in him. When the ointment-bearing women went to the tomb on that first Easter morning they only expected to see the dead body of Jesus. When they heard the words, “You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is not here, He is risen,” all life radically changed for them, forever—and so it must be for us. Everything in our lives that is not based on a Resurrection faith in Jesus and his message must be rejected. Once one has found the “pearl of great price” he or she automatically sells everything of lesser value to procure it.

Let us pray together: O God of Life, we rejoice in your gift of Life to us.  Your son, Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life has set us free to follow a new way of living, speaking, forgiving, loving, and being. Continue to inspire us along this road of compassion, this journey of holiness. Help us to see, to respond, to love and to live justly, bringing the Alleluia message of the Risen Life to all we meet along the way. Amen.

Sung Refrain: Grant to us, O God, a heart renewed, Recreate in us your own spirit, Lord.

 

CONCLUDING PRAYER: God of peace, thank you for being gentle, loving, compassionate, and nonviolent! Help me to practice loving nonviolence toward everyone I know and meet, that I might love my neighbor as myself. Help me to be nonviolent to all creatures and all creation, that I may spread your peace far and wide to all sentient beings, to your beautiful creation. Give me a heart as wide as the world that I might love everyone around the world, even those targeted as “enemies” by my nation. Open my heart to love every human being as my sister and brother, that I might practice your universal nonviolent love from now on.

Help me to serve your reign of peace by joining the global grassroots movement of nonviolence. Make me an instrument of your peace, that I might do my part to help abolish war, poverty, hunger, racism, sexism, executions, nuclear weapons, systemic injustice and environmental destruction, and welcome your nonviolent reign of peace with justice here on earth. Bless this grassroots movement of nonviolence with your wisdom, your determination, and your persistent action that we might see “justice roll down like waters” and welcome new breakthroughs of justice and peace every day.

As I follow the nonviolent Jesus on the path of peace and love, help me to claim my true identity as your beloved son/daughter, that I might always live in your peace and love, and serve your reign of peace and love, now and forever. Amen. (Adopted from Fr. John Dear’s prayer for Nonviolence) ITALIAN

 

 

 

 

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About epjp.osm

Segretariato generale OSM
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