Pope Francis presided on Friday evening in Saint Peter’s Square, ahead of Easter Sunday, his second Stations of the Cross in a row without an audience because of COVID-19, but with the participation of Italian children.
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After having entrusted in 2020 to prisoners the reading of the texts that accompany the story of the Passion of Christ from his death sentence until his entombment, the Pope addressed himself this year, to animate the Stations of the Cross, to children and adolescents who are members of a scout group and of a Roman parish committed to helping the weakest.
Facing a deserted square, the ceremony broadcast on Mondiovision began in the presence of the Pope sheltered under a canopy installed in front of Saint Peter’s Basilica, where an armchair hung with red velvet had been placed for him. In total, some 200 people, religious, children and guests were present at this ceremony who seemed a little lost in the face of the solemn immensity of the square.
Over the 14 stations illustrating the Passion of Christ, symbolically marked by the stops of the cross around the obelisk in the center of the square, children told anecdotes illustrating their daily life.
The pandemic that has ravaged the world for more than a year was obviously present. At the 9th station, the one that commemorates the third fall of Jesus, a little girl spoke of the upheavals that COVID-19 has caused in her life: “since last year, we have not visited our grandparents. parents (…) I miss them! (…) I often feel alone. The school is also closed ”.
Each station was illustrated with drawings also made by children.
At the 1st station a boy recounted one of his torments: “When I was in prep school, Marc, a child in my class, was accused of stealing his bench mate’s lunch. I knew it was not true, but I remained silent, ”he said to comment on the text of the 1st station, which recalls the death sentence of Jesus by Pontius Pilate.
“Every time I think about it, I’m still ashamed”, he confided, admitting to having “behaved like Pilate”, preferring the easier route: “I washed my hands of it. . Today, I regret it a lot ”.
On Sunday, the Pope will pronounce the blessing “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city of Rome and to the world), traditional on the occasion of Christmas and Easter.