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Pope Francis Skips Via Crucis in Rome ‘to Conserve His Health’ for Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday…

At the second station the meditation, addressed to Christ, stated: “You want us to lay upon your shoulders all our problems and needs, because you want us to find freedom and love in you. Thank you, Jesus. I unite my cross to yours, I bring you my weariness and my cares, I cast upon you every burden of my heart.”

“In your vulnerability, you have shown us the triumph of your love. You have taught us that to love means to reach out to those who may be ashamed to ask for our help. In this way, weakness becomes an opportunity for growth,” the pope’s meditation followed, as the cross was carried by a disabled woman. 

In one particularly evocative moment, at the ninth station, the cross was carried by a group of migrants, while the pope’s meditation linked their struggles, and social alienation, to that of Jesus. 

“You [Jesus] too were imprisoned; you too were a stranger, led outside the city to be crucified. You too were naked, stripped of your clothes. You too were sick and wounded; on the cross, you too were thirsty and hungered for love. Teach me to see you in those who suffer, for you are there, and in those stripped of their dignity, demeaned by the arrogance, injustice, and power of those who exploit the poor amid general indifference.”

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The ceremony concluded outside of the Colosseum, when Cardinal De Donatis delivered the final blessing and Invocations to the Holy Name of Jesus. The 15-stanza prayer ended simply, yet powerfully: “Jesus, let me say one last word to you, and to say it over and over again: Thank you! Thank you, my Lord and my God!”

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