Following the yearly Good Friday tradition set by his predecessors, Pope Francis presided over the Stations of the Cross at Rome's Colosseum, where such issues as migration and the persecution of Christians were remembered.
“O Cross of Christ, today too we see you raised up in our sisters and brothers killed, burned alive, throats slit and decapitated by barbarous blades amid cowardly silence,” the Pope said March 25 at the conclusion of the stations in a prayer he composed for the event.
In the prayer, Francis spoke of traitors, arms dealers, and those who destroy “our common home.”
“Today too we see you in the faces of children, of women and people, worn out and fearful, who flee from war and violence and who often only find death and many Pilates who wash their hands.”
The Roman Pontiff also prayed for those who seek to remove God from public places and public life “in the name of a pagan laicism or that equality you yourself taught us.”
The Cross of Christ, the Pope said, is seen among the abandoned elderly, as well as among the migrants who have died attempting to make the passage to Europe.
“Today too we see you in the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas which have become insatiable cemeteries, reflections of our indifferent and anaesthetized conscience.”
In addition to the hardships, Pope Francis recounted in the prayer how the Cross is also found among men and women of good will: families, volunteers, consecrated men and women “who have left everything to bind up, in evangelical silence, the wounds of poverty and injustice.”
“O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in ministers who are faithful and humble, who illuminate the darkness of our lives like candles that burn freely in order to brighten the lives of the least among us.
The Pope delivered his prayer after the recitation of the Via Crucis, which included reflections from Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti of Perugia-Citta della Pieve.
This year's reflections also touched on various themes, including the plight of migrants, persecuted minorities, and all those who suffer.