21 April 2011

Holy Week 2011

For several years now, the churches in our neighborhood of Rome have organized an ecumenical Via Crucis each year during Holy Week. This year's celebration was held on Wednesday of Holy Week, and about half a dozen friars of the Curia participated in it. The service even rates the participation of a bishop of Rome, although not the bishop of Rome. The Presider for Wednesday's service was Bishop Ernesto Mandara, Auxiliary Bishop of Rome.

The service started at the Church of Saint Camillus, just a few blocks down Via Piemonte from the Curia. For some reason, we were not able to use the church itself so we gathered in front of it for the first two stations of the cross. Reflections were given by Fr. Luigi Secchi, the Pastor of Saint Camillus, and by Fr. Iurie H├Čncu, the Pastor of the Moldavian Orthodox Community of Rome.

From Saint Camillus we processed to the Church of Saint Patrick, which is staffed by Irish Augustinians. The Augustinian friars gave reflections on two more stations of the cross. Next we processed to the chapel in our own General Curia. Here, Br. Carlos Novoa, General Definitor from Argentina, gave a very insightful reflection on "Jesus is stripped of his garments". He called attention to the "nudity" that exists all around us—of the people who are stripped of their dignity in society by poverty, violence and abandonment. He also nicely tied in the idea of Francis who wanted "naked, wished to follow the naked Christ". The other reflection in our chapel was provided by a sister from a nearby convent (who unfortunately was not introduced).

Lastly, we processed to the nearby Lutheran Church, where the Reverend Dr. Martin Kruse, Pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Community of Rome, gave one reflection, and the Assistant Pastor gave another. This church, by the way, was the first to be visited by a reigning Pope—Pope John Paul II went there in 1983.

As you may have noticed, there were only 8 stations in this Via Crucis; no doubt due to time limitations. Nonetheless, it was a very nice experience, and a good start to the heart of Holy Week.

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