JERUSALEM — The Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land launched a virtual Way of the Cross project for pilgrims during Lent because the Holy Land is not accessible for a second year in a row due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
When the Franciscans realized that pilgrimages would not be possible again this year, the Custody wanted to provide a way for the faithful to be able to join in a Way of the Cross that would connect them to the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem, said Father Alberto Joan Pari, director of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land communication office.
He noted that the Franciscans walk the Via Dolorosa in prayer every Friday and, although pilgrims cannot follow the full Via Dolorosa with them now, they hoped the videos would allow them to take a moment to reflect on each station during Lent and remember the tradition of the friars.
“We wanted them to have at least a sense that we are still thinking of them … and dreaming to have them back here. This way we are trying to link them to Jerusalem in this special period of the year,” he said.
In the 13 short videos of the “Hic — On the Way of the Cross” project, a friar from a different Franciscan Holy Land shrine will narrate a message about each Station of the Cross in his own language, providing for a moment of meditation.
The first video was released on the Custody’s social media links Feb. 17, and 12 more videos will be posted each Tuesday and Friday until March 30, the Tuesday of Holy Week.
Videos were filmed in various locations, including in Syria, Greece, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Israel. Among the languages spoken by the friars are Tamil, Tagalog, Indonesian, German, Italian, English, Spanish and Mandarin. The videos will be subtitled in English, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Arabic and Hebrew on Facebook and in English on Instagram and Twitter.