- Jul 14, 2020
In the Church of Saint Praxedes in Rome, a treasure is kept: a fragment of stone alleged to be the pillar upon which Jesus was scourged. To this day, a handful of pilgrims pray before the column but even though most scholars are highly doubtful that the column is authentic, experts stress that the artifact should still be admired as a Medieval tradition.
At a hilltop crucifix in struggling Haiti, some people held out passports, pleading for visas, or dog-eared photos of sick relatives. Others prayed for a loving relationship or a steady job while carrying beeswax candles and rosary beads, in an annual ceremony that blends traditional Catholic devotion with elements of Voodoo, a religion that evolved in the 17th century when colonists brought slaves to Haiti from West Africa.
The Preacher of the Papal Household, Father Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap., on Good Friday said the point of Christ’s Passion, is not an analysis of society. “Christ did not come to explain things, but to change human beings.” He delivered the homily during the Celebration of the Passion presided over by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Basilica.
Good Friday is one of those rare occasions when a pope listens to a sermon in St. Peter’s Basilica rather than delivering one. The jarring image often leads to three questions: What’s the ‘Preacher of the Papal Household,’ who’s the Capuchin cleric who holds the position, and, if not’s the pope speaking, does it really matter?
In these blessed days, Lent comes to an end and we are on the threshold of the Easter Celebration, a feast that marks the passage from a life of slavery and dependence to a new life in the promised land, a land of freedom and of divine graces, which we have inherited on the day of the resurrection. Now we are beginning to live Holy Week with its celebrations and prayers which the Church has established as a help and a means to climb up to Golgotha, in order to accompany Christ on his painful journey to His crucifixion and burial, and the arrival of the dawn of deliverance.