World Youth Day - News



From the Capitol to the Colosseum

VATICAN CITY, ( As evening fell, Rome became the monumental setting of a World Youth Day Way of the Cross, in which 300,000 youth participated.

The Stations began in the ancient Basilica of Santa Maria in Ara Coeli, next to the Capitol, and ended in the Colosseum. As there are at present some one million youth in Rome, other Stations were organized in different squares of the Eternal City, to guarantee the orderly participation of pilgrims in this event.

This was a singular Way of the Cross. Although the number of stations corresponded with tradition (14), the mysteries proposed were original. They began with the washing of the feet during the Last Supper, and continued with the institution of the Eucharist and Judas' betrayal, arriving in Calvary where, already crucified, Jesus promised the Kingdom to the good thief.

A Gospel passage was read at each of the Stations, followed by a meditation, and the testimony of one of the participants. An American youth prayed for all those condemned to die who share with Christ "a sentence against which there is no appeal." A Palestinian youth prayed for peace, and a Rwandan for the rebirth of true forgiveness in his country. The stations were punctuated by meditative refrains from Taizé, such as "Jesus, Remember Me."

Everyone looked to the World Youth Day cross, which the Pope gave to youth in 1984 and which, over the past 16 years, has gone around the world. Works of art were projected on giant screens placed along the procession's path and on the face of the Colosseum itself.

At the end of the service, St. Paul's hymn to charity was proclaimed. The rite was presided over by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, Vicar of Rome.


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