Pope’s Via Crucis to highlight suffering of trafficked people

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Vatican City: The annual Good Friday of pope, Stations of the Cross, held at the Colosseum, will be written by a religious sister dedicated to fighting human trafficking, it was announced Friday.

“The suffering of many persons who are victims of human trafficking will be the central theme
of the meditations” this year, Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said on April 5th.

As per tradition, Pope Francis will preside over the praying of the Stations of the Cross, also called the Via Crucis, April 19th. Every year the pope asks someone to write the thoughts to be read during each station, this year asking Sr. Eugenia Bonetti.

Bonetti, 80, is a Consolata Missionary Sister from northern Italy region. As the president of the “Slaves no More” association, she is the leader of the Italian Union of Major Superiors’ human trafficking work.

Her effort and the work of those she leads; is dedicated on helping women and girls in Italy to leave prostitution through in person contact and interactions.

By the year of 2007, she was the receiver of the U.S Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award. She was also honored for her anti trafficking work by the U.S. Department of State in the year of 2004. She received the Order of Merit, Italy’s highest honor, in 2014.

Bonetti was also contributory in Pope Francis’ decision to establish the International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking, which was first celebrated in the year of 2015.

The human trafficking is an important topic to Pope Francis, who has spoken out against human misuse throughout his pontificate.

He has several times appealed the intercession of St. Josephine Bakhita, once a slave herself, to intercede to bring about an end to “this plague.”

In February, Pope Francis prayed for St. Bakhita to “assist all those who are imprisoned in a state of slavery; Intercede with God on their behalf so that the chains of their imprisonment can be broken.”

“We request you to pray and intercede for all of us; so that we do not fall into indifference, so that we open our eyes and can look at the misery and wounds of so many brothers and sisters deprived of their dignity and freedom and hear their cry for help,” he said.

The Pope has said that he personally prays the Stations of the Cross frequently, and that it is a prayer he loves.

In 2018, the Via Crucis reflections were written by an assembly of Italian high schoolers.

The Roman ritual of holding the Way of the Cross at the Colosseum on Good Friday goes back to the pontificate of Benedict XIV, who died in 1758.

Later dying out for a period, the tradition was revived in 1964 by St. Paul VI, while under St. John Paul II the Way of the Cross at the Colosseum became a worldwide television event; the pontiff himself used to carry the cross.

Now the cross is usually carried by persons and families from around the world.

The pope himself chooses who writes the meditations for the stations, and the choice can specify issues he wants to zero in on.

By the year of 2018, the Via Crucis at the Colosseum was attended by around 20,000 people.