Looking to families: married couple to write meditations for papal Via Crucis

The Holy Father at the 2010 Stations at the Colosseum

For the first time in Pope Benedict XVI”s papacy, the reflections for the Stations of the Cross at the Colosseum will be written by two lay people. Danilo and Anna Maria Zanzucchi are an Italian married couple founded the New Families Movement and will fittingly be writing their reflections with a focus on the family. Vatican Radio features a short interview with them.

As Cardinal Ratzinger, Pope Benedict wrote the reflections for Blessed John Paul II’s last Via Crucisin 2005, and he has continued the custom of selecting various people to write new meditations every year. Among these have been the vicar-general for Vatican City, Archbishop (now Cardinal) Angelo Comastri (2006), Msgr. (now Cardinal) Gianfranco Ravasi (2007),  Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-Kiun (2008), Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil of Guwahati, India (2009, Cardinal Camillo Ruini (2010) and Sister Maria Rita Piccione in 2011. From an initial trend to look beyond Rome, it now seems that the laity are being chosen. It’s perhaps a recognition of the fact that, when it comes to reflecting on the mystery of the death and resurrection of Christ, the Holy Spirit does not only work in the ordained.

Come Good Friday, the Stations of the Cross will once again feature prominently on this blog, although in what way, shape or form remains to be seen. In the meantime, remember that the Via Crucis is not limited to Good Friday. You can pray, walk and reflect upon Christ’s unimaginable sacrifice every day if you please.

Photo credit: Pool/Getty Images Europe

Asian options

Archbishop Okada of Tokyo

Unnamed ‘sources in Rome’ appear to know that four Asian archbishops will be among the new cardinals to be created in October, if UCANEWS.com is to be believed. The buzz for a future consistory certainly seems to be increasing and many options are still open, judging by the lack of overlap in the predictions. Well, the Church does have a fair number of archbishops…   

The four new names of possible future cardinals (cardinalibile?) are those of Archbishop Peter Takeo Okada of Tokyo, Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo, Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil of Guwahati, India, and Archbishop Charles Maung Bo of Yangon. Archbishops Okada, Ranjith and Menamparampil all have close ties to Rome, while Archbishop Bo distinguished himself in the aftermath of hurricane Nargil in Myanmar.    

The article further refers to the possibility of a cardinal in Pakistan as a sign of support for the Christian community there. That would then have to be Archbishop Evarist Pinto of Karachi or Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha of Lahore.    

Finally, the article shares my prediction of a new cardinal in the Philippines because of the upcoming retirement of Cardinal Vidal there.