By Deborah Castellano Lubov

I embrace you strongly…

This is what Pope Francis communicated to those who wrote, from prison in northern Italy, tonight’s Good Friday Via Crucis meditations.

The Holy See Press Office, today, April 10, 2020, published the message the Holy Father sent to the faithful of the Parish of the “Due Palazzi” Prison of Padua, to whom he entrusted the preparation of this year’s texts and prayers.

Tonight, the Pope will have his Stations of the Cross, not at the Colosseum, but in the Courtyard of Saint Peter’s Basilica, before an empty St. Peter’s Square.

ZENIT reader’s following the Pope’s Via Crucis tonight can have and follow the full meditations here. On social media, ZENIT will bring you images, as Zenit Senior Vatican Correspondent, Deborah Castellano Lubov, will be in the empty St. Peter’s Square.

The Holy Father thanked them for their powerful reflections, and reminded them that he “always carries them” in his heart. He also asked them to pray for him.

Here is a ZENIT translation of the Pope’s message:

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The Holy Father’s Message

Dear Friends of the Due Palazzi Parish of Padua,

I have read the meditations of the Via Crucis, of which all of you together made a gift. I made my abode in the folds of your words and I felt welcome, at home. Thank you for having shared with me a bit of your story. God speaks of Himself and speaks to us in history. He invites us to attentive and merciful listening. I want to thank you also because you have scattered your names not in the sea of anonymity, but among the many persons connected to the prison world. So, in the Via Crucis, you will share your story with all those in the world that share the same situation. It is consoling to read a story in which not only the stories of the detained persons reside, but of all those that are passionate about the prison world. Together, it is possible — together. I embrace you strongly. Although I am certain that Father Marco always reminds you, I ask you: pray for me. I carry you always in my heart. Thank you.

[Original text: Italian] [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

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