Pope Benedict XVI has asked an Italian married couple, founders of the Focolare Movement's New Families initiative, to write the meditations for his Way of the Cross service at Rome's Colosseum April 6. He is pictured greeting a child during his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican March 14. CNS photo/Paul Haring

Pope asks married couple to compose Via Crucis meditations

By  Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service
  • March 15, 2012

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI has asked an Italian married couple, founders of the Focolare Movement's New Families initiative, to write the meditations for his Way of the Cross service at Rome's Colosseum April 6.

The Vatican announced March 15 that the pope had asked Danilo and Annamaria Zanzucchi to write the meditations, which are read over loudspeakers as a cross is carried through and around the Colosseum on Good Friday.

The Zanzucchis are the first married couple to be asked to compose the texts.

Along with Chiara Lubich, the late founder of the Focolare Movement, the Zanzucchis launched the New Families project in 1967 to strengthen families and encourage their spiritual growth and social commitment. New Families now claims some 300,000 members around the world.

The Zanzucchis' meditations will offer commentary and prayers on the 14 traditional Stations of the Cross, the Vatican said. In some years, the Vatican has gone with strictly biblical stations marking steps in Jesus' passion and death. The traditional stations, for example, include Veronica wiping Jesus' face, which is not mentioned in the Bible.

In 1985, Blessed John Paul II began asking people to compose meditations for his Good Friday prayer service rather than using traditional texts. Over the years, he asked bishops and theologians, priests and religious women and -- in 2002 -- an international group of journalists who were covering the Vatican.

The 2005 meditations, used just a few days before Blessed John Paul's death, were written by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict.

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