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18 March 2010

Pastoral Introduction

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The Commissariat of the Holy Land in Canada and Antennes de paix à Montréal offer to priests and Christian community leaders of the country the text for a Way of the Cross devoted to the theme of peace. The meditation proposed this year borrows in no small way from Benedict XVI’s pilgrimage for peace from May 8 to 15, 2009 and is also inspired by two of this pope’s addresses delivered to the Church at the celebration of the World Day of Prayer for Peace on the first day of January of each year.

This Way of the Cross : a Way of peace is intended to be used in a pastoral setting during prayer gatherings in parishes and assemblies on Good Friday or Holy Week processions in several cities across Canada. Over the course of the year it can be taken up again by congregations that wish to experience a Way of the Cross. The object of the Stations is to also help the faithful in their personal meditation.

The text proposed is in fact an itinerary for anyone seeking to synthesize the challenges of peace as most clearly perceived by the faithful of the Christian communities across the country. The journey undertaken by Jesus during his Passion can inspire such communities to discern connections between world events and what Jesus suffered with so much patience and dignity.

Each Station includes :

• A contemplative review inspired by a text from scripture or words that • • are centered on the life of Jesus ; • • Thoughts on the meaning of the Stations in today’s world addressed to Jesus or the congregation. The situations recalled are brought into light by faith which leads to hope ; • • A moment of prayer and song by the faithful to share the message of Jesus presented as an architect of peace. • This Way of the Cross ends with a call from Benedict XVI going out to believers in all lands inviting them to take up the banner of peace. After this call and earnest appeal the congregation is blessed.

Leaders of congregations will find in this proposal for a Way of the Cross an instrument that can be adapted to the needs of their communities and available resources. After studying it, you are free to adjust and present it to your congregations in a manner best suited to favour an enhanced awareness and to encourage the prayer of the faithful.

We suggest using three voices in this Way of the Cross in order to emphasize the three dimensions proper to each Station.

The presentation of this devotion may be enriched with a selection of hymns calling for peace. The hymns listed below are provided by way of example. Each congregation is free to select from its own repertoire.

Suggestions for hymns

The hymns suggested here are from the Catholic Book of Worship (CBW), and Oregan Catholic Press (OCP, Breaking Bread) as well as the album Desert Eyes (www.bobcarty.ca). Each hymn is given with the number assigned in the publication.

Beginning of the Stations

• This is Our Cry (OCP, 490) • • Let There be Peace on Earth (OCP, 494) • • Desert Eyes (Desert Eyes, 1) • • Were You There (CBW II, 493) • Between the stations : Choose one or two hymns with the refrain, a strophe, refrain.

• Litany of Peace (OCP, 496, 492) • • Prayer of St. Francis (OCP, 495, Also CBW II, 698, 699 ; CBW III 630) • • Dona Nobis Pacem (OLP, 495) • Following the dismissal

• Keep Your Hearts Open and Strong (Desert Eyes, 2) • • Peace is flowing like a River (OCP, 494) • • Peace I leave with you (CBW II, 700) • • Till We Get Home (Desert Eyes, 10 • Introduction to the Way of the Cross)

Dear Brothers and Sisters :

We have come together this day to remember the last moments of the life of Jesus. We gather our thoughts to share his Way of the Cross which never ceases to call out to us. The violence experienced by Jesus is ever present in our lives, societies and cultures. The peace that Jesus receives and passes on is recognized by us all as essential and urgently needed in our communities.

The apostle James point out the origin of many conflicts and wars when he writes to the Christians of Jerusalem : “Peacemakers, when they work for peace, sow the seeds which will bear fruit in holiness. Where do these wars and battles between yourselves first start ? Isn’t it precisely inside your own selves ? You want something and haven’t got it ; so you are prepared to kill. You have an ambition that you cannot satisfy ; so you fight to get your way by force.”*

To commit oneself as a witness and an architect of peace is to embark upon a way of the cross that can become a way of peace when experienced with Jesus Christ in solidarity with our sisters and brothers. May our meditation favour the distinct vision of Jesus and a clear perception of the world so that we may learn the art of justice and of peace.

Opening hymn

* Jm 3, 16- 4, 1-2