Fri, 19 Jul 2019

Pope's Good Friday Meditations to Focus on Sex Slavery Victims

Voice of America
19 Apr 2019, 23:38 GMT+10

ROME - On Good Friday, Pope Francis presides over the Passion of the Lord service in Saint Peters Basilica taking part in the candle-lit Way of the Cross procession, attended by thousands of faithful at Romes ancient Colosseum. The meditations for this celebration have been written by Sister Eugenia Bonetti, an 80-year-old nun who, along with her missionary sisters, has spent the last quarter century fighting human trafficking.

Pope Francis has called forcing women into prostitution a crime against humanity and has urged Catholics to open their eyes to victims. The aim of Sister Bonetts meditations will be to show the way in which Christ still suffers today. The 80-year-old is president of the Italian association Slaves No More, which provides assistance to women and children forced into the sex trade.

On Holy Thursday, Pope Francis celebrated the mass of the Lords Supper in the prison of Velletri, south of Rome. The prison is overcrowded and home to over 500 inmates, 60 percent of whom are foreigners. The pope reflected on the gesture of washing the feet, which at the times of Jesus, was the job of slaves and servants.

Every one of us must be the servant of others,' the pope said in his short homily. 'This is the rule of Jesus and the rule of the gospel. The rule of service, not of domination, of hurting or humiliating others.'

The pope told the inmates to be brothers in service, not in ambition, adding The one who thinks he is the strongest, must be a servant. We must all be servants.

Pope Francis washed the feet of 12 inmates, including nine Italians, and one each from Morocco, Ivory Coast and Brazil. Also on Holy Thursday, the pope celebrated a morning Chrism mass in which he blessed the oils that will be used during the year.

An Easter Vigil will take place on Saturday evening in Saint Peters Basilica, ahead of Easter Sunday mass in the square, at the end of which the pope will give his traditional blessing to the city and to the world.

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