Former Vicar for Rome to Write Via Crucis

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 25, 2010 ( Italian Cardinal Camillo Ruini has been asked by the Pope to write the meditations for this year’s Way of the Cross in the Roman Colosseum.

According to the papal Holy Week program, Benedict XVI will follow with tradition and preside over the prayer service, which will be broadcast live from Rome at 9:15 p.m..

Cardinal Ruini, 79, was the Pope’s vicar for the Diocese of Rome from 1991 to 2008.

Pope John Paul II appointed him three times president of the Italian episcopal conference: in 1991, 1996 and 2001. (In Italy, the Bishop of Rome appoints the president of the episcopal conference.)

The cardinal was confirmed in this role by Benedict XVI in 2006 and assumed the presidency, until the appointment of Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco in 2007.

Benedict XVI has entrusted the meditations for the Way of the Cross to two Italians and three Asian prelates: Cardinal Angelo Comastri (2006), archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica; Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi (2007), president of the Pontifical Council for Culture; the archbishop of Hong Kong, Chinese Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-Kiun (2008); and an Indian Salesian, Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil of Guwahati (2009).

The tradition of the Via Crucis in the Colosseum dates back to the 18th century, from the pontificate of Pope Benedict XIV, in the Holy Year 1750. Pope Paul VI re-established it in 1964.

John Paul II himself composed the Via Crucis meditations in the Holy Years of 1984 and 2000.

This year, Good Friday falls on April 2, the fifth anniversary of John Paul II’s death.

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