(Vatican Radio) The meditations for the Via Crucis on Good Friday at Rome’s Colosseum
have been written by a group of young Catholics from Lebanon. The meditations were
written under the guidance of the Maronite Patriarch, Cardinal Bechara Rai, who was
invited to write them following Pope Benedict’s pastoral visit to Lebanon last year.
Vatican Radio's Susy Hodges spoke to two Lebanese Catholics who were involved in this project.
Listen to the extended interview with Lebanese Catholics Tony El Chayeb and Firas Wehbe:
Many of the themes touched on during the meditations take their inspiration from the plight of the minority Christian communities living in the Middle East. Tony El Chayeb wrote the meditation for the 10th Station of the Cross and says he was "very excited and grateful" for this opportunity. He went on to explain how his meditation for the 10th Station talks about how "Jesus Christ is "giving us new hope" and is "helping us to understand better our mission in the Middle East."
He believes that young Lebanese Catholics like himself are "more and more attached" to their homeland and to their faith." This Way of the Cross, Tony continues, "is for every Christian" because without the Cross "there is no Resurrection." He says there are many difficulties facing Christians today in Lebanon including "the temptation" to emigrate to other countries but despite these challenges there are many young Catholics living "with joy" their faith in Christ.
Another young Lebanese man who was involved in the project was Firas Wehbe who spoke of his happiness about "the honour" it represented. Like Tony, he believes "it is a sign from God" to continue their "mission" living in the Middle East as Christians. Firas says the meditations talk about "our fear, our pain" amid the many difficulties facing Christians in Lebanon and other countries of the Middle East.
Asked whether he fears for the future given the civil war in neighbouring Syria and the turmoil in so many countries of the Middle East, Firas says they are "optimistic despite the war" and believes Lebanon should be "an example" for all countries (of co-existence between people of different faiths). Our main "challenge," he continues, is to continue existing as a living community at a time when so many Christians are emigrating from this area.