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Vatican City, Jan 30, 2019 / 04:12 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Everyone should pray the Stations of the Cross, Pope Francis said Wednesday, revealing that he always has with him a pocket-size book of “Via Crucis” meditations to pray with when he has a spare moment.
“Walking with Mary, behind Jesus carrying the cross, is the school of Christian life: there you learn patient, silent, and concrete love,” he said at the general audience Jan. 30.
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Letting people in on a “secret,” the pope pulled out of his pocket a small Way of the Cross booklet, which he said was a gift from when he was in Buenos Aires that he always carries with him.
“And when I have time, I follow the Via Crucis. Pray the Via Crucis,” he encouraged, “because [it is] to follow Jesus with Mary on the way of the cross, where he gave his life for us…”
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Via Crucis, or the Stations of the Cross, is always an important part of World Youth Day, the pope explained, as he reflected on his trip to Panama Jan. 23-28 for the international gathering, which takes place every 2-3 years.
He said that another aspect of the week which left an impression on him were the many parents and children he saw.
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Whenever the popemobile would drive by the crowds, there were many parents proudly lifting their babies and small children up toward him, as if to say: “Behold my pride, here is my future!” he said.
Amid a “demographic winter” in Europe, he said he found that gesture to be one of dignity and eloquence. “The pride of those families is children, certainty for the future is children.”
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Pope Francis also recalled the large numbers of young people present at the gathering, especially those from Central American countries in difficult periods.
“In Panama,” he said, “young people...
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