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Pope Francis presides over the celebration of the Passion at St. Peter's Basilica

Silence and recollection filled St. Peter's Basilica during the ceremony of the Lord's Passion that Pope Francis presided over.

The austere decor and soft light of the Basilica set an atmosphere of prayer and penitence on Good Friday.

Pope Francis arrived a few minutes before five o'clock. Before the Cross was on the altar, he lay on the ground as a humble gesture and sign of penance. The Pope was then helped onto his feet.

Next, he blessed the three deacons who read the Gospel of John, which recounts the Passion of Christ.

The Capuchin friar Raniero Cantalamessa, who is the preacher of the Pontifical Household, delivered the homily. He explained that Jesus is the "prototype of all those handcuffed in history.� He asked Christians to reflect on the violence experienced by real people who are persecuted today.

P. RANIERO CANTALAMESSA

Preacher, Pontifical Household

"How many prisoners find themselves in the same situation as Jesus in Pilateâ??s praetorium: alone, hand-cuffed, tortured, at the mercy of rough soldiers full of hate who engage in every kind of physical and psychological cruelty and who enjoy watching people suffer.â?

He continued by saying that Christ has already defeated violence with his forgiveness and love. Therefore, he explained, God cannot be used in the name of violence.

P. RANIERO CANTALAMESSA

Preacher, Pontifical Household

"To do so would make the concept of God regress to primitive and crude stages in history that have been surpassed by the religious and civilized conscience of humanity.�

He also mentioned the 21 Coptic Christians who were executed by the Islamic State and the 147 students killed by jihadists in Kenya. He said a prayer for all of those who are persecuted throughout the world.

Afterward, the adoration of the Cross took place. The procession began at the entrance of the Basilica and ended at the altar

When Pope Francis was in front of the Cross, he took off the red chasuble he wore during the ceremony, approached the Cross, and kissed it. Afterward, the Cross was placed on the altar for worship.

Christ's crucifixion is remembered on Good Friday. It is a day of silence and penance that precedes the joy of the Resurrection. 

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