Before his Wednesday General Audience this week, Pope Benedict blessed a large wooden cross that will travel to the capitals of the world marking the 2000th anniversary of Christ’s Resurrection in 2033.
The cross measures 13 feet tall and serves as a “sign of gratitude to God,” Vatican daily L’Osservatore Romano reported on May 23.
The cross has already visited the Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Island, France, Holland, Belgium, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The initiative was started by a group of Ukrainian faithful from the city of Leopoli.
In Rome, the cross visited the Basilicas of St. Peter, St. John Lateran, St. Mary Major and St. Paul’s Outside the Walls.
L'Osservatore Romano also pointed out that the initiative is of “great ecumenical value,” like that of Father Vladimiro Timoshenko, pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Russia, who presented the Pope with an icon of St. Olaf for his blessing. The image will be placed in the church to replace an ancient icon that was destroyed.
In addition to other initiatives related to sports that were presented to the Pope, a group of pilgrims also presented him with relics of Blessed Giuseppe Toniolo and Blessed Clemente Vismara.