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Archdiocesan priest encourages faithful to “Wear the Wood” on Good Friday

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A cross necklace is shown. In observance of Good Friday and in solidarity with persecuted Christians, Father Rob Jack is urging all Catholics to "Wear the Wood" of the cross. (CT Photo/John Stegeman)

By John Stegeman
The Catholic Telegraph 

Quoting St. Rose of Lima, the Catechism of the Catholic Church states “Apart from the cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven.”

The Cross of Jesus Christ stands for many meanings. It can represent God’s love, suffering, redemption, identification as a Christian and more. With Christians across the globe facing persecution for their faith in Jesus, a local priest is urging Catholics in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati to “Wear the Wood” this Good Friday in an effort to recapture the power and meaning of the cross, while standing up for Christians everywhere.

“His death is not a myth,” said Father Rob Jack, professor of systemic theology at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West. “It happened in history. Because it was the death of the Son of God, there is an everlasting healing and everlasting power constantly radiating from the cross. To bring that back to life for people … we have to bring this up.

“The mainstream media seems to be missing the main point,” he added. “Catholics are being killed and Christians are being killed because they’re Christian and not for political or economic reasons. As Catholics we need to stand up for them. One of the best ways to do that is be a public witness.”

To be a public witness Father Jack is urging Catholics to publicly wear a cross or a crucifix on Good Friday.

To promote Wear the Wood, Father Jack has acquired more than 2,000 wooden crosses that he is distributing in a handful of parishes and Catholic shops. While the event’s title references wood, Father Jack said wearing any cross or crucifix publicly — and intentionally — counts.

Toward the end of wearing it intentionally, Father Jack composed a prayer for the wearing of the cross, and a list of reasons why one should consider “wearing the wood.” He is handing that information (attached at right) out with the crosses.

“If people ask why are they wearing this, you can say two things,” he said. “One is that my people, my Christian brothers and sisters are being killed for their faith and we need to stand together against this kind of evil. No. 2 to show the cross, that they’re being killed for over there, is an integral part of my life and that I wear the cross as a sign of my faith, not as jewelry or bling.”

Wear the Wood is being promoted by Sacred Heart Radio (740 AM, 89.5 FM) and via a newly created Facebook page, Wear the Wood 2015. The Facebook page, which is just one week old, already has 400 likes and includes links to stories about persecuted Christians.

In addition to physically wearing the wood of the cross, Father Jack said he may encourage those on social media to make their profile picture a cross or crucifix on Good Friday.

“We are a people of the cross,” Father Jack said. “As such we reach out to everyone with the Cross of Christ which speaks of hope, and mercy, and the power of forgiveness and God’s unconditional love.”

Prayer for Wearing the Wood

Dear Jesus Christ, you died on the cross for my sins and those of the whole world. May the cross I wear remind me of your love that others have shown in dying for their faith in you. May the cross I wear lighten my burdens and inspire me to help others in need. May the cross I wear give me courage to tell those who do not know the power of the cross that they will find the hope and peace they seek in the wood made holy by your blood. We adore you O Christ and we praise you, because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Posted March 26, 2015

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