John Paul II in 2005
From Zenit March 26, 2005:
John Paul II offered his own “Via Crucis” through television link to the Stations of the Cross in the Colosseum on Good Friday night.
The thousands who followed the ceremony in at the ancient imperial landmark were able to see the Pope on large screens, seated in his private chapel. During the last station, he held a crucifix in his hands.
“I also offer my sufferings so that God’s plan will be realized and his word spread among peoples,” said the Holy Father in a brief message addressed to those present, read on his behalf by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar for the Rome Diocese.
The cardinal, who is also president of the Italian bishops’ conference, presided in the Pope’s name and carried the cross in the first and last stations.
“I am also close to all those who, at this time, are being tried with suffering. I pray for each one of them,” said the Pontiff in his message. It marked the first time he missed the ceremony in his 26-year pontificate.