The crucifix which spoke to St. Francis is now making its way through Italy. This pilgrimage initiated from the chapel of San Damiano in Assisi on September 24, 2005, following a celebration presided over by the Minster General, Br. José Rodriguez Carballo.
The idea was conceived by the Italian vocation directors in order to pick up the thread of conversation between the Crucifix of San Damiano and the young Francis of Assisi eight centuries ago in the spring of 1206. The crucifix is important symbolically, not only to the Friars Minor and Poor Clares, who care for the original, but also to the whole history of the church. In a special way, many young people are visibly attracted to this crucifix in prayer, even those who do not know that the crucifix had spoken to the young Francis of Assisi.
The pilgrimage of the Crucifix of San Damiano was proposed by the Friars Minor of Italy, as an opportunity to evangelize today’s youth. At this moment, various copies of the crucifix are moving around the different regions of Italy and are becoming occasions for gatherings of young people in retreats, celebrations and, especially, discussions of the cultural implications of the crucifix.
The official closure of these pilgrimages will be on September 17, 2006, but the idea has already matured in some provinces to continue the journey of the crucifix in the years ahead, in order to accompany the observance of the 800 years of our charism with this sign.