Tuesday, March 07, 2017

A Roman Pilgrim at the Station Churches 2017 (Part 1)

My friend Agnese is once again following the daily pilgrimage to the Lenten Station churches in Rome, and, as she has so kindly done on many other occasions, sharing her photos of the ceremonies with us. A procession is normally held before the Station Masses, which, in accordance with the traditional Lenten discipline of the Church, take place in the evening; many of the churches bring out large numbers of reliquaries and place them on the altar, or somewhere in the church to be venerated by the faithful.

Over the years, we have published a large number of articles about the Station churches, which you easily can find by putting the words “Station churches” in the NLM search box on the top right of the page. If you don’t know what Station churches are, you might want to read this great article which Shawn posted in 2010, explaining their origin and significance.

Thursday after Ash Wednesday - San Giorgio in Velabro

Behind the window under the altar is kept a reliquary with a piece of the skull of St George. Because the titular Saint is the Patron of England, this church was given to Bl. John Henry Newman as his cardinalitial title by Pope Leo XIII in 1879; it was held by Cardinal Alfonse Maria Stickler from 1985 until his death in 2007.
Friday after Ash Wednesday - Ss John and Paul on the Caelian Hill

The façade dates from the 13th-century, and makes for an interesting contrast with the 18th-century decorations of the interior seen above. The dome on the right of the church is that of the large side-chapel where St Paul of the Cross, the founder of the Passionist Order, is buried. St Paul had a brother named Giovanni Battista (John the Baptist), himself now a Venerable, to whom he was very close, and who was instrumental in helping him found the order. Many years after the latter’s death, Pope Clement XIV (1769-74) gave the basilica to St Paul to be the first “Retreat” (as Passionist houses are called) in Rome, in remembrance of his beloved brother, since the martyrs John and Paul were also brothers.
Saturday after Ash Wednesday - Saint Augustine
In the Roman Missal, the Station is listed at a church called St Trypho, which was demolished in 1595. The relics of Ss Trypho and his companions, Respicius and Nympha, were transferred along with the Lenten Station to the nearby church of Saint Augustine.

Many of the Masses are celebrated by the Auxiliary Bishop of Rome responsible for the historical center, Mons. Gianrico Ruzza.

The First Sunday of Lent - Saint John in the Lateran

The procession passing through the church’s cloister, seen from the opposite side.

Monday of the First Week of Lent - St Peter in Chains

The famous tomb of Pope Julius II, which draws hundreds of visitors to the church every day to see the sculpture of Moses by Michelangelo. Pope Julius was a nephew of Pope Sixtus IV, the builder of the Sistine Chapel, and cardinal of St Peter in Chains until his Papal election in 1503.

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