Tuesday, February 23, 2021

A Roman Pilgrim at the Station Churches 2021 (Part 1)

This year makes the eighth in row in which our friend Agnese Bazzucchi, the Roman Pilgrim, shares with us her photos of the daily Lenten stational Masses in Rome, for which we offer her our heartfelt thanks. (Last year, the series, like the station Masses, was cancelled after Ember Saturday because of the pandemic, but we did manage two posts.) Let us all be sure to dedicate this Lent to pray that the situation will continue to improve; and indeed, there is perhaps no better occasion than Lent in which to ask for God’s mercy and a swift end to the crisis by fasting and penance.
I would also ask all of our readers, and especially those who have enjoyed the many posts to which Agnese has contributed over the years (which includes quite a lot of things apart from this series), to remember a special intention; her mother, Maria Teresa Bazzucchi, passed away last October, so please be so good as to offer prayers for her eternal repose.
Thursday after Ash Wednesday – San Giorgio in Velabro
His Eminence Gianfranco Cardinal Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archeology, comes every year to celebrate the stational Mass at his cardinalitial title, which he holds in very illustrious company. His predecessor in the title was Alphonse Card. Stickler. In 1879, because the titular Saint, George, is the Patron of England, Pope Leo XIII have it to St John Henry Newman, who held it until his death in 1890.

Friday after Ash Wednesday – Ss John and Paul
This year, the Passionist order, which has had charge of this church since 1773, celebrates its 300th anniversary. The founder, St Paul of the Cross, 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 establish 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 to whom the church is dedicated were also brothers.
The dome seen in the middle of this photo is not that of the main church, but of the large side-chapel where St Paul of the Cross is buried. 
In accordance with a very ancient custom, many of the stational churches bring out relics for the procession before the Mass.
“The place of the martyrdom of Ss John and Paul within their own house.” In 1887, a member of the Passionist community, Fr Germanus of St Stanislaus, began to dig under the church, hoping to identify the precise spot of the martyrs’ burial. His excavation led to the discovery of a complex of twenty rooms, from several different periods (late-1st to mid-5th centuries), which can now be visited by the public.
Saturday after Ash Wednesday – Sant’ Agostino
As I explained in an article a few days ago, in the Roman Missal, the Station is listed at a church called St Trypho, which was demolished in 1595. The relics of Trypho and his companions, Respicius and Nympha, were transferred along with the Lenten station to the nearby church of St Augustine. The latter basilica was constructed between 1479 and 1483.
The First Sunday of Lent – St John in the Lateran
Members of the various Roman confraternities, including Agnese, attend this event in their cathedral wearing their habits.
Monday of the First Week of Lent – St Peter in Chains
The liturgy was celebrated in white for the feast of St Peter’s Chair, by Don Franco Bergamin, Abbot General of the Congregation of Canons Regular of the Most Holy Savior of the Lateran, who have charge of the church.

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: