Wednesday, March 5, 2014


You can easily get other versions of the narrative of the practice of celebrating Eucharist in the "Station Churches" of Rome from other web-sites, but I want to offer my own insights and memories of these churches (most of them, anyway), for your spiritual delight and edification.  I hope you enjoy the pictures and my recollections.
#1 on the list, for Ash Wednesday:  Santa Sabina on the Aventine Hill.

It is an ancient and beautiful church, in a stark and pure sort of way--dating from the 5th century.  It is currently part of the headquarters of the Dominican "Order of Preachers."
For me, the most powerful memories I have are related to an event in the spring of 1984 which ultimately became "World Youth Days."  It was a gathering of thousands of young people, culminating in Palm Sunday Eucharist in the piazza of St Peter's.  I was part of the planning committee, and I was also in charge of the music for the English language group--which met for three days here at Santa Sabina.  We had 3 keynote homilists:  2 were American priests (both very involved in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal), and the 3rd was Mother Teresa!

We had a conflict on her day--the church had double-scheduled a wedding at the same time as we were to be there (all 3,000 English speaking youth).  We worked out a compromise, and our music group joined the couple's organist, 3,000 extra attendees were at the Nuptial Mass, and the newlyweds received a special blessing from Mother Teresa.  All was good!
The doors of this basilica are extremely important:  they contain a wood-carving of the oldest devotional image of the Crucifixion that we know of...
Here the Holy Father begins the marking of Lent (with a procession that begins from Sant' Anselmo, the Benedictine headquarters just up the hill, and my alma mater for advanced studies while I was in seminary).

Tomorrow's church is very, very important to me:  San Giorgio in Velabro.  But more about that later!

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