Saturday, February 24, 2007

On The Road Again

I know Lent has just begun, but forgive me if I make it go even faster.

Many people are aware of the Holy Thursday tradition of visiting a number of churches, following the Mass of the Lord's Supper. Depending on where you live (and the number of churches in reasonable proximity), that number can be 5, 7, 12, or some other number. Once in a while, people ask me why it's done? The answer, I believe, comes from the ancient tradition of Lenten stational churches in the city of Rome.

The whole season of Lent, starting with Ash Wednesday and concluding on Holy Thursday morning, there is an ancient tradition of making a visit and attending Mass at one of the many beautiful churches and basilicas in the Eternal City. Make the whole circuit, and you will have visited 44 churches during Lent. Every morning during Lent, the faculty and seminarians of the Pontifical North American College make a pilgrimage to these churches.

The North American College's website has recently been wonderfully updated, and on it they now have a page with an overview of Rome which highlights the Lenten stational churches and gives you some photos and factoids. Definitely worth a look.

Thanks to NAC alumnus Fr. Jim Tucker's blog for pointing this out.

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