Posts Tagged ‘Ash Wednesday’

During Lent, Americans Retrace Ancient Pilgrimage Routes in Rome

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014
George Weigel writes in the Wall Street Journal about a wonderful tradition in Rome…that is undertaken by Americans! (It was begun by seminarians and student-priests from the Pontifical North American College…where I used to be stationed.) As we prepare to begin Lent, I thought you’d enjoy this piece:

“On March 5, Ash Wednesday, hundreds of residents of Rome will begin a six-and-a-half-week long pilgrimage to the Roman station churches of Lent—a tradition that began in the earliest days of legalized Christianity but, until recently, had lain fallow…

The station churches themselves, especially those off the tourist track, often astonish. The apse mosaic in the Basilica of Sts. Cosmas and Damian is a startling sixth-century anticipation of 20th-century art deco. The little church of St. Praxedes, hidden behind the vast basilica of St. Mary Major atop the Esquiline Hill, contains the golden mosaic St. Zeno Chapel, one of the most beautiful rooms on the planet.

Amid the world’s continuous wayfaring, the Roman station church pilgrimage has a unique character, combining history, art, architecture and the human quest for truth. Built on the foundation of martyrs’ homes, it is a reminder that religious freedom is never cost-free. And its revival by Americans, who lead it today, is a fine act of gratitude from the New World to the Old.”

Read the rest here.

Prayer, Penance, and Charity

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

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Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday.

The family of the Church begins Lent, the season of spiritual preparation for the high holy days of the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

The tried-and-true way of observing a “good Lent” is threefold:  prayer, penance, and charity.

Tomorrow we will be marked men.  We’ll be signed on the forehead with blessed ashes.  We’ll hear the somber whisper, “Remember, you are dust, and unto dust you will return.”  We’ll pass up the bacon, the hot dog cart at lunch, the beef at supper, as we fast.

We are marked as sinners; we are branded as dying.

This Lent will be special as we, the Catholic family, go through the sadness of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, the starkness of the period awaiting the next Holy Father, and the exhilaration of a new Pontiff.

Pope Benedict XVI has been a splendid professor.

He has taught us a lot about Lent.

In every talk he encourages us to converse with Jesus as our best friend.  That’s prayer.

In his own life, especially as Pope, he has sacrificed his own comfort and convenience to serve Jesus and His Church.  That’s penance.

He has constantly urged us to love and serve the poor, hungry, oppressed, and forgotten.  That’s charity.

And now, he lets us know that, he, too, is a marked man, closer to death, slowed down and frail, more and more in need of God’s grace and mercy, humbly admitting his mortality, his own sinfulness, eager to prepare to be united with His Lord and Savior in His dying and rising.

Behold two great signs for us: the ashes of Lent, the example of Pope Benedict.

A blessed Forty Days!

Ash Wednesday

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

This week I was happy to share the meaning of Ash Wednesday and the Lenten season on AOL Video.  Please click on the below graphic to access the video or you can see it here.