The Pontifical North American College

February 21, 2015

Station Church Pilgrimage Begins

This Ash Wednesday, February 18th, 2015, the North American College community and friends in Rome began the traditional Roman Station Liturgy, which designates a particular church in the city of Rome as a pilgrimage site for each day of Lent. The observance of the stational liturgy traces its roots back to the practice of the Bishop of Rome celebrating the liturgies of the church year at various churches throughout the city, a tradition dating back as far as the late second or early third century.

15949873633_79d9cf6855_oThe commencement of this year’s stational liturgy on Ash Wednesday began in the dark of dawn at 5:55am. The North American College seminarians and faculty gathered in the College’s “Firmum Est” lobby to pray a litany beseeching the intercession of the Saints and the grace of God for a fruitful journey to the first of the stational churches, the 5th-century basilica of Santa Sabina on the Aventine Hill. In the quiet and cool of the morning, the crowd of over 200 seminarians and priests made their way on foot and bikes (some in buses and taxis, too) along the Tiber River to the basilica.

Joining the North American College seminarians and faculty, many of the American university students studying abroad in Rome and numerous English speakers also journeyed to Santa Sabina for the Ash Wednesday liturgy.

16384147297_b8f7cc8849_oThe liturgy began as the schola choir, under the direction of Mr. Leon Griesbach, sang the Lenten entrance antiphon, “The days have come, the time for repentance, to redeem us from our sins, and to save us.” The College’s rector Msgr. James Checchio presided over the liturgy. Many of the priests from the Casa Santa Maria and the Gianicolo campus filled the sanctuary of Santa Sabina and concelebrated the liturgy with Msgr. Checchio. These priests likewise assisted in the distribution of ashes and Holy Communion. Deacons Joseph Delka ‘15 (Salt Lake City) and Jack Schrader ‘15 (Fall River) assisted in the liturgy as Deacon of the Word and Deacon of the Altar, respectively.

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All in Rome are invited to join us for the celebration of the stational Mass (in English) each day of Lent! Please visit the “Station Churches” page on this website, where you will find the schedule and listing of the churches. Each page contains a short description and history of each church. At the bottom of each page, you will find the address of the church, an interactive map marking its location, and a link that provides walking directions from any location in Rome. Mass begins each day at 7am, but please note that we do not celebrate either Sunday Mass or the Paschal Triduum at the station churches.

We wish you all a blessed and fruitful season of Lent!