Monday, February 11, 2008
A Journey for Lent: Introduction
When living in metro New York I was part of a Lenten Journey group for the last few years. Several people would get together once a week for a simple meal, shared reflection and prayer. This year the group is continuing the tradition through e-mail and the internet. I will be making my contribution through my blog.
For the journey, I will visit a different church here in Rome each week. I will select the churches from the Station Churches designated for that week, and I will share some reflections and images that are inspired by my visits.
One of the many pilgrimage traditions here in Rome is that of the Station Churches. A different church is designated each day during the 40 days of Lent. People travel to these churches in a tradition that dates from the fourth century, when people would gather each day at a particular church with the Bishop of Rome for the celebration of the Eucharist. In the sixth century, Pope Gregory the Great designated it as a Lenten practice. The custom ceased during the Avignon papacy in 1305, but interest was revived by Pope Leo XIII at the turn of the 20th century and Pope John XXIII fully restored the custom in 1959.
(You can see an interactive list of the Station Churches at http://www.pnac.org/station_churches/station_index.htm )
The structure of my reflections will be prompted by homilies I have heard the last two weeks at Caravita, the church I am part of in the center of Rome. Before Lent began, we were encouraged by Rev. Jim Hentges, OSC, to use the Beatitudes for our prayer during Lent. Last Sunday, in response to the reading of the Genesis account of the temptation in the garden where Eve gets in a conversation with a serpent and is asked questions, and Christ’s temptation in the wilderness when he gets in a conversation with Satan and is asked questions, Msgr. Don Bolen challenged us to engage in conversations and ask questions during Lent. I will try to have a time of conversation with God, myself, and the world - asking questions and seeking answers.