Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday: Introduction to My Lenten Journey

Via di S. Onofrio (actually a stairway)

When living in metro New York I was part of a Lenten Journey group. Several people would get together once a week for a simple meal, shared reflection and prayer. Last year the group is continued the tradition through e-mail and the internet. I made my contribution through my blog.

This Lent, I will again make a Lenten Journey, visiting a different church here in Rome each week and sharing some reflections and images that result from my visit.

Cross atop the gate of the Church of San Onofrio on the Janiculum Hill

The churches I plan to visit are “vacant” titular churches and I will use as a prompt for my reflections the collects for the seven Sundays in Lent from A New Zealand Prayerbook - He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa, first published in 1989 by the Church of the Province of New Zealand.

What are “titular” churches?
The practice of assigning cardinals titular churches dates from the early days of the Catholic Church, when popes were advised by the clergy of Rome. Today, the pope's advisers are cardinals who live around the world, but in a nod to the past, each cardinal is assigned a parish in the diocese of Rome. When a cardinal dies, his titular church becomes vacant. (For example, the church of SS. Nome di Gesù e Maria in Via Lata was the titular church of Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J., who died last December. It is now “vacant” until the pope appoints a new cardinal to this church.)

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