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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Station at St. Mary in Domnica

The Second Sunday in Lent.
Station at St. Mary in Domnica.
(S. Maria in Domnica.)

Mosaic in the apse of St. Maria in Domnica.
This is the work of Pope Paschal I, A.D. 817.
The Pope is represented kissing the foot of Our Lady,
who is enthroned with the Holy Child and surrounded by saints.

The name given to the Basilica
of St. Mary on the Coelian Hill, in Domnica,
is of very ancient origin
-of the fourth century, at least.
The word 'Dominicum'
was current in the earliest Christian Latin
as a name for the place where Christians assemble to assist at Mass,
but it also meant the Mass itself.

This church was the house of Saint Cyriaca.
In fromnt of it, St. Lawrence, the martyr,
used to distribute alms to the poor.

Let us pray.

O Jesus, our God,
eternal first beginning of light,
Who willest that Thy servants
should devote the seventh day to sanctification,
rather than to work:
Lo! we come, seeking how we may find Thee,
but we are prevented by the habitual darkness of our conscience;
we make efforts to arise, but we fall back again,
and are dejected.

Therefore, we beseech Thee,
cast not away from Thy face them that seek Thee,
for Thou didst deign to show Thyself
to them that did not seek Thee.

Now is the season of the year,
when we are offering to Thy holy Name
a tithe of our days;
and of these days, seven have passed:

grant us Thine assistance
in the path of this fatigtuing journey,
so that our proffered homage may be without blemish.

Sweeten our toil by filling us with an ardent love
of Thy Majesty,
and awaken us from the sluggishness of the body,
by the fervent abundance of Thy charity.

May our life, being thus in Thee,
know no faltering,
and our faith find its reward.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Station at St. Peter's

Saturday of Ember Week in Lent.
Station at St. Peter's.
(S. Pietro.)

The Station for the Saturday of Ember Week
is always at the great basilica erected by Constantine
and rebuilt by the Popes in the sixteenth and seventeeth centuries
on the hill of the Vatican
on the spot where St. Peter died on the cross
and where his body rests.
It is there that ordinations take place.

The ancient Station at the Vatican Basilica
was prompted by the eminently Roman idea
that every transmission of ecclesiastical power,
through the conferring of one of the sacred orders,
was derived from the supreme power of Peter.

Therefore ordinations in Rome
must take place at the Vatican,
with this distinction,
that whereas it was a the prerogative of the Pope
to receive consecration
at the altar which was over the tomb
of the Prince of the Apostles,
in other cases
the ceremony took place in one of the adjoining oratories.

Let us pray.

The snares of the enemy have involved me in darkness:
enlighten me, O Christ, Who, when hanging on the Cross,
didst obscure the sun,
and bring to Thy faithful the rays of pardon.
May I walk in the light of Thy commandments and,
being purified, come to the brightness of Thy saving Resurrection.

Thou, O my Saviour and Christ!
Hanging like a vine on the wood of the Cross,
didst enrich the whole earth with the wine of immortality.
Therefore do I cry out unto Thee:

I was miserably blinded by the intoxication of sin,
but Thou didst bestow upon me
the sweet refreshment of true compunction;
grant me, now, the strength that I may fast
from sinful pleasures,
for Thou art a good and merciful God.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Station at the Twelve Apostles

Friday of Ember Week in Lent.
Station at The Twelve Apostles.

(SS. Apostoli.)

The High Altar inside the Basilica.
The painting over the altar
of the Martyrdom of SS. Philip and James
is considered to be the largest in Rome.

On the Friday in Ember Week
the Station was always made in the church of the Twelve Apostles,
situated at the foot of the Quirinal,
for the examination of candidates for ordination.

This basilica, one of the oldest in Rome,
was built shortly after the time of Canstantine
by Pope Julius I (337 - 352)
on the occasion of
the translation of the bodies of the Apostles Philip and James the Less
which rested there.

Let us pray.

Qui passionibus tuis....

Do Thou, O Lord,
Whose Passion has merited for us
the deliverance from our passions,
grant that my carnal affections may be quenched
by the virtue of Thy divine Cross,
and that I may contemplate Thy holy Resurrection.

O Fount of purity, most merciful Saviour,
preserve us by the merits of this our fast.
Behold us here prostrate before Thee.
Disdain not our uplifted hands,
O Thou the Sovereign Lord of the angels,
Who didst stretch forth Thy hands on the Cross
for all mankind.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Station at St. Lawrence in Panisperna

Thursday after the First Week in Lent.
Station at St. Lawrence in Panisperna.

(S. Lorenzo in Panisperna.)
The site of the Martyrdom of St. Lawrence

Tradtion states that the church stands on
the site of the martyrdom of St Lawrence
and that its original structure was built
during the reign of Constantine I,
within 100 years of the Saint's martyrdom.

"Panisperna" may refer to the custom
of the Poor Clare nuns in the adjacent convent
who distrubted bread and ham (pane e pema)
on August 10 the saint's feast day.

St. Bridget of Sweden

On the steps of this church and at the convent gate,
St. Bridget of Sweden,
whom Our Lord favouredwith such wonderful revelations,
used to sit among the poor,
asking alms of those who entered.
At the close of the day
she took what she had collected
to the poor pilgrims of the Swedish hospital
founded by her.

Just before her death in 1373,
she charged her son Birger
to have her body carried quietly by night
to the convent of the Poor Clares in Panisperna
without the slightest show or ceremony.
Notwithstanding her humble wish,
to satisfy the devotion of the faithful,
her body was exposed for two days during which time
miraculous cures took place.
Her body was translated to Sweden in 1374.
Devotionem populi tui, quaesumus, Domine, benignus intende:
ut qui per abstinentiam macerantur in corpore,
per fructum boni operis reficiantur in mente.
Per Dominum.

Let us pray.
Favourably look down, O Lord, we beseech Thee,
upon the devotion of Thy people:
that they who are mortified in the flesh by abstinence
may be refreshed in mind by the fruit of good works.
Through our Lord.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Why hath my beloved wrought many iniquities in Mine house?

Why hath my beloved wrought many iniquities
in Mine house?

Righteous art Thou O Lord,

and I plead with Thee:

Thou art near in their mouth and far from their reins.

Pull them out like sheep for the shambles,
and prepare them for the day of slaughter.

How long shall the land mourn,
and the herb of every field wither,
for the wickedness of them that dwell therein?

Come, ye, assemble yourselves together,
all ye beasts of the field, hasten to devour.

Many pastors have destroyed My vineyard,
they have trodden my portion under foot,
they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness.

They have made it desolate,
and [being desolate] it mourneth unto Me.

With desolation is the whole land made desolate
because there is no man that considereth in his heart.

Jeremiah. xii.
Tuesday of Holy Week.]

Blogging the Stations

On the feast of the Apostle St. Mathias,
when the Lenten Station is only commemorated at Mass,
it may be of interest to recall the following
about Stations:

Station days
were those days on which in the early Church fast was usually observed until the Hour of None (between midday and three o'clock). The weekdays of Lent were Station days. as were all Wednesdays and Fridays. St. Ambrose says: "Our fasts are our encampments against the attacks of the devil; they are called 'stationes' because we remain standing" (stantes).

Station churches are the designated churches to which the faithful walked in procession and, standing, assisted at the celebration of holy Mass. Thus the tomb of a martyr, designated as a Station church, became the object of a local pilgrimage to which the faithful went in a procession; the celebrated basilicas of Rome were also Station churches. The church from which the procession began from was called the Collecta, the assembly point.

The keeping of the station churches has nearly been abandoned but their trace is still to be found in the Missal for every Mass of Lent, Easter Week and the great festivals. Pope Benedict XVI keeps the Lenten Station of St. Sabina for the distribution of ashes at the beginning of Lent.

The church in which the Pope would offer Mass on a great festival, and not therefore days of fast, was also called a Station church (e.g. Easter Sunday has the Station at St. Mary Major).

Spiritual Pilgrimage to the ancient Station churches of Rome is the goal of our Lenten posts. Each day in the Roman Missal has its own Station church assigned to it from antiquity. Recalling the ancient Station is edifying: the mind is soon lifted above the difficulties of fasting, the soul finds encouragement to persevere in prayer, self denial, almsgiving and fraternal charity.

We may think of the many thousands of holy Catholics who in ages past each day visited the Stational church and are now in heaven; we unite with them in the Mystical Body of Christ that knows no separation of space or time. These, our ancestors persevered through a good Lent and saved their souls. We take courage from them to persevere through an honest Lent in the hope of the same reward. We are of the Roman rite, this is our ancient tradition sanctified by countless saints and holy penitents; it is there for us to use if it is for our spiritual advantage.

We may also meditate with fruit on the lives of the saints associated with the daily Stational church and implore for graces of which we stand in need. Most of these saints are martyrs; every one of them, young or old, priest or layman overcame his burden of suffering through the grace of God but not without their own strenuous personal efforts; they are our models for Lent.

Station at St. Mary Major

Wednesday of Ember Week in Lent.

Station at St. Mary Major.
(S. Maria Maggiore.)

St. Mary Major or the Liberian Basilica
The spring Ember Week coincides with the first week of Lent.
It was instituted for the purpose of consecrating to God the new season
and by fasting and prayer to draw down heavenly graces on those
who on Saturday are to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders.

The ordinations of the month of March do not date from the earliest times.
The first mention of them occurs in a letter from Pope Gelasius I (492-496 A.D.).
A little earlier than that,
during the reign of Pope Leo the Great (440 - 461)
they were allowed on the first day of Easter.

Flectamus genua.
Preces nostras, quaesumus, Domine clementer exaudi:
et contra cuncta nobis adversantia,
dextram tuae majestatis extende.
Per Dominum.

Devotionem populi tui, quaesumus, Domine, benignus intende:
ut, qui per abstinentiam macerantur in corpore,
per fructum boni operis reficiantur in mente.
Per Dominum.

Let us pray.
Let us kneel.
Mercifully hear our prayers, we beseech Thee, O Lord:
amd stretch forth the right hand of Thy Majesty
against all our adversaries.
Through our Lord.

Let us pray.
Favourably look down, O Lord, we beseech Thee,
upon the devotion of Thy people:
that they, who are mortified in body by abstinence,
may be refreshed in mind through the fruit of good works.
Through our Lord.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Station at St. Anastasia

Tuesday of the First Week in Lent.
Station at St. Anastasia.
(S. Anastasis.)

At the end of the Via S. Teodoro, just below the Palatine,
is the large and ancient church dedicated to Saint Anastasia.
It was built in the fourth century
and reduced to its present form by Pope Urban VIII in 1636.
St. Anastasia was a holy Roman widow of illustrious birth
who suffered a cruel martyrdom at Aquileia
in the persecution of Diocletian, A.D. 304.
Her feast falls on Christmas Day and she is commemorated
in the second of the three Masses.

Ascendat ad te, Domine, preces nostrae:
et ab Ecclesia tua cunctam repelle nequitiam.
Per Dominum.

Let us pray.
May our prayers ascend to Thee, O Lord:
and driver away all wickedness from Thy Church.
Through our Lord.

Monday, February 22, 2010

St. Peter's Chair, Station at St Peter in Chains

Monday of the First Week of Lent
Station at St. Peter's Chains
(S. Pietro in Vincoli)

The precious relic of the Chains of St. Peter

The Station is one of the most ancient Roman basilicas
built by the Empress Eudocia Licinia in 442,
during the pontificate of
St. Leo the Great.
She here placed the chain with which
St. Peter had been bound in prison in Jerusalem,
brought from the East by her mother Eudoxia Athenais.
Another chain of the Apostle was already venerated in Rome,
that with which he had been fettered in the Marmertine prison.
St. Leo the Great united the two,
forming one continuous chain about two yards long.
In the fifth century this basilica was one of the twenty-five parishes of Rome.

Michelangelo's famous
Statue of Moses
in the Basilica of St. Peter in Chains.
This statue, said to be the greatest masterpiece of sculpture
since the time of the Greeks,
is full of grandeur, power and expression.

The Chair of St. Peter

February 22
Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter
(in the Roman calendar since 354 AD)

The ancient chair of St. Peter
is enshrined inside the reliquary, photographed above.
The reliquary is itself also in the form of a chair
held aloft by Four Fathers of the Church.

The ancient Chair of Peter
Cathedra Petri

To celebrate the "Chair" of Peter,
as we do today,
to to recognize in it a privileged sign of the good and eternal Shepherd,
who wants to gather the whole of his Church
and guide her along the way of salvation.

Among so many testimonies of the Fathers,
I would like to refer to that of St. Jerome,
taken from a letter of his to the Bishop of Rome,
particularly interesting
because he makes explicit reference in fact to the "chair" of Peter,
presenting it as the safe harbor of truth and peace.

Jerome writes thus:

"I decided to consult the chair of Peter,
where that faith is found exalted by the lips of an Apostle;
I now come to ask for nourishment for my soul there,
where once you received the garment of Christ.
I follow no leader save Christ,
so I enter into communion with your Beatitude,
that is,
with the chair of Peter
for this I know is the rock upon which the Church is built! "
("Le Lettere," I, 15,1-2).

-Pope Benedict XVI, 22 February, 2006

The reliquary of the Chair of St Peter (near left)
as seen from the famous statue of St. Peter enthroned (right).

Sunday, February 21, 2010

First Sunday of Lent

The First Sunday of Lent
Station at St. John Lateran

St. Gregory the Great
(540 - 12 March 604)

In the ancient Liturgy
at the time of St. Gregory the Great,
Lent opened today.

The Roman Lent of the time consisted in only thirty-six fasting days,
thus the Secret, still in use today from that time,
proclaims the beginning of Lent:

Sacrificium quadragesimalis initii solemniter immolamus te,
Domine, deprecantes : ...

We solemnly offer up the sacrifice of the beginning of Lent,
beseeching Thee, O Lord,
that while we are restrained from carnal feasting,
we may likewise abstain from baneful pleasures.
Through our Lord.

St. Gregory, in a famous homily delivered today
in the Stational church of St. John Lateran,
asks why Christ consented to be tempted by Satan,
and replies that He did so
in order to defeat and humble the tempter on our behalf
and to obtain for us the grace of overcoming our temptations
by the merits of His victory.
Our Lord also wished to teach us
that there is no sin in being tempted,
but only in giving way to the tempter.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

New Papa Stronsay residents

For a little while now we have had some new residents on Papa Stronsay. Two Cormorants have made their home on the Papa Stronsay pier and in the bay beside it.

They are not at all timid and are quite happy to just sit around on the pier while we go to and from the boat.

Station at St. Tryphon

Saturday after Ash Wednesday
Station at St. Tryphon
now removed to
St. Augustine
(S. Agostino)

Pope Clement VIII
The Station at Rome was at St. Tryphon's,
who died a martyr in the East.
But when Clement VIII was Pope (1592-1605),
the building being then in a ruinous condition,
both the station and the relics
were transferred to the neighbouring church of St. Augustine.


The Sabbath is symbolical of the peace of God,
and of the repose of the soul
after the tempests of this life.

Many desire this Sabbath, but few attain to it,
because they will not accept the truth
that in order to reach it
they must first endure the dereliction of Good Friday.

He who would rest with Christ
must first climb the mount of Calvary
and die upon the cross
before he can find peace in the tomb of Joseph of Aramathea.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Station at Saints John and Paul

Friday after Ash Wednesday
Station at Saints John and Paul
(SS. Giovanni e Paolo)

Tomb of Saints John and Paul

This station at Rome was on Mount Coelius,
in the residence that the Christian senator Pammachius
in the fifth century transformed into a parish church,
which bears the title of Saints John and Paul.

Six frescoes of that period represent the captivity and death fo these two Romans,
"who in the same faith and the same martyrdom
were truly united as brethren."

(from the Collect of their feast day, 26 June)

Pursue with Thy bounteous favour,
O Lord, we beseech Thee,
the fasts we have begun,
that the observance that we keep bodily,
we may be able to practise with sincere minds.
Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord,
Who liveth and reigneth with Thee
in the unity of the Holy Ghost,
world without end. Amen.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Station at St. George's

Thursday after Ash Wednesday
Station at St. George's

(S. Giorgio in Velabro, Roma)

Image of St. George from his church in Velabro

The Station is at St. George's in Velabro,

one of the twenty-five parishes of Rome in the fifth century,
where under the high altar is kept the head of this Christian warrior,
a victim of the persecution of Diocletian, and called by the Greeks "the great martyr."

The Liturgy for today inculcates in us the spirit of prayer, which forms part of the Forty Day's penance. It was by prayer that Ezechias obtained a prolongation of life (Lesson from the Prophet Isaiah xxxviii) and the centurion the healing of his servant (Gospel Mt. vii) and it is by prayer that we shall obtain from God the strength to mortify ourselves in order that we may gain the pardon of our sins, andwith it hte healing of our souls and life eternal.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Station at Saint Sabina

Ash Wednesday
Station at St. Sabina.

Pope Benedict XVI distributes ashes, S. Sabina.

The Station at Rome is at St. Sabina's on the Aventine,
in a sanctuary erected in the year 425
on the site of the house of this holy martyr.
Converted to the Faith by her servant,
she was beheaded and secretly buried there.

It was to this church that formerly the Pope repaired barefoot
"to begin the exercises of Christian warfare with the holy fasts of Lent,
wherein we fight against the spirits of evil with the weapon of abstinence."
(From the blessing of the ashes)

It was one of the twenty-five Roman parishes in the fifth century.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Monastery life - The Refectory

Br. Gerardo Maria, F.SS.R. is currently the monastery refectorian, following in the footsteps of his patron, St. Gerard Majella.

In our day it is probably surprising that there could be such an office as the Refectorian concerned with setting the tables,

laying down spoons and bowls.

The Christian table is the extension of the altar;
wood of the Cross... wood of the table...
Holy Communion rail...
Saying Grace before and after meals
Evening Grace
O.(Officiant) Benedicite.
Bless us O Lord.
R. Benedicite.
Bless us O Lord.
O. Edent pauperes
The poor shall eat
R. et saturabuntur, et laudabunt Dominum qui requirunt eum: Vivent corda eorum in saeculum saeculi.
and be filled and they shall praise the Lord who seek Him. Their hearts shall live for ever and ever.
V. Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost.
R. Sicut erat in principio et nunc et semper et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
V. Kyrie eleison.
Lord have mercy.
R. Christe eleison.
Christ have mercy.
Kyrie eleison.
Lord have mercy.
V. Pater noster (silently as far as) et ne nos inducat in tentationem.
Our Father (silently as far as) and lead us not into temptation.
R. Sed libera nos a malo. Amen.
But deliver us from evil. Amen.
V. Oremus.
Let us Pray.
Benedic, + Domine,
Bless + us O Lord
nos et haec tua dona,
and these Thy gifts
quae de tua largitate sumus sumpturi.
Which of Thy bounty we are about to receive.
Per Christum Dominum nostrum.
Through Christ Our Lord.
Lector. Jube, domne, benedicere.
Pray, Lord, a blessing.
O. Ad cenam vitae aeternae perducat nos Rex aeternae gloriae. Amen.
May the King of Glory make us partakers of the heavenly table. Amen

As the great fast of Lent approaches
it may be that you are wondering what to do
for yourself or for the family?
One positive contribution to family life,
if necessary for yourself or for your family,
would be to have every meal actually at a table:
a table that has been properly set,
with Grace said standing at the table,
before sitting down to break the holy fast.
In our days the table has often been set aside;
food is 'picked at';
meals eaten in front of a television.
Let us bless God and keep the Christian table.

Avoiding the devil ...

Humility and a sober estimation of ourselves:

A sentence from a Desert Father:

The devil,
transformed into an angel of light,

appeared to one of the brethren
and said to him:

"I am the Archangel Gabriel,
and I have been sent to you."

The brother replied:
"Make sure that you have not been sent
to some other brother.

As for me,
I am absolutely unworthy of such a thing."

At once the devil disappeared.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Distractions in Prayer

The Breeze of Thoughts
(click on the picture to see it larger)

"When the mind’s intentionality is fixed on God
the incense of prayer will be protected,
and the breeze of thoughts from the outside
will not disturb it.
When intentionality is right,
any thought coming involuntarily is no cause for alarm."

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Like the monks from Iona...

Pope Benedict XVI coming to Scotland soon!

... Later this year, I shall have the joy of being present with you and the Catholics of Scotland on your native soil. As you prepare for the Apostolic Visit, encourage your people to pray that it will be a time of grace for the whole Catholic community. Take the opportunity to deepen their faith and to rekindle their commitment to bear witness to the Gospel. Like the monks from Iona who spread the Christian message throughout the length and breadth of Scotland, let them be beacons of faith and holiness for the Scottish people today. ...

Pope Benedict XVI to the Bishops of Scotland
Friday 6 February, 2010

Saturday, February 06, 2010


FSSP Chapel, Guadalajara, Mexico

Matthew Bellisario has posted about the SSPX protest Guadalajara, Mexico.

SSPX Says Protest Against FSSP Chapel In Mexico is Justified!

I really am taken back by the press release from the SSPX on this whole ordeal concerning the FSSP in Guadalajara, Mexico, where they disrupted a Mass by their loud protests and so forth. The SSPX admits that there was an SSPX priest present at the protest and they admit that there were at least 80 people outside the FSSP church during Mass. After dancing around the issue in the main body of their press release, they followed up with an addition at the bottom which reads,

"NB from USA District: the act of reparation made at the FSSP's chapel was justified (regardless of the priest's private disposition), because the Fraternity of St. Peter officially supports false ecumenism via their May Protocol."

So there you have it folks. Straight form the horses mouth. The SSPX have now officially claimed that the FSSP are supporting false Ecumenism!
Here is the link to their press release. Read it for yourself. As we can see, the story was not made up, and all the facts that have been presented thus far in my first article have been corroborated by eyewitnesses and the SSPX themselves. Below is a picture of the FSSP Chapel where the protest happened.
Matthew Belissario


We know SSPX priests who would be very sorry to read the N.B. of the SSPX USA.
Let us continue to hold that this SSPX USA statement does not reflect the opinions of the whole SSPX; just the leadership of one SSPX District.

That statement is either a proud refusal to offer a humble apology
or it is the true expression of schismatics.

We hope that it is just a bold expression of pride;
but if it is not, let us also place an N.B. on the page:

Throughout Her history,
mobs of "pious" schismatics have used violence
against the One True Church
showing themselves to be doing the work of Her enemies.

Countless of Her Faithful children have been martyred,
often by religious zealots:

the "pious" who believed themselves to be true Christians
armed with the "Truth" in the cause of God.

But here is the dividing line between
truth and error:

The Catholic Faith has ever conquered by the Cross:
not by the Sword, (nor with the mob nor by the spray can).

The Catholics are the Friends of the Cross;
The Infidels are the Friends of the Sword:

let each choose the Cross:
With the courage to say sorry;
with humility, meekness and self-denial.

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