The practice of early Roman Christians of visiting the tombs of the martyrs became the Lenten “statio” of processing and gathering at a different church each day. This gives us the name “Stational church”
— Feria VI post Dominicam Secundam in Quadragesima — Statio ad S. Vitalem —
ITS FIRST FRIDAY: First Friday Devotions
Station Church: San Vitale in Fovea.
These pictures are from the Mass organized by Tridentini (a group of students of Pontifical Universities who gather each month to celebrate a Mass for Vocations).
We have had Masses this academic year at San Vitale, the Pantheon, and will have Mass at Sant’Andrea della Valle on Friday, 9-March.
The basilica was built in 400 with funds provided by Vestina, a wealthy dowager, and was consecrated by Pope Innocent I in 401/402. The dedication to St. Vitalis and his family (Saint Valeria, his wife, and Sts. Gervasius and Protasius, their sons) is dated to 412. This church is recorded as Titulus Vestinae in the acts of the 499 synod of Pope Symmachus, and three presbyters are listed.
San Vitale was restored several times, the most important being the rebuilding by Pope Sixtus IVbefore the Jubilee of 1475, and then in 1598, 1938 and 1960. The floor level of the church is currently located several metres below the level of the street on which it is located, via Nazionale.
You can see the laurels strewn on the floor as a sign of victory, the victory of martyrdom, which is the seed of the Church. [Pictures from my friend, the Roman pilgrim, Agnese, from years past].
One note on yesterday’s station Church, Santa Maria in Trastevere. [Sorry, I didn’t have time to write a post…]
It was at this Church where Saint Paul of the Cross preached his last mission. He for years had not preached a mission on account of his health. He was commissioned by the congregation which organized the parish missions throughout the city of Rome. It was organized in a different fashion than we think of it now. Parishes didn’t request mission priests to come and preach, rather mission priests such as Passionists and Redemptorists were assigned to preach missions.
In this case with Saint Paul of the Cross, he preached the mission in the piazza in front of the Church. People of all states of life gathered in the piazza: Cardinals, Bishops, priests, the faithful, one can even imagine, the people passing by stopping to listen. He brought all present to tears with his words, full of love for the Passion of Christ, love for Jesus Crucified.
Prayer over the People:
Let us pray.
Bow your heads to God.
Grant unto Your people, we beseech You, O Lord, health of mind and body, that, by persevering in good works, we may be worthy to be protected by Your mighty power.Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.