Tradition Adapted

Posted by Censor Librorum on Feb 21, 2007 | Categories: Lesbian in a Catholic Sort of Way

Welcome, Spring. With Ash Wednesday, Lent begins.

There is a tradition in Rome of going to a different “station church” each of the 40 days of Lent for Mass and the singing of the litany of the saints. The tradition started as early as the third century to honor the martyrs of Rome. Similar to the 15 meditations of the Stations of the Cross, the 40 designated churches offer time for meditation on the lives of the martyrs and prayers of intercession to these Roman saints.

As quoted by Zenit, Deacon Andrew Zeswick of Melbourne, Australia, who attended all the station church Masses last year, said, “The rhythm of a different church, a new martyr each day so early in the morning, is a powerful reminder of the purpose of Lent and the Way of the Cross lived by so many in the past.” A seminarian from Pittsburgh remarked there is a sense of pilgrimage when visiting all 40 churches, especially for those who walk to them.

I thought the idea of a pilgrimage to visit different New York churches would be a wonderful way to experience Lent. While visiting 40 churches in 40 days isn’t feasible for me since I work, I do plan to follow the spirit of this tradition by attending Mass at number of churches in Manhattan where I work, and Long Island where I live. I plan to return to churches I have attended in the past: Sacred Heart, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, St. Francis Xavier, and St. Andrew’s back in Brooklyn. I also plan to travel to churches in little known or out of the way neighborhoods. Following in the footsteps of Irish, German and Italian immigrants, I hope to understand their sacrifice and how their faith sustained them. May they inspire me.

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