Sunday, 18 February 2018

Quadregesima Sunday. First Sunday Of Lent. Lenten Station At The Papal Arch-Basilica Of Saint John Lateran.

Text from The Saint Andrew Daily Missal,
unless stated otherwise.

Quadregesima Sunday.
   First Sunday of Lent.

Station at Saint John Lateran.

Indulgence of 10 Years and 10 Quarantines.


Privilege of The First Class.

Violet Vestments.

Artist: René de Cramer.
"Copyright Brunelmar/Ghent/Belgium".
Used with Permission.

English: Papal Arch-Basilica of Saint John Lateran. 
Main façade of the
Latin: Archibasilica Sanctissimi Salvatoris et Sanctorum Iohannes Baptistae
Evangelistae in Laterano. Omnium urbis et orbis ecclesiarum mater et caput
Italiano: Facciata principale della Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano,
progettata da Alessandro Galilei (1735).
Français: Façade principale de la basilique Saint-Jean-de-Latran
par Alessandro Galilei, 1735.
Photo: 2006/09/07.
Source: Own work.
Author: Jastrow
(Wikimedia Commons)

Originally, The Forty Days of Lent were counted from this Sunday. The Liturgical gathering of "The Station" takes place today, as it has since the 4th-Century A.D., at Saint John Lateran, which is The Patriarchal Basilica of The Bishops of Rome. At its first Consecration, it was Dedicated to "Saint Saviour", a name which calls to mind the Redemption accomplished by Our Blessed Lord.

Immediately after His Baptism, Our Lord began to prepare for His Public Life by a Fast of Forty Days in the mountainous desert which stretches between Jericho and the mountains of Judea. [Tradition tells us that Our Lord took shelter in the grotto on the highest peak of all, known as Mount of the Quarantine.] It was there that He was tempted by Satan, who wished to discover whether The Son of Mary was, in reality, The Son of God (Gospel of The Mass of The Day).

As in the case of Adam, Satan addresses his first attack to the senses. Our Lord is hungry and the tempter suggests to Him that He should turn stones into bread. In the same way, he tries, during these Forty Days, to make us give up on our Fasting and mortification. This is the concupiscence of the flesh.

English: Basilica of Saint John Lateran, Vatican.
With its length of 400 feet, this Basilica ranks fifteenth among the largest Churches in the World.
Français: Basilique Saint-Jean-de-Latran, Vatican, située à Rome, Latium, Italie. Avec sa longueur de 121,84 mètres, cette Basilique se classe au 15è rang parmi les plus grandes églises au monde.
Photo: September 2010.
Source: Own work.
Author: Tango7174
(Wikimedia Commons)

The devil had promised our first parent that he should be as God. Now, he takes Our Lord to the pinnacle of the Temple and tries to induce Him to let Himself be carried by the Angels through the air, amidst the applause of the crowds below. Satan tempts us by Pride, which is opposed to the spirit of Prayer and meditation on God's Word. This is the Pride of Life.

Finally, just as he had promised Adam a knowledge which, like that of God Himself, should enable him to know all things, so Satan assures Jesus that he will make Him Ruler over all Created Things, if He will fall at his feet and worship him. In the same way, the devil seeks to attach us to Temporal goods, when we ought, by Alms and Works of Charity, to be doing good to our neighbour. This is the concupiscence of the eyes, or Avarice.

Since the Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God, Our Lord made use of the 90th Psalm against Satan, and this is the theme of the whole Mass and is found again and again in The Office of The Day. "His Truth shall cover thee with a shield," says the Psalmist. This Psalm is, therefore, the ideal Psalm for Lent as a special time of warfare against the devil.

English: Basilica of Saint John Lateran, Vatican. 
The Choir and Apse. 
The mosaics 
in the Dome are a 19th-Century rebuilding of 
Jacopo Torriti's works, dating to the 13th-Century.
Français: Basilique Saint-Jean-de-Latran, située à Rome. 
Chœur et abside. 
mosaïque du dôme est une réfection du XIXè siècle 
de l'œuvre 
de Jacopo Torriti remontant au XIIIè siècle.
Photo: September 2010.
Source: Own work.
Author: Tango7174
(Wikimedia Commons)

Again, The Eleventh Verse: "He hath given His Angels charge over Thee, to keep Thee in all Thy ways," recurs in Vespers-like refrain during the whole Season. We find the entire Psalm in the Tract, which reminds us of the old custom of singing Psalms during certain parts of The Mass.

Some of its Verses make up the Introit, with its Verse, the Gradual, the Communion and the Offertory, which last was formerly composed, in today's Mass, of three Verses instead of one, following the order of the threefold temptation as recorded in the Gospel.

Side-by-side with this Psalm, the Epistle, certainly dating from the time of Pope Saint Leo, sounds one of the characteristic notes of Lent. There, Saint Paul borrows a Text of Isaias: "In an accepted time, have I heard thee, and in the Day of Salvation have I helped thee." "Behold," says the Apostle, "now is the acceptable time. Behold, now is the Day of Salvation" (Epistle and First Nocturn).

The Decorated Ceiling 
of the Basilica of Saint John Lateran, 
Rome, Italy.
Photo: March 2010.
Source: Own work.
(Wikimedia Commons)

On this, Saint Leo comments: "Although there is no Season of the Year which is not rich in Divine Gifts and in which we, by God's Grace, do not find immediate access to His Mercy; nevertheless, at this time, when the return of the day on which we are redeemed summons us to fulfill all the duties of Christian piety, the Souls of Christians must be stirred with more zeal for spiritual progress, and possessed of a very great confidence in Almighty God.

In this manner, with pure Souls and bodies, shall we celebrate this Mystery of The Lord's Passion, Sublime beyond all others. True, we ought always to be in The Divine Presence, just as much as on The Easter Feast. But, because this spiritual vigour is the possession of only a few, while, on the other hand, the weakness of the flesh leads to any very severe observance being relaxed, and on the other, the varied occupations of this life share and divide our interest, it necessarily happens that the dust of the world soils the hearts, even of Religious themselves.

The Cloisters at Saint John Lateran.
Photo: August 2006.
Source: Own work.
Author: Kodiak
(Wikimedia Commons)

This Divine Institution has been planned with great profit to our Salvation, in a manner that the exercises of these Forty Days may help us to regain the Purity of our Souls, making up, in a way, for the faults of the rest of the Year, by Fasting and pious deeds.

However, we must be careful to give no-one the least cause of complaint or scandal, so that our general behaviour may not be inconsistent with our Fasting and Penance. For it is useless to reduce the nourishment of the body unless the Soul departs from sin" (Second Nocturn).

In this "acceptable time" and in these "Days of Salvation", let us purify ourselves with The Church (Collect), "in Fastings, in Chastity," by zeal in hearing and meditating on The Word of God and by Charity unfeigned (Epistle).

Every Parish Priest Celebrates Mass for the people of his Parish.

Mass: Invocábit me.
Preface: For Lent.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

The Roman Station Liturgy.

The Minor Basilica of Santa Sabina, Rome, Italy,
where the first Lenten Station is kept on Ash Wednesday.

This Article is taken from, and can be read in full at,

The Roman Station Liturgy.

This information comes largely from "The Urban Character of Christian Worship", 
by Rev. John Baldovin, S.J. 

Each year, The North American College follows the ancient Tradition of The Roman Stational Liturgy.

All are invited to join us for the Celebration of Mass each day.

Mass will begin each day at 0700 hrs, with the exception of Mass on Ash Wednesday, which begins at 0645 hrs. Please note that we do not Celebrate either Sunday Mass or The Paschal Triduum at the Station Churches.

The Schedule of Station Churches can be seen at


Our modern observance of The Stational Liturgy traces its roots back to the practice of The Bishop of Rome Celebrating the Liturgies of The Church Year at various Churches throughout the City of Rome, a Tradition dating back as far as the Late-2nd-Century A.D. or Early-3rd-Century A.D.

One reason for this was practical: With The Church in Rome being composed of diverse groups from many cultures, regular visits by The Bishop of Rome (The Pope) served to unify the various groups into a more cohesive whole.

Another reason, particularly following the legalisation of Christianity in 313 A.D., which permitted public Worship, was to commemorate certain Feast Days at Churches with a special link to that Celebration. Therefore, Good Friday came to be Celebrated at the Basilica of The Holy Cross-in-Jerusalem, and Christmas, at Saint Mary Major, where a Relic of The Manger was Venerated.

In time, the original Churches in the City, known as Tituli (singular: Titulus), because they often bore the name of the donor, took on an additional significance as the places that held the Relics of The Martyrs and the memory of the early history of The Church in this City.

As time passed, the schedule of these Stational Visits, which had earlier followed an informal order, took on a more formalised structure. By the last half of the 5th-Century A.D., a fairly-fixed Calendar was developed, having the order of the places at which the Pope would say Mass with the Church Community on certain days throughout the year.

In the weeks before the beginning of Lent, the three large Basilicas outside-the-Walls were visited, forming a ring of Prayer around the City before The Season of Lent began. During Lent, the various Stations were originally organised so that the Masses were held in different areas of the City each day. During The Octave of Easter, The Stations form a Litany of The Saints, beginning with Saint Mary Major, on Easter Sunday, and continuing with Saint Peter, Saint Paul, Saint Laurence, The Apostles, and The Martyrs.

The Liturgy of these Masses had several elements, many of which developed over time. According to the structure of The Late-First-Millennium, the people would gather in mid-afternoon, with the Pope, at one Church, known as the Collectum. There, after some Prayers, the group would move in Procession to the Statio, at which Mass would be said. The use of the term Statio, for this ending point, has a connection with the practice of Fasting on these days.

The Christians of this time made a comparison of their Fasting and Prayer during Lent with the Guard Duty of Soldiers, seeing their actions as something to be approached with a similar seriousness of purpose. The term Statio came to be applied to The Eucharistic Celebrations that took place on Fasting Days. Later, the term Statio came to be used for all Churches at which the major Liturgical Celebration in the City was to be held on a certain day.

The order of The Stations, originally organised in the 5th-Century A.D., would undergo several changes over the following three Centuries. The current order was essentially fixed by the time of The Council of Trent. Over the last several Centuries, two of the original Stations have been lost, although most older Liturgical Books still list their name as the Station for their original day.

The Church of Saint Augustine has taken the place of Saint Tryphon, an older Church which once stood on a nearby site. The second lost Church is that of Saint Cyriacus, which originally stood near The Baths of Diocletian. Having fallen into ruin, its Stational Day was transferred to Santa Maria-in-Via-Lata, possibly because a Monastery, also Dedicated to Saint Cyriacus, once stood behind this Church.

The other Churches have not passed the Centuries without their difficulties, either; many have been destroyed and rebuilt; some fell into ruins, being saved only when on the verge of final collapse; all have been modified in various ways throughout the ages. Yet, what remains through all the changes is the memory of those past Christians who Worshipped at these places.

While other Cities, such as Jerusalem, Constantinople, and Milan, once had similar Stational Liturgies, Rome is the only City in which these continue in some regular form. Therefore, just like The Writings of The Fathers of The Church and The Art of The Early Christian Era, The Stational Cycle comes down to us as a Monument of The Early Church, a living connection to those days when the witness of The Martyrs was still fresh and The Echo of The Apostles’ voices could still be heard in the City’s streets.

Saturday After Ash Wednesday. The Lenten Station Was At The Church Of Saint Tryphon (Now At The Church Of Saint Augustine).

Text from The Saint Andrew Daily Missal,
unless otherwise stated.

Saturday after Ash Wednesday.

Station at Saint Tryphon's
   (now at Saint Augustine's).

Indulgence of 10 Years and 10 Quarantines.

Violet Vestments.

English: The Church of Saint Augustine, Rome.
Italiano: San'Agostino, Rome.
Photo: October 2005.
Source: Own Work.
Author: Lalupa.
(Wikimedia Commons)

The Station at Rome was, previously, at The Church of Saint Tryphon, who died a Martyr in The East. This Church having been destroyed, The Station was removed, under Pope Clement VIII, to a neighbouring Church, that of Saint Augustine. [Editor: The Church Commemorates The Feast Day of Saint Tryphon on 10 November.]

The High Altar, 
Sant'Agostino, Rome.
Photo: July 2007.
Source: Own work.
Author: SteO153
Permission: CC-BY-SA-2.5
(Wikimedia Commons)

Saturday is the day of rest, which symbolises The Eternal Sabbath (Epistle of The Mass of The Day). To reach it, we must, during Lent, struggle by "Solemn Fast" (Collect of The Mass) and by Works of Charity (Epistle) against our passions, of which the rough sea and the contrary winds, spoken of in the Gospel, are a figure.

In this hard struggle, Jesus will come to our aid (Postcommunion), as He did to The Apostles and "heal our bodies and our Souls by Fasting." (Collect), as He healed all the sick in the country of Genesareth.

Mass: Audívit Dóminus.
Preface: For Lent.

The Altar and Tomb of Saint Monica of Hippo,
at Sant'Agostino in Campo Marzio Church, Rome.
Photo: March 2011.
Source: Own work.
Author: Bocachete
(Wikimedia Commons)

The following Text is from Wikipedia - the free encyclopaedia.

Sant'Agostino is a Church in Rome, Italy, not far from Piazza Navona. It is one of the first Roman Churches built during The Renaissance. The construction was funded by Guillaume d'Estouteville, Archbishop of Rouen and Papal Chancellor. The façade was built in 1483 by Giacomo di Pietrasanta, using Travertine taken from The Colosseum. It is a fine, plain work of The Early-Renaissance Style.

The most famous work of art, presently in the Church, is The Madonna di Loreto, an important Baroque painting by Caravaggio. The Church also contains a Guercino canvas of Saints Augustine, John the Evangelist and Jerome; a fresco of The Prophet Isaiah by Raphael; and the statues of The Virgin and Child, by Andrea Sansovino and of The Madonna del Parto (Our Lady of Childbirth) by his pupil, Jacopo Sansovino. The latter sculpture is reputed by Tradition to work miracles and was, according to a legend, based on an ancient statue of Agrippina holding Nero in her arms.

In 1616, the 17th-Century Baroque artist, Giovanni Lanfranco, decorated The Buongiovanni Chapel (in the Left Transept) with three canvasses and a ceiling fresco of The Assumption. The Church also houses Melchiorre Caffà's sculpture "Saint Thomas of Villanova Distributing Alms", completed by his mentor, Ercole Ferrata. Pietro Bracci designed and sculpted the polychromatic tomb of Cardinal Giuseppe Renato Imperiali (1741).

English: "Madonna di Loreto", 
Deutsch: Altargemälde der Cavaletti-Kapelle in Sant' Agostino in Rom,
Szene: Madonna der Pilger.
Date: 1603 - 1605.
Current location: Church of San'Agostino, Rome.
Source/Photographer: The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei.
DVD-ROM, 2002. ISBN 3936122202
Distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH.
Permission: [1]
(Wikimedia Commons)

The Church contains the tomb of Saint Monica, mother of Saint Augustine, and that of Fiammetta, lover of Cesare Borgia and a famous courtesan.

Sant'Agostino was once noted for the presence of a number of courtesans and prostitutes in its Congregation.

The Titulus S. Augustini is held by Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard since 2006. Furthermore, it is The Station Church of The First Saturday in Lent.

Friday, 16 February 2018

Friday After Ash Wednesday. The Lenten Station Is At The Church Of The Holy Martyrs, John And Paul.

Text from The Saint Andrew Daily Missal,
unless otherwise stated.

Friday after Ash Wednesday.

Station at The Basilica of The Holy Martyrs John and Paul.

Indulgence of 10 Years and 10 Quarantines.

Violet Vestments.

English: Basilica of The Holy Martyrs, John and Paul, on Mount Coelius, Rome.
Français: Vue d'ensemble de la Basilique Santi Giovanni e Paolo de Rome sur le Celio.
Photo: May 2009.
Source: Own work.
Author: LPLT.
(Wikimedia Commons)

The Station at Rome was on Mount Coelius, in the Residence that the Christian Senator, Pammachius, in the 5th-Century A.D., transformed into a Parish Church, which bears the Title of Saints John and Paul (Feast Day 26 June). Six frescoes of that period represent the captivity and death of these two Romans, “who, in the same Faith and the same Martyrdom, were truly united as brethren”.

English: Church of The Holy Martyrs, John and Paul, Rome, Italy.
Italiano: SS. Giovanni e Paolo - Roma, Italia.
Photo: July 2006.
Source: Flickr
Reviewer: Mac9
(Wikimedia Commons)

Near this Church, is a Hospice for Pilgrims (Xenodochium Valerii). Pammachius, in other directions, spent his whole fortune upon The Poor. The Gospel of this Mass and the Postcommunion also speak of Charity.

The Epistle and the Gospel declare that the external works of Penance, such as Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving, which should be practised during Lent, have no value in the sight of God unless they are accompanied by the spirit of internal sacrifice. This spirit shows itself in works of mercy, done out of consideration for our neighbour, without distinction of friend or enemy and with the sole intention of pleasing God. Let us ask for the spirit of sacrifice and mercy.

Mass: Audivit Dominus.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Thursday After Ash Wednesday. Lenten Station At San Giorgio-in-Velabro.

Text from The Saint Andrew Daily Missal,
unless otherwise stated.

Thursday after Ash Wednesday.

Station at Saint George's (San Giorgio-in-Velabro).

Indulgence of 10 Years and 10 Quarantines.

Violet Vestments.

San Giorgio-in-Velabro is a Minor Basilica Church 
in Rome, Italy, Dedicated to Saint George.
Photo: April 2006.
Source: Own work.
Author: User: Zello
(Wikimedia Commons)

This Station is, since the time of Pope Gregory II (7th-Century A.D.), at Saint George's-in-Velabro. This Church is in the district called The Velabrum, or Velum aureum, on account of a Relic kept in a Golden Veil. Saint George's is one of the twenty-five Parishes of Rome in the 5th-Century A.D., where, under The High Altar, is kept the Head of this Christian warrior, a victim of The Persecution of The Emperor Diocletian, and called by the Greeks "The Great Martyr".

The Liturgy of today inculcates in us the spirit of Prayer, which forms part of The Forty Days' Penance. It was by Prayer that Ezechias obtained a prolongation of his life (Epistle of today) and the Centurion the healing of his servant (Gospel), 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, and, with it, the healing of our Souls and Life Eternal.

Interior of San Giorgio-in-Velabro.
Photo: August 2012.
Source: Own work.
Author: Luc.
(Wikimedia Commons)

The Gospel, in former times, reminded the Catechumens that, through Baptism, they were about to enter The Kingdom of Heaven.

Remember that, if sin offends God and draws upon us the scourge of His Righteous Anger, Penance, on the contrary, appeases Him and procures for us the effects of His Mercy (Collects).

Mass: Dum clamárem.
Preface: For Lent.

Interior of San Giorgio-in-Velabro.
Photo: March 2012.
Source: Own work.
Author: sailko.
(Wikimedia Commons)

The following Text is from Wikipedia - the free encyclopaedia.

San Giorgio-in-Velabro is a Minor Basilica Church in Rome, Italy, devoted to Saint George.

The Church is located in the ancient Roman Velabrum, near the Arch of Janus, in the rione of Ripa. Sited near the River Tiber, it is within a complex of Republican-era pagan temples associated with the port of Rome. The ancient Arcus Argentariorum is attached to the side of the Church's façade.

San Giorgio-in-Velabro is The Station Church for The First Thursday in Lent.

The first religious building attested, in the place of the current Basilica, is a Diaconia, funded by Pope Gregory the Great.

The High Altar at San Giorgio-in-Velabro.
Photo: March 2012.
Source: Own work.
Author: sailko.
(Wikimedia Commons)

The current Basilica was built during the 7th-Century A.D., possibly by Pope Leo II, who Dedicated it to Saint Sebastian. A 482 word-inscription in the catacombs of Saint Callixtus probably refers to a Church in the same zone. Its plan is irregular, indeed slightly trapezoidal, as a result of the frequent additions to the building. The Interior Columns are almost randomly arranged, having been taken from sundry Roman temples.

The Basilica was inside the Greek Quarter of Rome, where Greek-speaking merchants, civil and military officers, and Monks, of The Byzantine Empire lived — the nearby Santa Maria-in-Cosmedin, for example, was known as Schola Graeca at the time. Pope Zachary (741 A.D. - 752 A.D.), who was of Greek origin, moved the Relic of Saint George to this Basilica from Cappadocia, so that this Saint had a Basilica Dedicated in The West, well before the spreading of his Devotion associated with the return of The Crusaders from The East.

After a restoration by Pope Gregory IV (9th-Century A.D.), the Basilica received the addition of the Portico and of the Bell-Tower in the first half of the 13th-Century. The Apsis was decorated with frescoes by Pietro Cavallini in the 13th-Century.

Photo: April 2007.
Source: Own work.
Author: Lalupa.
(Wikimedia Commons)

Between 1923 and 1926, the Superintendent of Monuments of Rome, Antonio Muñoz, completed a more radical restoration programme, with the aim of restoring the building's "Mediaeval character" and freeing it from later additions. This was done by returning the floor to its original level (and so exposing the Column bases), reopening the ancient windows that gave light to the Central Nave, restoring the Apsis, and generally removing numerous accretions from the other most recent restorations. During this process, fragments (now displayed on the Basilica's Internal walls) were found, indicating a schola cantorum on the site, attributed to the period of Pope Gregory IV.

The building, as we see it today, is largely a product of the 1920s restoration. However, five years' further restoration followed the explosion of a car bomb, parked close to the Basilica's facade, at midnight on 27 July 1993. That explosion caused no fatalities but left the 12th-Century Portico almost totally collapsed and blew a large opening into the wall of the main Basilica, as well as doing serious damage to the residence of The Generalate of The Crosiers (Canons Regular of The Order of The Holy Cross), next door. The Ministry of Cultural Heritage researched and catalogued what was damaged or destroyed, placing the fragments in 1050 crates, with dates and locational references, before restoring the building with them, although some details, particularly in the Portico, were deliberately left un-restored as a memorial to the bombing.

Gianfranco Ravasi is, since November 2010, Cardinal-Deacon of the Church. Among the previous Titulars are: Oddone Colonna, who later became Pope Martin V; Raffaele Riario; Giacomo Stefaneschi; and John Henry Newman. Cardinal Alfons Maria Stickler was Titular of San Giorgio, as a Cardinal Priest, until his death in 2007.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Ash Wednesday. Lenten Station At The Basilica Of Santa Sabina.

Artist: Rene de Cramer.
"Copyright Brunelmar/Ghent/Belgium".
Used with Permission.

Text from The Saint Andrew Daily Missal.

Ash Wednesday.

Station at Saint Sabina.

Indulgence of 15 years and 15 Quarantines.

Privileged Feria.

Violet Vestments.

English: Santa Sabina, Rome.
Česky: Interiér baziliky Santa Sabina, Řím.
Photo: February 2009.
Source: Own work.
Author: Rumburak
(Wikimedia Commons)

Today's Station at Rome is at Saint Sabina, on The Aventine, in a Sanctuary built on the former site of the Holy Martyr's house. Having been converted by her maid-servant, she was beheaded for The Faith and secretly buried. It is to this Church that, in former times, the Pope used to go barefoot "to begin, with Holy Fasts, the exercises of Christian warfare, that as we do battle with The Spirits of Evil, we may be protected by the help of self-denial" [The Prayer at The Blessing of The Ashes]. In the 5th-Century A.D., this Church was one of the twenty-five Parishes of Rome.

Following the example of The Ninivites, who did Penance in sackcloth and ashes, The Church today, to humble our pride and remind us of the sentence of death, which, as a consequence of our sins we are bound to undergo, sprinkles ashes on our heads with the words: "Remember, man, that thou art dust, and unto dust thou shalt return". [Ashes are a symbol of Penance and, having become a Sacramental by The Church's Blessing, help to develop within us the spirit of humility and sacrifice.] We come from dust and unto dust we shall return ! Here, indeed, is a thought that should humble our pride.

In this custom, we have the remains of an ancient ceremony referred to in The Roman Pontifical. Those Christians who were guilty of grave faults had to undergo public Penance. Accordingly, on Ash Wednesday, the Bishop used to Bless the sackcloth, which was to be worn by the penitents during The Holy Forty Days, and place upon their heads ashes made from palms used the previous year in The Palm Sunday Procession. Then, while The Faithful were singing The Seven Penitential Psalms, "the penitents were expelled from The Holy Place on account of their sins, just as Adam was driven out of Paradise because of his disobedience". [Roman Pontifical.] They were not allowed to put off their penitential garb or to re-enter the Church before Holy Thursday, after they had gained their reconciliation by toil and Penance, and by Sacramental Confession and Absolution.

English: Interior of Santa Sabina, Aventine, Rome.
Français: Interieur de l'église de Santa Sabina, Aventin, Rome.
Photo: 2012.
Source: Own work.
Author: Ursus
(Wikimedia Commons)

At The Council of Beneventum (1091), Pope Urban VI commanded that the ashes should be received by all The Faithful, indiscriminately. Let us receive them in a spirit of humility and Penance, that, by this powerful Sacramental, we may obtain from Almighty God the Blessings which The Church implores in the act of Blessing them.

For, truly, "God overlooks the sins of men for the sake of repentance" (Introit). He is "rich in mercy" to those who are "converted to Him with all their heart in Fasting and in weeping and in mourning" (Epistle). We must not, indeed, like the Pharisees, rend our garments as a sign of grief, but, rather, our hearts" (ibid.), for it is not men who are to testify to our Fasting, but Our Father, Who sees our innermost Souls and will repay us (Gospel), as Our Lord, Himself, tells us in The Sermon on The Mount. [According to Tradition, this Mount is Kurn Hattin.] Let us, then, draw from The Eucharist the help which we need (Postcommunion), so that, celebrating today the institution of this Sacred Fast (Secret), we may "perform it with a devotion which nothing can disturb" (Collect).


Before Mass, Ashes are Blessed. These Ashes are made from the Palms which were Blessed in the previous year's Palm Sunday Procession. The formula used in the Blessing dates from about the 8th-Century A.D.

After The Office of None, the Priest, Vested in Alb and Violet Stole, with or without a Violet Cope, with Deacon and Sub-Deacon in Vestments of the same colour, goes up to The Altar and The Choir begins singing.

After the appropriate Prayers have been said by the Priest, he sprinkles Holy Water on The Ashes and then Incenses them, three times. The Faithful then receive The Ashes on their foreheads.

Mass then commences.

Mass: Miseréris omnium.
Collect: Praesta Domine.
Other Collects: Until Passion Sunday: A cunctis and Omnipotens.
Preface: For Lent.
The Dismissal: Benedicamus Domino, as at any Mass without The Gloria.
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