Stational Churches of Rome

Article number: SY330
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The Stational Churches of Rome

This 84 page booklet guides the faithful though the 40 days of Lent by taking them on a pilgrimage of the “stational churches” of Rome.

How did the Catholic Church in Rome observe Lent in the early centuries of the Church? It went on pilgrimage to the STATIONAL CHURCHES OF ROME.

The word "station" seems to come from the Latin "statio," (i.e. "standing together") alluding to the ancient custom of the Catholic faithful gathering at a particular church with the Bishop for the celebration of the Holy Mass.

Before the end of the 1st century, the growth of the Catholic Church in Rome, Antioch, and Alexandria required multiple Eucharistic liturgies in different "domus Dei" (churches in private homes), but the Bishop's Mass remained the official public liturgy.

When periods of persecution died down, official stations were designated for celebrating major feast days in various churches, so that as much of the Catholic faithful as possible might attend Mass with the Bishop.

After the Constantinian Peace, the privative "domus Dei" became the "tituli," titular or parish churches, which numbered 25 by the 5th century. Eventually the Roman stations were reorganized and assigned to these titular churches, plus the new Constantinian basilicas. The number of stational churches gradually increased, especially under the liturgical influences of Jerusalem. Pope Leo III (795-816 A.D.) completed the list of the STATIONAL CHURCHES OF ROME with 94 stations on 92 days, including the 40 days of Lent and the octave of Easter.

The STATIONAL CHURCHES OF ROME provides the faithful a way to deepen their Lenten pilgrimage toward the day of Christ's Resurrection on Easter, by developing devotion to the saints, by encouraging all to pray for the intentions of the Holy Father and by appreciating more profoundly the riches of the Sacred Scripture found in the Traditional Latin Mass (1962 Missale Romanum).

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