The Southern Cross : February 2013
The Pope's Lenten journey Our Lenten journey through the Stational Masses will re-enact the early custom in the Church for the Pope to visit different churches in Rome. The Pope (or his legate) would celebrate Solemn Mass in one after another and, by the 4th and 5th centuries, the Lenten journey included the seven churches or Sette Chiese -- St John Lateran, St Peter, St Paul Outside the Walls, St Mary Major, the Holy Cross in Jerusalem, St Lawrence, and the Twelve Apostles. On the day of the station, the faithful would gather in one church and, singing the Litany of the Saints or psalms, they would process to the church where the Mass was to be celebrated. There they met the Pope and his clergy, coming in state from the Lateran. This was called "making the station". Such a Mass was for the City and the World, Urbis et Orbis. The stational procession and Mass have been restored in Rome, especially in Lent when each day has its proper Station and Mass. On Ash Wednesday the station at Santa Sabina Church is the most important of all because the Pope still gathers there and distributes ashes to the people. The 1968 Enchiridion of Indulgences states "[a] partial indulgence is granted to the faithful, who on the day indicated in the Roman Missal devoutly visit the Stational Church of Rome (Stationalium Ecclesiarum Urbis visitatio) named for that day; but if they also assist at the sacred functions celebrated in the morning or evening, a plenary indulgence is granted." The processing from church to church demonstrates our earthly pilgrimage to our eternal home. This universal Christian practice also reminds us of our Roman heritage, and helps us to pray as one body, encouraging and praying for one another, worshipping together as a universal community. Let us use this old custom for our interior transformation through the Lenten Eucharist under the leadership of our Archbishop. Three ways to focus on the journey We will make the Lenten journey in the Archdiocese of Adelaide this year with the Archbishop, linking our own spiritual journey with all the faithful in three ways: • The call to heed our Baptismal promises by the Archbishop using the scriptural theme of each Gospel for each station. • Those who are joining the Church for Full Communion into the Catholic Church. These are the people already baptised, who are reminded of their Baptism through the Sprinkling Rite. These Candidates will be officially welcomed into the Diocese by the Archbishop by signing the special book for candidates who are preparing for Reception and the sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist at Easter time. • Thirdly, the Archbishop will lead the pilgrimage with many multicultural symbols, choirs and customs to show our connection with the universal church centred in Rome. This three-fold focus will encourage all of us to be involved in this year's Stational Masses with the Archbishop, and will assist those who are joining us as Catechumens or Candidates for Full Communion, in their Lenten journey to Easter. Continuing the Lenten journey The Lenten journey continues for the RCIA Catechumens and Candidates after their Baptism (Catechumens) and Reception (Candidates for Full Communion) at the Easter Vigil. They will now be called the neophytes and newly received, and will continue meeting in their parish RCIA groups until Pentecost on May 19. During this period the neophytes and newly received will continue their study of each Sunday's Scriptures, which are particularly from John's Gospel, and also learn how to participate in the Catholic community. The role of the parish community in this period is to welcome them by greeting them at Mass, and by inviting them to join parish groups so they can continue their formation and service to God within the Catholic community. Such parish activities as Mass welcomers, St Vincent de Paul groups, Legion of Mary, parish outreach, parish choir etc are all good ways to make them feel at home in the parish. Thus the Lenten journey for all parishioners changes into a "mystagogical journey" whereby all of us deepen our understanding of the mystery of our salvation. The journey to Penola The year continues to unfold for our RCIA parish teams as we gather for the biennial South Australian conference at Penola in October. Here with our colleagues from the Port Pirie Diocese we will explore the "Journey of the Heart through the eyes of Mary MacKillop". This conference will take us into an unfolding of that journey with Archbishop Wilson and Sr Mary Cresp RSJ. The Archbishop will explore with us how the Year of Grace evolves into the Year of Faith and Sr Mary will explore the 'Journey of the Heart' through Word and Sacrament. These themes are very relevant to RCIA parish leaders, and we hope the conference will enhance their own spiritual life. Join in Archbishop Wilson would like as many of us as possible to join him even if just once on the Stational pilgrimage, because this will signify how the whole community of God's faithful are dedicated to making the Lenten journey in the footsteps of Christ. Br Patrick Cronin cfc Archdiocesan Co-ordinator RCIA Archbishop Wilson invites us on a Lenten journey with him this year as we prepare for the great feast of Easter. Our Lenten journey will take us through each of the Deaneries in the Archdiocese, and the Archbishop would like us to accompany him in as many of the Stational Masses as possible. We will encounter Christ in this journey and in a spiritual sense we are accompanying Christ in his final journey up to Jerusalem to his crucifixion and to his Resurrection. February 2013 Page 13 www.thesoutherncross.org.au Christ Santa Sabina Church in Rome is the site of the most important stational Mass as it is where the Pope distributes ashes on Ash Wednesday.