Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Friday 15 January |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Nikolaus Gross
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

This Lent tradition plugs you into 1,500 years of fervor

ST JOHN LATERAN,BASILICA,MASS

Shutterstock

Alicia Ambrosio - published on 02/26/18

For many centuries, even the popes made sure to make this a part of their 40-day prep for Easter.

The beauty of walking through Rome is that pretty much anywhere you walk in the city center, you are literally walking in the footsteps of ancient Romans and early Christians. Certain piazzas have served as gathering points since time immemorial.

One ancient Christian tradition, known as station liturgies, has been practiced as far back as the 5th century, if not even longer.

This tradition holds that during the 40 days of Lent, Catholics visit a different church each day for Mass. There is a schedule of which “station church” to visit on which day. Today, a Vatican academy makes sure that the Italian liturgies go smoothly at each church, while the Pontifical North American College (the US seminary in Rome) organizes liturgies in English at each of the station churches.

Monsignor Paolo Iacobone of the Pontifical Academy Cultorum Martyrum told the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano that originally the station liturgies took place at parishes and shrines that housed the relics of different martyrs, usually on that martyr’s feast day. The Christian community would gather and keep vigil, or pray for extended periods of time, while also fasting.

Eventually the station churches and days were expanded to include not only the feast days of certain saints and martyrs important to the early Christians, but other special days as well.

  • 1
  • 2
Tags:
Lent
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
DAD, HOW DO I?
Cerith Gardiner
Meet the dad who's teaching basic skills on Y...
FORGIVING COUPLE
Bret Thoman, OFS
An exorcist teaches 4 steps to forgive
Philip Kosloski
What is the Holy Cloak of St. Joseph?
LUXOR FILM FESTIVAL
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful...
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Why God loves ordinary stuff: Pope Francis' r...
POPE FRANCIS; Ash Wednesday
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Vatican: Imposition of ashes on Ash Wednesday...
D'CRUZ FAMILY
Cerith Gardiner
Meet the family of 12 siblings with a very sp...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.