It’s an early rise during lent for seminarians from the Pontifical North American College in Rome. They are embarking on a short pilgrimage to one of the Church Stations assigned during the Lenten season.
you feel like your walking with the saints to each church getting the exposure to Rome you never really have.
With rosaries in hand these future priests walk through the windy streets in the heart of Rome to the Church of Santa Maria in Trastevere.
This was the site of an ancient Christian community going back to the roots of if not Peter shortly after. So we're talking 60, 70 AD Christians gathered to pray together, to read the scriptures to offer the Eucharist. And we're coming this morning here as a community 2000 years later to again share in those same celebrations.
The Church Stations is an ancient tradition that has recently become more popular, especially among Americans living in Rome. Today, Cardinal Francis Stafford celebrated a jam-packed mass in one of Rome’s first churches dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
Cardinal Francis Stafford
well in some ways the American community is the most faithful to the great ancient tradition of the first millennium Flash 35.21 this tradition has had it's ups and downs over the course of the millennia. But the American people, the American catholic people, especially the seminarians have shown a revolutionary devotion to this Lenten practice of pilgrimage.
Even Americans living outside of Rome flock to experience the eternal city during Lent. It’s the second time Father Milby from Buffalo, New York is taking part in this ancient tradition, that has grown over the years.
Father Lawrence Milby
Buffalo, New York
years ago it was very small, there were only maybe 30 people who did it, and it's grown tremendously as you can see, it really is a return to a wonderfully ancient tradition that was part of the experience of Rome.
The Pontifical North American College makes planning the pilgrimages easy through their website. With dates, routes and historic information on each Church Station, seminarians and church goers alike are making the most out of the tradition.
It's certainly been one of the highlights of my experience here in Rome. It's given me a new opportunity to appreciate the faith of our Church, the history of our faith and to see the faith of the martyrs to who’s tomb we go and pilgrimage every morning and to be inspired by that.
It’s an inspiration derived from faith. For these future priests, walking in the steps of early Christians is a legacy they’ll carry with them when they return home.