Thursday, February 26, 2009

Rend Your Hearts... and Your Garments

Best known for his affinity for the finer things, the papal MC must've been feeling especially penitent yesterday -- in a first, Guido Marini wore linen for the traditional procession and Mass on the Aventine Hill that mark the opening day of Roman Lent.

In keeping with the longtime custom of the pontiffs, the bishop of Rome annually presides over Ash Wednesday at the day's "Station Church" of Santa Sabina after a ritual journey up the Avventino his predecessors once walked barefoot in token of their repentance.

While today's Popes no longer continue the path of the station churches over Lent's 40 Days, no shortage of Romans keep the practice, including the city's Anglophone community; a daily 7am Mass is offered at each Lenten station for the seminarians of the Pontifical North American College and any other English-speakers in town looking to take part in the tradition.

More importantly, however, is B16's Lenten message, which was rolled out some weeks back. Its 2009 theme "He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry," here's the text in full:

Hope everyone's Ash Wednesday gave Lent a beautiful kickoff... and to all our folks in ministry, here's hoping your thumbs have begun to heal.

And now, back to work.

PHOTO: Getty Images