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St Peter’s, Holy Lance and Liturgical Service


In the season of Lent, the eternal city has the ancient custom of the Roman stational Liturgy and processions. Every year on Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent, the procession begins from the Benedictine church of Sant’Anselmo on the Aventine Hill to the nearby Dominican basilica of Santa Sabina, thus renewing a centuries-old Roman tradition of celebrating Mass at what are known here as Lenten station or stational churches. Station churches go back all the way to the 2nd or 3rd century and are rooted in the practice of the Bishop of Rome offering Mass and praying with the faithful.


St Peter’s Basilica was the station church on the second Saturday of Lent, 24 February and our seminarians did the liturgical service. The liturgy was presided by Cardinal Mauro Gambetti, the archpriest of Saint Peter's Basilica and the Vicar General for the Vatican State. Seven seminarians served the Mass and participated in the procession. The solemn liturgy was concluded by the benediction with the relic of the Holy Lance (the spear) with which the side of Jesus was pierced as he hung on the cross during his crucifixion. The mass was celebrated on the Altar of the Holy Throne (the Chair of Peter) and not on the high altar, as the St. Peter's Baldachin is under renovation.

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