Ss. Giovanni e Paola
Pilgrims in Rome celebrated Mass at the Church of Ss. Giovanni e Paola who were brothers who served as officers at the Imperial Court in the service of the daughter of Constantine, Constantia, where they held high positions. They returned to their home in Rome on the Coelian hill, where they were asked by the emperor Julian the Apostate, to retake their positions in his service. They were martyred in secret, in their own house, after they refused to take Julian’s trial of faith and renounce their Faith and profess belief in pagan deities. Eventually a Church was built over the remains of their house. Today, the Passionists run the Church, which contains the relics of the saints whose names it bears, as well as those of the Passionist’s founder, St. Paul of the Cross.
In the Quiet of the Church
It is a wonderful thing, during this Station Church season, to be able to arrive early to the Church, when it is not fully lit, it is still quiet and the crowd has not yet arrived. It is a time of great peace and a perfect time for prayerfully preparing oneself for the Sacrifice of the Mass. It is especially wonderful in this Church, as you finish your morning prayers, to have all those bright Chandeliers come alight and really make you feel that, what you are preparing to participate in is truly something wonderful, to witness God’s glory.
Gathered as God’s People
The Mass in English is sponsored by the North American College, yet looking around in the morning, you see that there are many English-speaking pilgrims who you have never seen before, that are drawn on this Lenten pilgrimage to draw deeper into the spirit of Lent. As Mass begins, one cannot help but feel the diversity of God’s people, and yet also the familiarity. We all gather around the Eucharist and are united together by it.
It takes more than desire
Today, the homilist preached that it is not enough to simply have a desire to be with God, but that we should seek a way to work for it. It is not simply a desire to be holy, but a desire to work at becoming more and more open to God’s will in our lives. The desire is from God, who puts it in our hearts. It is a reminder, “What am I doing, this Lent, to respond to God’s invitation? How can I grow closer to God, through my pilgrimage through Lent?”
Written by Mario Majano, Archdiocese of Washington
Photos by Fr. Justin Huber, Archdiocese of Washington