Friday, February 24, 2006

"Buono Quaresimo, Sant'Anselmo"

This morning, the formal notice for Ash Wednesday and its liturgical program were released from the Vatican. Of course, Ash Wednesday is 1 March, five days from today. Those who haven't yet read the Pope's message for Lent can find that here.

On the day itself, the traditional papal beginning of Lent -- curtailed due to the illness of John Paul II -- will return.

At 16.30 Rome time, Benedict XVI will arrive for prayers at the Benedictine mother-church of Sant'Anselmo on the Aventine Hill, from which the penitential procession (which, in days past, the Popes used to walk barefoot, wearing the sackcloth, etc.) to the Basilica of Santa Sabina, the mother-church of the Dominicans, where the Ash Wednesday liturgy will take place.

Note that, as opposed to here in the States where the ashes are worn on the forehead, in Italy (and much of Europe) the remnants of the burnt palm are actually imposed on the crown of the head....

I'll have to tell my Ash Wednesday story -- well, one of 'em -- as it draws near.