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Stational Mass of San Clemente

2010 February 26
by Gordon Reid

As a young priest, I was always fascinated by the names of all the churches in Rome which have the daily Masses of Lent attached to them. The ancient custom in Rome used to be that in Lent the Pope would gather with the faithful in each of these churches day by day for a procession and Mass.

St Clement’s, Philadelphia, has for the last few years had a Sung Mass( the stational Mass of San Clemente, our Patron), on the Monday after the Second Sunday of Lent, in imitation of the Mass that is celebrated in the Church of San Clemente in Rome that day. I don’t know if any other churches do this on the day their own patron has such a stational Mass. But I appreciate the feeling of being part of this very ancient custom, even though we are far from the Eternal City.

Low Sunday is the day when you may see a fleeting smile on the face of an English celebrant as he begins the Mass, which is headed “Station at St Pancras”!

2 Responses leave one →
  1. March 1, 2010

    I am one of those smilers. It is a pity they did not have a stational Mass at St Enoch too. I am sure that would bring a fleeting smile to my fellow railway enthusiasts, and Scottish priests of “a certain age.”

  2. Jonathan permalink
    March 4, 2010

    Having visited Rome a half dozen times or so in recent years, I have always made sure I stopped by San Clemente of Rome, that wonderful sacred church with its three layers of history dating back to the twelfth, fourth and first century where Pope St. Clement himself resided. Indeed, there is something haunting about that third level down that provokes in me a sense of awe and trembling in time and space, where ruins of an ancient Roman apartment complex and the mithraic temple reside – the sounds of running water, smells, hidden corners and narrow herringbone bricked pathways and still ambience. And then the fourth century church, with its ancient frescoes and font. Likewise, most striking of all, who can forget the exquisite apse in the upper church with its beautiful mosaic of Christ and the tree of life. Thank you Fr. Reid for continuing this custom of the Station at St. Clement.

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