Information is from the Canon Regulars of St. John Cantius:
The Cathedral Basilica of Rome—caput et mater omnium ecclesiarum Urbis et Orbis—triumphantly celebrates the first solemn day of Lent.
Today, the faithful pilgrim in spirit to the Lateran Basilica of the Most Holy Savior, "head and mother of all the churches of the City and the World," the cathedral of the Bishop of Rome. In this basilica Lent officially begins, in this church also, it is concluded.
The acceptable time is at hand. "We exhort that you receive not the grace of God in vain." "It is true," says St. Leo, "there is no season, which is not rich with God' gifts. His grace does ever give us an entry to His mercy, yet at this time the minds of all should be urged with greater earnestness towards spiritual progress, and should be animated by a trust in God stronger than ever, for now the anniversary of that day on which we were redeemed is drawing near. Therefore, let us be moved to perform every work of godliness, to the end that we may be able to celebrate, with clean minds and bodies, that mystery, which excels all others—the mystery of the Lord's passion." (Matins, Second Nocturne)
This holy fast (Quadragesima) will open unto us the gates of Paradise. We must embrace it with prayer and supplication, so that we may rejoice with the Lord on the day of Resurrection.
Let us pray: O God, who does purify Thy Church by the yearly observance of forty days; grant to Thy household that what we strive to obtain from Thee by self-denial, we may secure by good works. Through Christ, Our Lord.
Additional photos may be found at Argent by the Tiber.