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Friday, March 30, 2007
Stational Church: Friday in the Fifth Week of Lent
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Today's Stational Church is at St. Stephen on Mt. Coelius.  Information is from the Canon Regulars of St. John Cantius:
This Lenten Station takes us back to a sacred area, which still preserves its aura of mystery. This area was sacred to the pagans, who had, on the nearby Palatine Hill, the black rock of the Magna Mater and who had there the sacred land, on which the "profane" outsiders were forbidden to set foot. It was sacred also to the Christians, who even today venerate it as the place, which gave martyrdom and glory to saints. St. Stephen on Mt. Ceolius, or St. Stephen Rotondo as the Romans call it because of its circular plan, is among the most ancient of the round churches with its altar in the center and thus visible from all sides. It was built between 400 and 450 and was consecrated by Pope Simplicius.

St. Stephen was the first martyr — or witness — of Christ. While dying, he beheld the Savior at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. Thus, it was fitting to assemble in this basilica at this holy time, consecrated to the memory of the Savior's Passion, which prepares us to celebrate His triumph at Easter.

Let us pray: Pour forth Thy grace into our hearts, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that we who refrain from sin by self-denial, may be rather afflicted in time than condemned to eternal punishment. Through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

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