Diocesan Lenten Pilgrimage Begins

In Rome, they have a great tradition of visiting Station Churches, which are churches in Rome that are appointed for special morning and evening liturgical celebrations during Lent. 

American priests and students at the Pontifical North American College join other English speakers at a different Roman church as a pilgrimage early in the morning for Mass at 7 a.m. 

In the Diocese of Brooklyn, we have the opportunity to participate in the Station Churches locally through a wonderful pilgrimage designed by Father Joseph Gibino and the Secretariat of Evangelization and Catechesis. 

Each day, pilgrims will have the opportunity to travel to a different church in the Diocese of Brooklyn to celebrate the Eucharist, to pray and to participate in a real pilgrimage, just like that in Rome, albeit in Queens and Brooklyn. 

The Lenten Pilgrimage
App can be downloaded
for free from Apple’s App Store and Google Play.

This year the diocese has a new tool to allow pilgrims to find where the daily Lenten Pilgrimage Mass is being held. It’s an app that you can put on your phone. 

You can download the app from your phone’s app store. Just search for the Lenten Pilgrimage App. 

One of the more famous Roman stories involves an American priest from the Casa Santa Maria who was asked on Ash Wednesday to assist with the imposition of ashes in a Roman parish. Gladly, he accepted and asked the pastor what he should say as the formula as he performed this liturgical action. (Remember, in Rome, they generally only sprinkle the ashes on the top of your head rather than place them as a cross on your forehead.) 

The pastor told the American, “Remember to say — ‘Convertitevi e credete al Vangelo,’” which means “Repent and believe in the Gospel.” However, when the student priest began to distribute ashes in the parish, the reaction he elicited was only a broad smile and stifled laughter. Instead of the proper pronunciation in Italian, he said: “Convertitevi e credete in vongole,” which means more or less, “Repent and believe in the clam.” 

Humility is the virtue that all of us need to cultivate in the season of Lent. We all make mistakes, and none of us is perfect. We had all better learn humility, or reality will come along and make us humble. 

This Ash Wednesday, as the ashes are placed on our heads and as we distribute ashes, remember the story of that young priest in Rome and smile a little bit. We need to follow the example of the Lord who humbled Himself to share in our humanity so much so he opened his arms on the cross and died. 

We need to be humble, so that the Lord can be exalted and, in our weakness, we can be exalted with him. As we begin this Lent, may we pray, “Our Lady of Humility, patron of the Pontifical North American College … pray for us.”