San Clemente: Designated Stational Church

February 26, 2013

During Lent, various Churches throughout Rome are designated, by ancient custom, stational churches. San Clemente is the stational church of the Monday of the second week of Lent. It has also become a custom for the Pontifical North American College (the American seminary in Rome) to celebrate Mass at each stational church. A large collection of seminarians and other English-speakers in Rome filled out morning Mass at San Clemente.

Bay leaves on the Floor of San Clemente
Bay leaves on the Floor of San Clemente
The official Stational Mass is held in the evening. It begins in the old 4th century church beneath the current Basilica. From there, the penitential procession begins, singing the litany of the saints. The Mass concludes with the traditional announcement of the church of the next day’s Stational Mass and a solemn blessing with a relic of the true cross. Our celebrant and preacher this year was Fr. Michael Dunleavy of the Province of Ireland, and the former prior here. A nother particular feature of the stational Mass here at San Clemente is the use of bay leaves. Parts of the floor are covered with leaves, so that when you walk on them, the scent is released. The leaves are taken from one of the trees in our garden. As I was concelebrating I was not able to take pictures, however I did take pictures of the leaves after Mass. Kindly Light, the media division of the province of Saint Joseph, is currently producing a documentary film about San Clemente and the Dominicans’ stewardship of it. For more information, “like” the Facebook page Kindly Light Productions, and “follow” on Twitter: @KindlyLightNYC.

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