Lent: April 8th
Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Other Commemorations: St. Julie Billiart, religious (RM)
Communion Antiphon, 1 Pt 2:24:
Jesus bore our sins in his own body on the cross, so that dead to sin, we might live for righteousness. By his wounds we have been healed.
It is one week before Good Friday. Today's Mass is a further reminder of how hatred against Christ escalated in those final days before Holy Week. Fridays of Lent have a special penitential quality. —The Vatican II Weekday MissalToday the Roman Martyrology commemorates St. Julie Billiart, a French religious who founded, and was the first Superior General of, the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.
What do we do for the salvation of souls? It is true that we pray for one another, offer a few words of comfort, and do each other slight favors; but we do little more. Christ was more generous. He endured the crowning of thorns and dragged the heavy cross to Calvary. We pamper our bodies as if they were our last end. We prefer to have our heads crowned with laurels and roses. We are impatient and consider ourselves unfortunate whenever we are called on to carry a mere splinter of the cross of Christ. Are we one in spirit with Him?
St. Julie Billiart
Saint Julie was a woman completely immersed in God’s love and goodness, even in the midst of great suffering. She was a woman of vision who responded to the needs of the suffering world around her.
Friday of the 5th Week of Lent
Station with St Stephen's Rotunda at the Coelian (Santo Stefano Rotondo al Celio):
The Station, at Rome, is in the church of St. Stephen on Monte Celio (the Coelian Hill). The church is dedicated first to St. Stephen, the First Martyr, but is also dedicated unofficially to St. Stephen of Hungary. This is the Hungarian national church. This church is southeast of the Colosseum, off the usual beaten path. The actual site of the church was occupied by a set of barracks housing Roman soldiers. The earliest church was consecrated by Pope Simplicius between 468 and 483. Its architecture is unique in the Late Roman world and the oldest example of a circular church, often thought that it was modelled on the Anastasis of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Although the inside is circular, the exterior is on a cruciform plan. The church has undergone various periods of ruination, disrepair, and restoration. The relics of the first martyr were never in the church.
Besides being one of the original churches in the round, another key feature is found on the walls of the church, decorated with numerous frescoes, portraying 34 scenes of martyrdom, commissioned by Gregory XIII in the 16th century. Each painting has a titulus or inscription explaining the scene and giving the name of the emperor who ordered the execution, as well as a quotation from the Bible.
For more information, see:
Liturgical Arts Journal
Rome Art Lover
For further information on the Station Churches, see The Stational Church.