In Rome, there is a tradition dating back to the early Christianity of having Mass at a different church each day during Lent. We call the designated churches, the Station Churches. The North American College, my seminary, offers Mass in English at the daily Station Church each morning at 7:00am. So each day we make a pilgrimage, leaving the seminary around 6:00am and walking in silent prayer to the Station Church.
The average walk has been about forty minutes. Ash Wednesday began with an early morning Mass at Santa Sabina on the Aventine Hill. The Pope had the official Station Church Mass there that evening. On March 1st, I was the Lector at the Mass offered in San Lorenzo in Panisperna by Father Riley Williams, the newly ordained priest from Osterville. San Lorenzo in Panisperna is built on the spot where the Roman deacon, St. Lawrence, was martyred in 258. He was burned alive over a fire. In him we see the great freedom and joy of the martyrs. After being sufficiently burned on one side of his body, he is said to have remarked to his executioners, "Turn me over, I'm done on this side."
Studying theology has been a great blessing. I have grown to love the theology of our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, especially in his two volume work, Jesus of Nazareth. He beautifully presents a synthesis of up-to-date theology and rich Catholic Tradition. My first semester ended well. Most of my courses ended with a ten minute oral examination, which alone determines the final grade. This was the first time I had to take this type of exam, so I must admit that I was very nervous for most of them. The new semester of courses began on February 20. I have five classes taught in Italian: Pentateuch, Liturgy, Patristics, Fundamental Theology, and Greek. Finally I have a seminar discussion in English.
Please continue to pray for me and be assured of my prayers for you.