News from San Antonio Church – February 25, 2024

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Weekly Bulletin February 25, 2024

by Terrie Evans

On this 2nd Sunday of Lent in Rome, there are different station churches within the city where the faithful visit for special prayers.  The ancient custom took place when pilgrims journeyed to specific Holy Places.  The station churches were started after those returning from Crusades witnessed processions in Jerusalem by the faithful following the path Our Lord had taken to His Crucifixion.  The custom was brought back to Europe; and in Italy the Lenten tradition began in the 4th Century with pilgrims coming together at a designated point where they are led by a priest to a succession of different churches.  Over the years, the tradition changed and there are no longer processions from Church to Church.  Instead, a different church is chosen during Lent as the focal point for worship.  They are now referred to as “Station Churches” that range from the large Basilica’s like St. Peter to older small unknown chapels.  Each will have several different times for services starting at 7:00 AM with prayers said in many different languages. 

There are over 40 Station Churches that will be used during the Lenten Season from Ash Wednesday until the 2nd Sunday of Easter.  Some of the Station Churches display their Patron Saint’s relics on their station day with prayers offered in memory of their Saint.  People of all religious beliefs are welcome as Pope Francis said: “It is a conscious reminder that we are part of one Christian Family moving together towards God through the Sacrifice of the Mass.”  The Station Church for the 2nd Sunday of Lent is Santa Maria in Domenica della Navicella, a Minor Basilica built in the 5th Century and later modified around the 9th Century.  It overlooks the Piazza della Navicella and is decorated with a mixture of Byzantine Mosaics from the 9th Century and many Renaissance Frescos (murals) donated from the Medici Family in the 16th Century.  The Basilica, Santa Maria Domenica della Navicella is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and has a tradition of being active in local charities and was the church where St. Lawrence distributed alms to the poor.   In 1876, the Frescos located in the nave of the church were painted with floral motifs with inscriptions that reproduced litanies to the Virgin Mary.  In 1932, the basilica was given parish status and since 2003, it has been entrusted to the care of the Priestly Fraternity of the Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo.

On Tuesday February 27, we celebrate the feast day of St. Gregory of Narek, Abbot and Doctor of the Church who was not a Catholic. He was born in 950 AD was a medieval Armenian Monk who was known for his writings of mystical poetry, hymns, and Biblical commentaries.  He excelled in music, astronomy, geometry, mathematics, literature, and theology.  In 977, when he was in his mid-twenties, went on to teach Theology and began writing with his major work, the Book of Lamentations, consisting of 95 prayers for all people. In the works of St. Gregory of Narek and in the Armenian tradition, those hymns and songs to Mary were developed as the primary expression of popular piety.   St. Gregory used metaphors, songs, litanies, and poetry as a way to communicate about Christian truth.  Pope St. John Paul II referenced St. Gregory in his Encyclical, “With powerful poetic inspiration, St. Gregory ponders the mystery of the Incarnation, an occasion to sing and extol the extraordinary dignity and magnificent beauty of the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Word made flesh.” 

St. Gregory lived his entire life in a Monastery located in his Armenian homeland between the Black and Caspian Seas and was never canonized which was common for holy men and women during the early years of the church.  In 2015, on the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Turks, Pope Francis declared St. Gregory of Narek, a Doctor of the Church.  He is the 36th person to be honored and only the 2nd from the churches of the East celebrated in this way.  He is recognized as a Saint in both the Catholic Church and in the Armenian Apostolic Church and is venerated in a special way among those Catholics of the Armenia Rite.  A prayer to St. Gregory of Narek: “St. Gregory, your quiet, humble, and hidden life produced a rich garden of poems and prayers.  May your redolent words and rich images fire our imaginations and inflame our hearts so that our flame of faith burns as hot as yours in its love for Christ and Mary.”

Our San Antonio Church community sends their condolences and prayers on the passing of Michael J. Kroeger three months shy of his 74th birthday.  He was a well-known professional designer, author, educator, Assistant Professor at Mount St. Joseph University where he served as Chair of Department of Graphic Design.  He was one of four boys born to the late Doug and Mary Kroeger.  He is survived by brothers Gregory (Tina Roberto), Stephen (Stephanie Amsbury), and James (Jane).  He leaves many family members, friends and students from Arizona University, the Rhode Island School of Design, University of Cincinnati and from his travels around the world.

On Saturday, March 2nd, San Antonio Church and the Men’s and Ladies Sodality will sponsor their annual Pizza Party.  Takeout Service starts at 12:00 noon and runs until 5:00 Pm to order and pick up your favorite homemade pies.  Tickets for takeout will be available in the Hall after Mass today or please call Dave Sabatelli at 513-405-6444.  All You Can Eat Dine in Service is available from 5:30 PM until 9:00 PM in the Hall for only 125 patrons.  To make a reservation for Dine In All You Can Eat Pizza, please call Jimmy Capano at 513-364-8301, remember, call as soon as possible as in the past years we reach our quota during the last week of February.   This year we will offer everyone’s favorite from the festival days of our church, the Ladies of the Lot Pizza, the original from the women of San Antonio Church.  Other delicious pies offered to everyone’s liking are the Cheese Pizza, the Pepperoni Pizza, the Meat Pizza, the Anchovy Pizza, and the Veggie Pizza.  We even offer a Dessert Pizza, one sweet and one savory; all will be available to takeout or enjoy when you dine in the Hall.  Thank you all for supporting our first fundraiser of 2024.  Tickets are $15 for all you can eat dining and vary for the pizzas for takeout.

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