POPE JOHN has revived a Lenten custom which had fallen into disuse for over two centuries. On Ash Wednesday he personally took part rsonally in a colletta, that is a meeting of the clergy and faithful in one church followed by a procession to the stational church for the Stations of the Cross.
This was the first time a Pope
personally had walked rsonally in such a rocession since the time of Benedict XIV (1740-1758) and Clement XIII (17584769). The Ash „.inesday procession was from the church of St. Alexis to the nearh Basilica of Santa Sabina. The Pope will continue to take part n Lenten processions each Sunda) during Lent but he will not c, line himself to the processions at Rome's traditional stational cl ,u-ches.
Earlier on Ash Wednesday, the Pope put ashes on the foreheads of members of his household On Friday, he went to the Ma Ida chapel in the Vatican for the Irst of the Lenten sermons by Fr. Ilarino da Milano, 0.F.M.: ip., the Apostolic Preacher, who has traditionally the duty to preach in the Vatican every Friday in Lent. The office has been reserved to the Capuchin friars since 1743.
Speaking in Santa Sabina on Ash Wednesday, the Pope expressed the hope that the coming Ecumenical Council, by its internal effect on the Church, would present the Church to separated Christians as "the Church of your fathers into which we are ready to welcome you".