Sunday, November 8, 2009

La Domenica a la Basilica di San Pietro

Sunday at the Basilica of Saint Peter

Taking in the view form the porch of the Church of Santa Trinita dei Monti, above the Spanish steps, on the walk to San Pietro. The dome of Saint Peter's is visible in the far distance at the center of the photo. The Vatican observatory can be seen on the hilltop to the right.

The view from Santa Trinita' toward the Gianicolo hill.

Santa Trinita' dei Monti

Workers are setting up a display commemorating the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on the Spanish Steps and a stage on the Piazza di Spagna in preparation for a concert to mark the 9 November anniversary.

Castel San Angelo, tomb of emperors and refuge of popes under attack.

Approaching the Basilica of San Pietro from the Tiber River on the Via della Conciliazione.

Fountain of three tiaras near the Leonine wall which stretches from Vatican City to Castel San Angelo and which served as a means of escape for the pope during the Sack of Rome.

The clergy in procession after Sunday Mass in the Basilica of Saint Peter's at the Altar of the Chair.

The cardinal, bishops and priests depart the sanctuary at the conclusion of the liturgy.

Note the "Benedictine arrangement" of six candles and crucifix on the altar, so named for Pope Benedict who proposed this, what he calls "open iconography", to remedy the consequences that resulted from the priest having his back to the crucifix while he stands at altars which require that he and the people look at each other.

This arrangement pictured, with the crucifix placed on the altar, allows for the priest to view the image of the Lord when he celebrates Mass "facing the people". Also known as "versus populum", this trend has become very common after Vatican II, although the documents presumed the priest and people would be facing toward the Lord together during the part of the Mass which we call the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

The traditional custom of one prominently placed crucifix in church sanctuaries followed from the fact that both priest and people could view the image of the crucified Lord together in liturgies celebrated "facing East" while the priest offered the sacrifice at the altar.

The abundant and generous light shed by the use of six candles proclaims the solemnity of this most august sacrifice of Christ, truly present in the Eucharist. The inner connection between the Eucharistic presence of Christ in the Mass and adoration of the Lord in Eucharistic exposition and benediction is also symbolized by the number of candles used, as seen in the fact that the maximum number of candles prescribed for exposition is six, and the minimum four.

Buona Domenica!
Happy Sunday, everyone, and thank you for visiting.

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