Ash Wednesday With The Holy Father

Below is a short clip of Ash Wednesday with the Holy Father at Santa Sabina, the headquarters of the Order of Preachers since 1218. Following is a Vatican Radio interview with Fr. Robert Ombres, OP, who just completed his service to the Order as the Procurator General. The Procurater General deals with all the canon law needs of the Order and the nuns are highly indebted to him for his generous work on our behalf. All official communication with the Holy See from the Order is handled by the Procurator General.

ASH WEDNESDAY ON THE ADVENTINE...and an interview with Fr. Robert Ombres, OP

Fr. Ombres (middle) with the English Friars

Pope Benedict officially opens the Lenten season with a traditional Ash Wednesday afternoon procession and mass here in Rome. Each year on this day, the Pope crosses the Tiber river and goes to the Church of Saint Anselm on the Aventine hill where he joins the Benedictine friars and other religious for a moment of prayer. Afterwards, the Holy Father and his entourage of cardinals and bishops proceed just down the street to the basilica of Saint Sabina to celebrate mass and for the blessing and imposition of ashes on the faithful.

The Basilica of Santa Sabina as it’s known here is nestled amidst orange groves and gardens hidden behind old stone walls. It is one of the oldest churches in Rome, dating as far back as about the year 422. Santa Sabina became one of the so-called station churches where Rome’s early Christian community would gather for processions and liturgies in Lent and other periods holy to the Christian calendar.

The priory of the Dominican order is attached to Santa Sabina and most of the friars and religious there participate in the Ash Wednesday services with the Pope. Tracey McClure popped in and asked the order’s procurator general, Fr. Robert Ombres, to accompany her to the basilica for a peek inside...

Special thanks to Rev. Bro. Lawrence Lew, OP (friar on the left) for use of this photo.