LENTEN STATION CHURCHES OF ROME: TUESDAY OF WEEK 2, SAINT BALBINA – VATICAN RELEASES DETAILS OF PAPAL TRIP TO NAPLES – POPE FRANCIS APPROVES STATUTES OF HOLY SEE ECONOMIC ENTITIES

San Diego has a new bishop: It was announced today by the Vatican that the Holy Father has appointed Auxiliary Bishop Robert McElroy of San Francisco as bishop of San Diego. Called by some the “Francis of the West,” Bishop McElroy, 61 and a native Californian,  is known as a social justice leader with preferences for helping the poor and marginalized. His appointment comes six months after the untimely death by cancer of his much loved predecessor, Bishop Cirilo Flores.

I don’t usually report all papal appointments in the United States but I have an interest in and follow all things San Diego as I have family and many friends in the diocese of San Diego. This is where my parents bought their retirement home in 1977, a home we “kids”  now own.

LENTEN STATION CHURCHES OF ROME: TUESDAY OF WEEK 2, SAINT BALBINA 

St. Balbina is a saint of the early Roman church about whom little is known for certain.  An early tradition holds that she was the daughter of a Roman tribune named Quirinus who was martyred for the faith.  Having lived a holy life as a virgin, she would later be buried with him in the catacombs, with her relics now being venerated in this place.

Located near the Baths of Carcalla, the church which bears her name stands in a peaceful area on the side of the Aventine Hill.  In ancient Roman times, this was the location of the home of Lucius Felix Cilonus, a wealthy Roman, who built a large house for himself here in the early fourth century.  This likely included a large hall, because the central part of the current church dates back to about that period.  Some parts existed even earlier than this, dating back to the second century after Christ.  The complex later came into Christian hands, and around the year 370, a substantial renovation heightened the walls and modified the internal layout of the church, essentially giving it the lines it has today.

Although the early title of this church is not known for certain, it is thought by many that this was referred to as the titulus Tigridae, possibly making reference to an early sponsor or founder of the church in this area.  Tradition has it that it was at this church that the Emperor Constantine bade farewell to the Pope on his departure for Constantinople.  The following centuries saw some slight modifications to the church: the rebuilding of the apse in the medieval period, the porch added in the late sixteenth century, and some interior decoration in the early eighteenth century.  Further renovations took place in 1813 and 1825.  A successful restoration in 1928 removed most of the later additions and reconstructed some of the original furnishings to reveal the original simplicity of the church. (source: http://www.pnac,org)

Also available is the usual great account (plus photos) by Brian Lenz of his morning pilgrimage with other seminarians to this church: http://blenzinrome.blogspot.it/2014/03/tuesday-of-second-week-santa-balbina.html

VATICAN RELEASES DETAILS OF PAPAL TRIP TO NAPLES

(VIS) – Pope Francis will travel to Pompeii and Naples on Saturday, March 21. He will leave the Vatican by helicopter at 7 a.m., and will arrive at the meeting area of the Shrine of Pompeii an hour later. Following a moment of prayer at the shrine, he will transfer by helicopter to the Scampia sports field in Naples. He will then meet with representatives of various different groups in Piazza Giovanni Paolo II, and at 11 a.m. he will celebrate Holy Mass in Piazza del Plebiscito.

At 1 p.m., Pope Francis will visit the “Giuseppe Salvia” detention center at Poggioreale, where he will lunch with a group of detainees. Two hours later he will venerate the relics of St. Januarius and, in the Cathedral of Naples, will meet the clergy, men and women religious and permanent deacons of the archdiocese. An hour later, in the Gesù Nuovo Basilica, he will meet with a group of sick people and, at 5 p.m. in the maritime quarter of Caracciolo, he will meet with a group of young Neapolitans.

The Pope will depart from the Naples Maritime Centre by helicopter at 6.15 p.m., and is due to arrive in the Vatican at 7 p.m.

POPE FRANCIS APPROVES STATUTES OF HOLY SEE ECONOMIC ENTITIES

(VIS) The Holy Father has approved the statutes of the new economic entities of the Holy See: the Council for the Economy, the Secretariat for the Economy and the General Auditor’s Office. The three statutes, signed February 22, 2015, feast of the Chair of St. Peter, were approved “ad experimentum” and entered into force on March 1, 2015 prior to their publication in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis.

(VIS added that the statutes may be consulted on the Vatican website: www.vatican.va but did not specify where. As I post this column, I have not found them).

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