We should glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ
Galatians 6:14

Photos for Today  Thanks, Alison!

Mass at Il Duomo (photo by Joseph Adam).

Steve Cavitt got these shots as the choir sang Mass at San Marco:

More shots from Alison:

Father Ryan's Florence photos (Thank you!!):

Mike Galvin's photo:



MORNING: The Basilica of Santa Croce

This great basilica is one of the oldest Franciscan churches. It is said that it was founded by St. Francis himself. Like the cathedral church, it was begun by Arnolfo di Cambio. It has sixteen side chapels, many of them decorated by Giotto and his contemporaries. This church is the resting-place for many Florentine greats, including Michelangelo, Galileo, Macchiavelli, and the composer Rossini. The splendor of this place of prayer, dedicated in honor of the Holy Cross, is a powerful reminder that for us who believe, the Cross is a glorious paradox: an instrument of torture becomes a tree of life. We adorn the cross with precious jewels and gold, not to conceal it, but to be reminded that the Cross we adore is always an Easter cross.

An Ancient Hymn in Honor of the Cross

The royal banners forward go,
The cross shines forth in mystic glow,
Where he through whom our flesh was made,
In that same flesh our ransom paid.
Fulfilled is now what David told
In true prophetic song of old,
How God the nationsí king should be;
For God is reigning from the tree.
(Vexilla Regis by Venantius Fortunatus, 7th c.; trans. John M. Neale)

Intentions for the morning

PILGRIMS TO ROME: Today let us pray for the sick, those who suffer from chronic physical or mental illness, that the crosses they bear may be transformed into signs of victory.

PILGRIMS AT HOME: Today we pause by the Lenten Cross on the altar. Let us pray for all those who have heavy crosses to bear: the poor, the elderly, those who suffer from loneliness, depression, prejudice, or injustice.


EVENING: The Basilica of Santa Maria del Fiore (Il Duomo)

The cathedral church of Florence was begun in 1296 by Arnolfo di Cambio; Brunelleschiís dome was finally completed in 1436. Almost every major artist of the Renaissance contributed something to this great structure, from Giotto to Ghiberti to Donatello, Uccello, Della Robbia - and many others. In 1439, just three years after the cathedralís dedication, the Council of Florence was held here, an effort to reunite East and West. It was in this church that the reformer Girolamo Savonarola preached during his brief reign in Florence (the famous Bonfire of the Vanities took place not far from here, in the Piazza della Signoria, on the day before Ash Wednesday, 1497). Given its rich history, this great church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary is a good place to pray for unity, tolerance and understanding.

A Pilgrim Prayer for Unity

Father, grant that your Sonís disciples, purified in memory and acknowledging their failings, may be one, that the world may believe. May dialogue between the followers of the great religions prosper, and may all people discover the joy of being your children. May the intercession of Mary, Mother of your faithful people, in union with the righteous of all nations in every age, make this a time of renewed hope and of joy in the Spirit for each of us and for the whole Church. (From Pope John Paul IIís Prayer for the Great Jubilee Year 2000.)

Intentions for the evening

PILGRIMS TO ROME: We pray that people of all faiths may learn to dialogue with one another, and strive to understand one another better.

PILGRIMS AT HOME: Today we ask Mary, Queen of Peace, to bless our hearts, our homes, our city, our nation, and our world, with her heavenly intercession.


This Italian website features links to live webcams in Florence
Visit the Uffizzi Gallery
Explore the history of Florence at Wikipedia
Visit Santa Maria del Fiore (il Duomo) online