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The Station Churches

by George Weigel with Elizabeth Lev photographed by Stephen Weigel

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2013
ISBN: 978-0465027699
Publisher: Basic

Lent in Rome, one church at a time.

Noted scholar of Catholicism Weigel (Evangelical Catholicism: Deep Reform in the 21st Century Church, 2013, etc.) ambitiously shares the Lenten practice of visiting various churches in Rome each day during the season leading up to Easter (as well as Easter Week). Aided by Lev and photographer Weigel, the author presents a comprehensive, visually appealing work. Weigel’s Lenten tour of Rome acts as part travelogue and part theological primer, and he introduces readers to some of Rome’s most splendid and historically significant places of worship. A key to appreciating Weigel’s book, however, is to see it in the way he presents it: as a story of pilgrimage. Just as early Christians first visited the tombs of martyrs throughout Rome, modern-day Christians replicate their path by visiting the shrines, churches and cathedrals that rose up from those original tombs. Weigel is keen to share the power and importance of pilgrimage as a practice and as a concept. Each chapter—representing a day of the Lenten/Easter calendar—includes readings for the day, photos of the site, a historical sidebar and discussion of the church’s wider theological importance. Weigel does an admirable job of weaving story and history into each chapter, introducing readers to characters long since forgotten to most. All the while, the author clearly describes the architectural importance of each site. Though non-Catholics may find this expansive and rich study a difficult introduction to the Catholic view of Lent, many Catholics will find it both interesting and inviting. The grandeur of Catholic Rome is clearly on display here, albeit tied to a humbler past that suffered from the brutality of others yet still endured.

Engrossing, expansive pictorial study on a renewed Lenten discipline at the heart of Roman Catholicism.