10 July 2021

Praying in Ordinary Time 2021:
42, San Clemente, Rome

In the courtyard of San Clemente, linked with the Irish Dominicans (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

During this time in the Church Calendar known as Ordinary Time, I am taking some time each morning to reflect in these ways:

1, photographs of a church or place of worship;

2, the day’s Gospel reading;

3, a prayer from the prayer diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel).

This week my photographs are from seven churches in Rome, and my photographs this morning (10 July 2021) are from San Clemente, the church traditionally associated with the Irish Dominicans.

For many Irish people visiting Rome, it is important church to visit San Clemente, between the Coliseum and Saint John Lateran. It has been associated with the Irish Dominicans since 1677. In 1857, the Irish prior, Father Joseph Mullooly, excavated the basilica and found a fourth century church, a temple of Mithras and a Roman house.

The Basilica of Saint Clement is a minor basilica dedicated to Pope Clement I. It is a three-tiered complex of buildings that includes the basilica, built ca 1100, a fourth century basilica that had been the home of a Roman nobleman, dating from the first century and with a basement that had briefly served as a mithraeum or place for worshipping Mithras, and an earlier home of a noble family built on the foundations of a villa destroyed by fire in 64 AD.

The first basilica on the site is known to have existed in 392, when Saint Jerome wrote of the church dedicated to Saint Clement or Clement I, a first-century convert to Christianity. The current basilica was rebuilt in by Cardinal Anastasius ca 1099 to ca 1120. Today, this is one of the most richly adorned churches in Rome.

Irish Dominicans have been the caretakers of San Clemente since 1667, when Urban VIII gave them refuge there. They remained there, running a residence for priests studying and teaching in Rome. The Dominicans conducted the excavations in the 1950s in collaboration with Italian archaeology students.

One chapel has a shrine with the tomb of Saint Cyril of Saints Cyril and Methodius who translated the Bible into Slavic language, created the Glagolitic alphabet and brought Christianity to the Slavs. The last Cardinal Priest was Archbishop Adrianus Johannes Simonis, former Archbishop of Utrecht in the Netherlands.

Matthew 10: 24-33 (NRSVA):

[Jesus said:] 24 ‘A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; 25 it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household!

26 ‘So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. 27 What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. 28 Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground unperceived by your Father. 30 And even the hairs of your head are all counted. 31 So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.

32 ‘Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; 33 but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven.’

Prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary:

The Prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary today (20 July 2021) invites us to pray:

Lord, we pray for the wisdom and strength to be good disciples. May we spread the Gospel with conviction and confidence.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

The view of the Coliseum from the Irish Dominican church at San Clemente (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org

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