15 November 2023

Daily prayers in the Kingdom Season
with USPG: (11) 15 November 2023

Inside the Basilica of Saint Bartholomew and Saint Gaetano in Bologna (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

In this time between All Saints’ Day and Advent Sunday, we are in the Kingdom Season in the Calendar of the Church of England. This week began with the Third Sunday before Advent and Remembrance Sunday (12 November 2023).

Before today begins, I am taking some time for prayer and reflection early this morning.

Throughout the rest of this week, I am resuming my theme of Italian cathedrals and churches, and my reflections this morning are following this pattern:

1, A reflection on a church in Bologna;

2, the Gospel reading of the day in the Church of England lectionary;

3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary.

The Basilica di San Bartolomeo, behind the Two Towers in Bologna (Photograph: Georges Jansoone/Wikipedia CC BY 2.5)

The Basilica of Saint Bartholomew and Saint Gaetano, Bologna:

The Basilica of Santi Bartolomeo e Gaetano (Saint Bartholomew and Saint Cajetan) is a Renaissance style church near the Due Torri beside the Strada Maggiore in central Bologna.

A church dedicated to Saint Bartholemew had stood on the site since the fifth century, and it may have been built on the site of an even older church. The church was rebuilt in the 13th century and housed a community of Benedictine monks until the 16th century.

The present church was designed by Giovanni Battista Falcetti with elaboration by Agostino Barelli. It owes its awkward fa├žade because it was built in 1517 at the site of a palace begun by Andrea da Formigine for the Gozzadini family. The project is seen in the single-storey portico along the exterior, but soon after the side portico was completed the project was interrupted by the death of the patron.

The church came into the possession of the Theatine order in 1599. The Theatines, officially the Congregation of Clerics Regular (Ordo Clericorum Regularium, CR), were founded in 1524 by Saint Cajetan (Gaetano dei Conti di Thiene), Paolo Consiglieri, Bonifacio da Colle, and Bishop Gian Pietro Carafa, later Pope Paul IV. The future pope was Bishop of Chieti or Theate, a city in Abruzzi, and the order took its specific name from the diocese to distinguish it from other similar orders.

In 1627, the Theatines commissioned a complete rebuilding of the complex by Giovanni Battista Natali (‘Il Falzetta’) and by Agostino Barelli.

When San Gaetano (Saint Cajetan), the founder of the Theatine order, was canonised in 1671, his name was added to the dedication of the church. The bell-tower and final chapels were completed by 1694.

The ceiling of the central nave depicts the Vision of San Gaetano (1667) by Angelo Michele Colonna and Giacomo Alboresi. The second altar on the right has an image of Saint Charles Borromeo at the cemetery of Varallo (1614) by Ludovico Carracci. The fourth altar on right image of the Annunciation (1632) by Francesco Albani, who also painted the frescoes depicting the Nativity and the Dream of Joseph (1633).

The ceiling of the transept depicts the Glory of San Stefano (1695) by Giovanni Antonio Burrini and Marcantonio Chiarini.

The apse has a depiction of the Martyrdom of San Bartolomeo and Two Miracles of the Saint in frescoes by Marcantonio Franceschini and Luigi Quaini (1685). The cupola was decorated by Giuseppe and Antonio Rolli in 1691. The chapel in the left transept shows Beato Paolo Buralli (1772) by Ubaldo Gandolfi and the Madonna with a sleeping Christ Child by Guido Reni (1632).

The lunettes of the portico were decorated with scenes from the life of Saint Cajetan, including one by Lucio Massari. The Baroque interior also has paintings by Alessandro Tiarini, Ercole de Maria and Carlo Baldi.

The church was dedicated as a minor basilica in 1924. The bell tower is 52 metres high and stands in Via San Vitale.

The Basilica of Saint Bartholomew and Saint Gaetano has richly decotrated cupolas and domes (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Luke 17: 11-19 (NRSVA):

11 On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, 13 they called out, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ 14 When he saw them, he said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were made clean. 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. 16 He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus asked, ‘Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? 18 Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’ 19 Then he said to him, ‘Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.’

An icon of the calling of Simon Peter and Andrew in the Basilica of Saint Bartholomew and Saint Gaetano (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Today’s Prayers (Wednesday 15 November 2023):

The theme this week in ‘Pray With the World Church,’ the Prayer Diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel), draws on ‘A Prayer for Remembrance Sunday and International Day of Tolerance’. This theme was introduced on Sunday.

The USPG Prayer Diary today (15 November 2023) invites us to pray in these words:

We pray for interfaith initiatives around the world. May we seek out friendships with people of other faiths and learn more about other religions.

The steps of the pulpit in the basilica … the Theatine order emphasised evangelisation and preaching (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

The Collect:

Almighty Father,
whose will is to restore all things
in your beloved Son, the King of all:
govern the hearts and minds of those in authority,
and bring the families of the nations,
divided and torn apart by the ravages of sin,
to be subject to his just and gentle rule;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

The Post-Communion Prayer:

God of peace,
whose Son Jesus Christ proclaimed the kingdom
and restored the broken to wholeness of life:
look with compassion on the anguish of the world,
and by your healing power
make whole both people and nations;
through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Additional Collect:

God, our refuge and strength,
bring near the day when wars shall cease
and poverty and pain shall end,
that earth may know the peace of heaven
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Yesterday’s Reflection

Continued Tomorrow

Getting ready for Advent and Christmas … a side altar in the Basilica of Saint Bartholomew and Saint Gaetano in Bologna (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

The Basilica di San Bartolomeo is close to the Piazza di Porta Ravegnana, with the Two Towers, symbols of Bologna, and a statue of San Petronio, the city’s patron saint (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

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