.- The Press Office of the Holy See announced this morning that Pope Benedict will preside at an Ash Wednesday Mass this Wednesday, February 21st at the Basilica of Santa Sabina.
At 4.30 p.m. on Ash Wednesday - the beginning of Lent - Benedict XVI will preside at a moment of prayer in the church of St. Anselm on Rome's Aventine Hill. Afterwards the Holy Father will lead a “penitential procession” of Cardinals, archbishops, bishops, the Benedictine monks of St. Anselm, the Dominican Fathers of Santa Sabina and lay faithful to the Basilica of Santa Sabina.
Following the procession, the Pope will preside at a Eucharistic celebration in the basilica of Santa Sabina, with the traditional rite of blessing and the imposition of the ashes.
The Basilica was built in the 5th Century over the remains of the Roman martyr Sabina. The Church is one of the most important church’s of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) having been entrusted to St. Dominic himself in 1219. The Saint’s cell is still identifiable in the monastery attached to the Church - though the room has been turned into a chapel - and a dining room remains intact, where St. Thomas Aquinas often took meals.