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 CNS Story:

PAUL-PILGRIMS Jun-6-2008 (320 words) xxxi

Nine pilgrimage sites in Rome readied for Pauline year

By John Thavis
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Nine Rome pilgrimage sites linked to the life of St. Paul are being readied for visitors during the jubilee year dedicated to the apostle, church officials announced.

Pope Benedict XVI plans to inaugurate the Pauline year June 28 at an evening prayer service in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. He will light a votive lamp that will burn continually during the jubilee, which ends June 29, 2009.

Vatican officials are hoping pilgrims and religious tourists will give special attention to St. Paul, and the nine sites being promoted all have connections to the saint's life in Rome.

In addition to the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, where St. Paul's tomb lies under the main altar, the sites include St. Peter's Basilica and the Basilica of St. John Lateran.

Another site is the Abbey of the Three Fountains, built on the spot where St. Paul was beheaded on the order of Roman Emperor Nero. According to legend, his severed head rebounded and struck the earth in three different places from which fountains sprang forth.

Two small churches are also featured on the pilgrim's route: San Paolo alla Regola (St. Paul's at Regola) and Santa Maria in Via Lata (Our Lady at Via Lata), traditionally considered the first and second houses where St. Paul lived and taught in Rome.

The church of Santa Prisca on the Aventine Hill is included. It was believed to be the residence of St. Prisca, a first-century martyr known by St. Paul.

Also on the route are the basilica and catacombs dedicated to St. Sebastian. The relics of St. Paul were thought to have been preserved in these catacombs before being moved to their permanent burial site.

A final stop is the Mamertine Prison near the Roman Forum, where St. Paul was believed to have been incarcerated.


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