Saturday of Week III of Lent

Big countries in the world have national churches in Rome, so that foreign people can have a church of their own while sojourning in the eternal city. The Church of St. Susanna is the national church for the United States of America. At the request of US President Harding, Pope Benedict XV allowed the American Paulists to administer this church.

The patroness of the church is the daughter of St. Gabinus, who owned a house at this site in the third century. Susanna was a well educated woman, so much so that the emperor Diocletian wanted her to marry his son. When she refused to marry, she was beheaded together with her father.

A church was built here in 330. The present Baroque structure was built in 1593.

The present Cardinal-Priest of the titular church is Cardinal Bernard Law, former Archbishop of Boston and Archpriest of the Basilica of St. Mary Major. WikiLeaks revealed that he had been instrumental in helping the Vatican to establish a good relationship with Vietnam. He has just reached the age of 80 and cannot take part in the election of the new pope in the future.

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