Deacon Anthony Cincotta
Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica
November 9, 2020
Book of the Prophet Ezekiel 47:1-2, 8-9, 12; Psalm 46; Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians 3:9c-11, 16-17; John 2:13-22
Today, our Church celebrates the Dedication of the Basilica of Saint John Lateran in Rome, because it is the head and “Mother Church” of all churches in the world. On the façade of the basilica there is a Latin inscription which reads, “The mother and mistress of all churches of Rome and the world.” Interestingly, the Pope’s cathedral is Saint John Lateran and not, as many presume, Saint Peter’s Cathedral in Rome.
Why is that? History gives us the answer. In the early centuries, Christianity was outlawed in Rome and many Christians suffered martyrdom. The Roman Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity. In 313 AD, he issued his famous Edict of Milan which allowed Christians to practice their religion in public. Constantine had been given the palace in Rome by the Laterani. After his conversion, he gave it to the Pope. The Lateran Palace was then adapted to a church and was dedicated on November 9, 324. For a thousand years afterward, popes lived in the palace and it served as their cathedral. Originally, it was called the Basilica of the Savior, but later was dedicated to Saint John the Baptist and Saint John the Evangelist and acquired the name Basilica of Saint John Lateran.
Celebrating the dedication of the Pope’s Cathedral shows our unity with the Holy Father, and our love and respect for him. Not only that, it also shows that we are united with each other in the Church. As we celebrate the dedication of “the mother and mistress of all churches of Rome and the world”, let us pray for those who have gotten lost going through life. We pray that they may find the Church as a true mother, and that Jesus becomes the foundation and corner stone of their lives.
Question of the Day: Do you believe that Jesus is the foundation and corner stone of our lives, because there is a life-giving river flowing from Him to fill us with His grace?
Prayer: “Lord, Your Church is a new temple for all the world, Your body and blood its greatest sacrament. Yet wickedness has crept in among the righteous, Your holy place defiled by sin and human excess. May we purge the associates of the evil one from Your holy places, and fill it with reverence and joy. Amen.” (Prayer for the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome.”