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Godzdogz

The blog of the Dominican student brothers at Blackfriars, Oxford.

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Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Today we celebrate the feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome. 

Being the cathedral of the Roman Pontiff, it is also, in a sense, our cathedral too as Christians united with him through the bond of communion. The fact that we celebrate this dedication signifies the importance of the See of Rome for the universal Church. But this is not a celebration of thanksgiving for the See of Rome itself, but a celebration of the dedication of its cathedral, made by human hands and comprised of various materials. Man has spent not only money, but also time and energy in designing and constructing the building, as well as all the decorations which adorn it, inside and out. The construction and beautifying of a cathedral involves the whole man: his mind, his will, his physical labour. Setting aside the aesthetic qualities and values of the Lateran, it is a reminder of the importance of our church buildings for the life of the Christian community, most particularly with regard to the worship it offers. As the Alleluia refrain from today’s Mass says: “I have chosen and consecrated this house, says the Lord, for my name to be there forever.”

The cathedral is the mother church of the diocese where the liturgy is celebrated. It is fundamentally a house of prayer in which the People of God gather to offer praise to God and to receive the heavenly gifts he has entrusted to the Church in order to nourish the pilgrim people making their journey to Him. The Lateran Basilica is a most special cathedral being the seat of the Roman Pontiff, Christ’s vicar and visible head of the Church. All bishops represent Christ as head of the Church in their diocese; the Roman Pontiff, holding universal jurisdiction over the entire Church, represents Christ as head of the Church in a unique sense. When the Church gathers with him for the celebration of the Eucharist it is an event of particular symbolic significance. 

We give thanks particularly for those involved in the construction and continued maintenance of the Lateran Basilica, and pray that the Holy Father may truly imitate the Lord whom he is called to visibly represent to the universal Church throughout the world.

Br Joseph Bailham O.P.

Br Joseph Bailham O.P.

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