Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle B

The Dedication of the Lateran Basilica

lateran basilica.jpg


1 Cor 3:9-11, 16-17.

“The temple of God is sacred, and you are that temple”

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome which took place on this date. At first it may seem strange to make a feast of the dedication of a church built centuries ago in a distant place, but this church is of special significance. It is the cathedral church of the diocese of Rome; this, not St. Peter’s Basilica, is the Pope’s cathedral as Bishop of Rome. The Emperor Constantine built the church in the early fourth century. It was originally dedicated to the Most Holy Saviour. From the fourth to the fourteenth century popes lived at the Lateran.

At first this feast was kept only in Rome as this church was seen as the ‘Mother Church’ of the city of Rome. But later it was seen as the Mother and Head of all Churches of the City and the World and the feast was extended to the whole Roman Rite. In celebrating the anniversary of its dedication we proclaim our union with and love for the church of Rome, which presides over the whole universal Church.

The readings of today’s feast remind us that the Church, the true sanctuary of God, is not a building but the risen body of Christ. Through baptism we are made members of that body and, as such, are building blocks of the temple of God’s presence, of which Christ alone is the essential foundation. Today we rejoice in our membership of the universal church and pray for its greater unity.