The Feast of the Pope's Cathedral: Where Pallotti Was Ordained Priest
“Upon entering the churches, all should be impressed as if they were entering into paradise.”
St. Vincent Pallotti
9 November • Rome, Italy
The Dedication of the Basilica of St. John Lateran
St. John Lateran: The world’s first Christian basilica. The Cathedral of Rome- and hence the seat of its Bishop- was home to the Popes for a thousand years, until moving to the Vatican in the fourteenth century.
Commissioned by Constantine- the city’s first Christian emperor- it also served as a most sacred place to our holy Founder. He prayed there often during his youth, it was where the Cardinal Vicar conferred the Order of the Diaconate upon him, and 200 years ago, where he was ordained priest.
In honor of his bicentenary anniversary on 16 May 2018, the Pallottine Family celebrated Mass where the city’s Saint began his ministry. And just as Rome’s priest started his life’s most precious chapter in this Church, so too does this Basilica also represent the beginning of one of Christianity’s most important pages.
When Constantine the Great made his ascent to emperor, it ended the great persecution of Christians. Soon thereafter, Christianity overtook Paganism as the official religion of the Empire. His mother is St. Helena, who obtained Sainthood by finding the True Cross. She is also attributed to carrying the Scala Santa, or the Holy Stairs, to Rome; the stairs which Jesus climbed on his way to His trial with Pontius Pilate. These are located just across the street from the Basilica, by which pilgrims ascend on their knees.
Consecrated in AD 324, it has more than stood its test of trials, fires, and attempted destruction. But upon Peter’s rock, it shall always prevail! As briefly mentioned, it was the home of the Popes for 1,000 years until the 14th Century; when- after the Avignon Papacy and the reign of 3 Popes- the Papal seat returned to Rome. The clergy, seeing it in such distress, decided to move to St. Peter’s Basilica. Thus began Vatican City as we know it; which, again, was first constructed by Constantine the Great.
Let us remember in prayer and thanksgiving the “Mother of All Churches;” and in the spirit of St. Vincent Pallotti, pray for vocations around the world.
Happy and Holy Feast!