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NOVEMBER 9th 

Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome

"Thus your walls flash with living stones which, through a supreme exertion of good will, flew like clouds in the heavens." ~ Saint Hildegard, excerpt from her sequence 'O Ierusalem' 

Today, as on every November ninth, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome, the oldest and highest ranking of the four papal basilicas in Rome.  The Basilica of Saint John Lateran is the Cathedral of the Diocese of Rome, the official ecclesiastical Seat of the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, not that of Saint Peter's Basilica as many may mistakenly believe.  The Basilica is also called the Church of Holy Savior or the Church of Saint John Baptist. 

In ancient Rome, this was the Church where everyone came to be baptized.  It is the oldest church constructed in the West, built in the time of the first Christian Emperor Constantine and was consecrated by Saint Pope Sylvester the First in the year 324.  Eventually, this feast became a universal celebration in honor of the Archbasilica, the ecclesiastical Mother Church, called "the mother and mistress of all churches of Rome and the world" ("omnium urbis et orbis ecclesiarum mater et caput"), as a sign of filial love for and spiritual union with the See of Peter.

In his Angelus Address of November 9, 2008, Pope Benedict the Sixteenth commented about this Feast:

"Dear friends, today’s feast celebrates a mystery that is always relevant: God’s desire to build a spiritual temple in the world, a community that worships him in spirit and truth (cf. the Gospel of Saint John 4: 23-24).  But this observance also reminds us of the importance of the material buildings in which the community gathers to celebrate the praises of God.  Every community therefore has the duty to take special care of its own sacred buildings, which are a precious religious and historical patrimony.  For this we call upon the intercession of Mary Most Holy, that she help us to become, like her, the “house of God,” the living Temple of his love."

Collect [Opening Prayer] for the Feast of the Dedication of Lateran Basilica in Rome: 

O God, who from living and chosen stones prepare an eternal dwelling for your Majesty, increase in your Church the spirit of grace you have bestowed, so that by new growth your faithful people may build up the heavenly Jerusalem. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.  Amen.