Today we celebrate the Feast of The Dedication of the Lateran Basilica. Have to confess in years past it wasnt’ a Feast that much engaged or inspired me. I am not sure when that changed but it did somewhere along the line through, I imagine, visits made to Rome and to the Irish College which is very near the Basilica. Some years ago I celebrated the Wedding Mass of two friends in the Baptistery Chapel next to the Basilica. Maybe that brought it to life for me. Not just a big building anymore but a place where good friends said a prayer, made a life choice and celebrated a Sacrament. Last year I was back in Rome for another wedding – this time in the Irish Franciscans Church but I paid a visit to St John Lateran. I put these words on the blog around those days and thought it might be a good day to re-visit them.
In any case I got on the Metro and a few stops later was beside St John Lateran Basilica – regarded as the major church in Rome, even ahead of St Peter’s. It’s a very impressive building.
Though I didn’t think to take photos of them, one of the things I love about this Basilica is that around the walls of it are twelve life size statues of the Twelve Apostles. It is as if they are still keeping a watchful eye on the Church. A consoling thought for sure.
(Sunday 7th September: Update! I went back there today and was able to attend Evening Mass. It was powerful to see this Basilica in its role as a place for the Faithful to gather in prayer. I noticed Confessions were also taking place but not in English so I had to give that one a miss! Could have been my chance to go to someone who didn’t understand me:) I stayed on for Mass and was happy to do so. The priest sounded very like Pope Francis in his tone and delivery. After Mass I took photos of the twelve. Only then did I notice that Judas’ place is taken by Paul – the Apostle called from the Road to Damascus.)