Fr. Michael says………………
This week holds an interesting feast days for us to celebrate: the dedication of the Lateran Basilica. St. John Lateran is a major church in Rome dedicated to John the Apostle - “Lateran” comes from the name of the family who donated the land the church was built on.
FranciscanMedia.org tells the story:
Story of the Dedication of St. John Lateran
Most Catholics think of St. Peter’s as the pope’s main church, but they are wrong. St. John Lateran is the pope’s church, the cathedral of the Diocese of Rome where the Bishop of Rome presides.
The first basilica on the site was built in the fourth century when Constantine donated land he had received from the wealthy Lateran family. That structure and its successors suffered fire, earthquake, and the ravages of war, but the Lateran remained the church where popes were consecrated. In the 14th century when the papacy returned to Rome from Avignon [France], the church and the adjoining palace were found to be in ruins.
Pope Innocent X commissioned the present structure in 1646. One of Rome’s most imposing churches, the Lateran’s towering facade is crowned with 15 colossal statues of Christ, John the Baptist, John the Evangelist, and 12 doctors of the Church. Beneath its high altar rest the remains of the small wooden table on which tradition holds Saint Peter himself celebrated Mass.
Unlike the commemorations of other Roman churches, this anniversary is a feast. The dedication of a church is a feast for all its parishioners. In a sense, St. John Lateran is the parish church of all Catholics, because it is the pope’s cathedral. This church is the spiritual home of the people who are the Church.
In 1209, St. Francis and some of his companions traveled to the Lateran Basilica to seek Pope Innocent III’s approval for their way of life. The pope approved their rule after having a vision in which a shabby-looking religious brother saved the basilica from collapsing by holding it up himself
Today, if you approach the church from the front, there is statue of St Francis with his arms raised up as he sees the basilica of you stand at the right angle, it looks like he his holding up the front of the church