St. John Lateran

The Cathedra of St. John Lateran. Personal Photograph, April 2019.

Within the Roman Catholic Church, today is the feast day of the Dedication of the Archbasilica Cathedral of the Most Holy Savior and Saints John the Baptist and John the Evangelist at the Lateran, or far more commonly known, the Dedication of St. John Lateran.

This church is the “mother” church to western Christianity. The first public Christian house of worship in Rome, first dedicated in 324 after Constantine converted and the Roman persecutions ended.

As seen in the picture above, it contains the cathedra for the Bishop of Rome (thus Rome’s cathedral) and the Bishop of Rome is, of course, better known as the Pope.

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Extraordinary Urbi et Orbi

Today, Pope Francis presided over an extraordinary Ubti et Orbi blessing. This blessing, “to the city and to the world”, is traditionally given a couple times of the year on Easter and New Year’s Day. It has attached to it a plenary indulgence. Pope Francis delivered the blessing after the below reflection due to the novel coronavirus impacting everyone around the world.

This is a beautiful reflection. I wanted to pull a few quotes from it, but frankly, the whole read is worth it.

“When evening had come” (Mk 4:35). The Gospel passage we have just heard begins like this. For weeks now it has been evening. Thick darkness has gathered over our squares, our streets and our cities; it has taken over our lives, filling everything with a deafening silence and a distressing void, that stops everything as it passes by; we feel it in the air, we notice in people’s gestures, their glances give them away. We find ourselves afraid and lost. Like the disciples in the Gospel we were caught off guard by an unexpected, turbulent storm. We have realized that we are on the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented, but at the same time important and needed, all of us called to row together, each of us in need of comforting the other. On this boat… are all of us. Just like those disciples, who spoke anxiously with one voice, saying “We are perishing” (v. 38), so we too have realized that we cannot go on thinking of ourselves, but only together can we do this.

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