The third of the “Feasts of November” is celebrated on this day, the anniversary of the Dedication of the Cathedral Church of Rome, the Lateran Basilica of Saint John the Baptist. The inscription on the cornerstone bears the words “Mother and head of all churches in Rome and all the world.” While this event, presided over by Pope Saint Sylvester I on November 9, 324, might have seemed to be an obscure papal ritual, it marked the public acknowledgement that the Church of Jesus Christ was not an excommunicated sect of Judaism, but rather a vessel of God’s saving work. In this place, where Christianity became “legal”, five Ecumenical Councils were convoked and convened, and the Popes resided and reigned from the 4th through 14th centuries.
We keep this feast to recall that we too are called to go “public” with our faith. And so we pray:
“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.”
We give thanks in these days to our veterans as Tuesday’s annual celebration of Veteran’s Day is observed. Saint Martin of Tours, whose feast day is celebrated on that day, is known as the patron of soldiers (and of wine producers!). After serving in the military he converted to Christianity and founded a monastery. He was the first non-martyr to be canonized a saint.
May the week ahead be filled with countless graces and blessings!