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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Dedication of the Lateran Basilica

"The waters of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High!" Ps 46

Celebrating the dedication of a church is always important, especially parish churches. What a privilege it is to remember all the people of God, especially immigrants, who dreamed about building a place to worship that would help them praise God and honor all those who helped them settle in a new land. St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City is said to have been built by the dollar bills of Irish cleaning women who worked in the hotels and buildings around the Cathedral. Even today it is a place of pilgrimage for so many who visit, pray and remember the struggles of those who built this magnificent church.

It is the faith of those who have gone before us that we pause to remember today. Usually poor and often without work, the people who built our parish churches never forgot who they were even when life seemed unfair and overwhelming. Though they may not have had much to say in the society and land to which they came in hope of a better life, their faith sustained them and promised them, even if they failed to secure their dreams, that God would never abandon them.

The Lateran Basilica in Rome is no different. True, it is the church of the bishop of Rome, the Pope, but it is not only the Pope who prays there. Like every other pilgrimage site it is more than a place of beautiful architecture and art, it is the home of thousands of believers through the centuries who enter not to see the Pope but to encounter God.

Today, make a visit to a parish church and the let the faith of those who built it seep into your heart.

Do you have a favorite church or parish that continues to sustain your faith even today?

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