Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome

Today we celebrate and recall with great affection all of you who have been generous patrons of the works of the Church. Why? Catholicism is a religion which sets its tent among the people of God. That “tent” can be a hospital, a school, a shelter for the homeless, or a University. St. John Lateran was built by Constantine after the persecutions of the previous emperor Diocletian. This is more than a church, it is a manifesto which proclaims and continues to proclaim that God’s continued work in Christ in union with the Holy Spirit is not just some fly-by-night operation, instead it is here to stay to the end of time. Of course brick and mortar is not the Church, but it helps to take a stand in world that frequently rejects the God-given dignity allotted to every individual. The importance of the brick and mortar reality of the Catholic Church is no better argued than the fact that countries who are against religious freedom will not allow churches to be built. We can never substitute the living witness of Christ for a bigger and better building, but those buildings inhabited by men and women of faith can be all the difference for the world.

November 9th, 2017