November 14th

There are two rather unusual feast days that fall in the month of November.  Ordinarily feast days are occasions on which we celebrate a Saint, but these two feast days have us celebrate buildings.  On Tuesday of last week (Nov. 9) we celebrated the Dedication of Saint John Lateran, and this coming Thursday (Nov. 18) we will celebrate the Dedication of the Churches of Saints Peter and Paul.

It might seem strange, at first, to think about the fact that we are celebrating feast days for the dedication of buildings that stand across an ocean, but when we stop to consider the importance of what those Churches represent, it can begin to make more sense.

Saint John Lateran is the Cathedral of Rome.  Each diocese throughout the world has a Church where the Bishop resides which is known as the “Cathedral” of the diocese.  The word “Cathedral” comes from the Latin word for “chair” (“cathedra”).  The Bishop’s chair has traditionally been seen as the sign of his teaching authority.

The Pope is the Bishop of Rome and Saint John Lateran is his Cathedral.  The feast of the dedication of the Pope’s Cathedral is a celebration of the universality of our Church.  One of the ways that our Church is truly “One” is that we are all united under the Vicar of Christ on earth, the Pope.

This coming Thursday we will celebrate the dedication of the Churches of Saint Peter and Paul.  This feast day, too, is about more than the mere buildings.  (Although they are very beautiful buildings!)  These two Churches are dedicated to two of the most important Apostles.  Our Lord entrusted the Keys of the Kingdom to Saint Peter, a sign of entrusting Saint Peter with authority.  Saint Paul was the great Apostles to the Gentiles: he helped spread the Faith far and wide through his missionary journeys (which can be read about in Acts of the Apostles).  These two Apostles were very important for the early Church.  The feast of the dedication of the Churches dedicated to their honor calls to our minds the “Apostolic” nature of our Church (the fact that it was founded upon the Apostles).

On another note: In my last few articles, I attempted to explain the importance of praying for the souls of the faithful departed as well as indulgences.  I hope that those articles helped clarify rather than further confuse the issue.  If you have further questions on the topic of indulgences (or any other questions that you would like to see addressed in future bulletin articles) feel free to email them to me; I’ll do my best to answer them.

God bless,

Father White