The Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome can be baffling. I remember priest after priest trying to share the historical story and significance of St. John Lateran. It is the cathedral of Rome, the “home church” of the pope as Bishop of Rome, and considered to be the “the mother and mistress of all churches of Rome and the world”. (Here is more information on it’s history.)
When I began travelling to Rome for the Marianist Family, I visited the Basilica regularly. It was within walking distance of where we were meeting. Sometimes the feast day took place during our meetings, so it took on a new significance for me.
I have a love-hate relationship with our grand churches. Their beauty and majesty can both inspire and lift my spirits. Knowing their darker history saddens my heart. The “in your face” monuments to a patriarchal leadership deflate my hopes of gender equality in our church.
While each church has a story, we weave our own stories when we visit them. Here is my St. John’s Lateran story, from a blog post written four years ago; a woman in the church.