St. John the Lateran Cathedral

Just thought I’d pass on this little known fact of the Catholic world. Today, November 9, 2011, is the feast of St. John the Lateran. The Archbasilica of St. John Lateran is the cathedral of the Church of Rome, which makes it the official ecclesiastical seat of the Bishop of Rome, the Pope!

St. John the Lateran

It is the oldest among the four major basilicas of Rome and has the title of ecumenical mother church, or mother church of the whole inhabited world. All of this and it’s not even located within the geographical boundaries of Vatican City.

I visited the St. John Lateran Cathedral in Rome last year with my wife, Lisa, and our two children, Anna and James. It was a wonderful place filled with ancient Christian artwork and a very palpable peace. On this particular day, the light was streaming into the cathedral just above the altar, making for a truly ethereal experience. We snapped many photos, including the one on this post.

Today, November 9, is also my mother’s birthday, and, incidentally, also the one-year anniversary of my grandfather’s passing (see the story about his life and death here). If that were not enough of a coincidence, one of my grandmothers died last week very suddenly from pancreatic cancer, and her funeral is being held today. Please pray for both my grandfather, Patrick, and my grandmother, Nancy.