Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Once again we celebrate a feast that falls on a Sunday every seven years. And so our prayers and Scripture readings are different from what would generally be the 32nd Week in Ordinary Time. Today’s feast, the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, has great significance in the life of the Church. This Cathedral Basilica dedicated under the title of Our Savior Jesus Christ, and St. John the Baptist is “the Mother and Head of all the churches of the city and of the world.” This inscription on its façade proclaims this Lateran Basilica’s preeminence as Cathedral Church of the Pope, as Bishop of Rome. The original church building was constructed after the Emperor Constantine’s Edict of Milan (313 A.D.) in the year 324. Through this Edict the practice of our Christian Faith had been “freed” by the civil power from official government persecution from that time.
We know only too well that persecution of the followers of Our Lord Jesus Christ continues to this very day throughout the world and in varying degrees. Especially, we are mindful and prayerful of our fellow Catholics so horrendously persecuted in some Middle East countries. Nevertheless, this feast reminds us of our solidarity in Christ and with and for one another under our Supreme Shepherd Pope Francis, his predecessors and successors.
As a parish and as a diocese, our communion in the unity of Faith is with the Church of Rome and the world-wide Church. Hence, we call ourselves Roman Catholics – reflecting both our unity and universality. It is an anniversary we celebrate with great joy.
Also, we commemorate another important and very significant date on Tuesday, November 11. For it was on the “eleventh day of the eleventh month” that the armistice of the Great War (1914 – 1918) was declared. Europe and Canada observe this as their “Memorial Day” for those who were killed in war, an extension of “All Souls Day,” very much within the Catholic – keeping of November. It soberly reminds us of those who gave their lives for the freedom and relative peace we enjoy.
Never must we forget our veterans who put their lives on the line and for those who made the supreme sacrifice. There are many good organizations that assist our veterans who are enduring great suffering as a result of their service to our country. Wounded Warriors of Pennsylvania may be one to consider as a way of expressing our gratitude and loving support.
Keep in mind next Sunday, November 16, our day dedicated to God and family, sponsored by our parish Youth Group. We anticipate that it will be a day of many blessings upon our parish family as well as our individual families – the building blocks of both church and society.
And, because we are bound to follow the schedule presented to us, on Sunday the 16th at 1:00 PM we will have a regular Sunday Mass at Bethany Village to honor Tony Seccia as he celebrates his 100th Birthday. For nearly 40 years Tony loved and cared for St. Joseph’s Church in Rileyville. He did so with the greatest care and devotion. He adored the children and they adored him. And so following the Mass, a reception and party will be sponsored by St. Joseph’s Altar Society.