Sunday, November 9, 2008

Living Stones and St. John Lateran

Today was a special day at church. First of all I am always pleased when the bishop presides over the Mass. Today was the Dedication of the Basilica of St. John Lateran. I didn’t see it when I was in Rome. I had limited time to myself and the choice was the Basilica or the Sistine Chapel. It is nice to have such difficult choices! However, the pilgrims that were in Assisi and Rome this year did go to the Basilica. They loved it.

I wanted to go because this was the Rome of Francis. I wanted to go because the church is ancient, beautiful and established by Emperor Constantine.

The Bishop spoke of the importance of holy places and we know that space and time are part of any life of faith. In this case it is also the material aspects that count. Sacred architecture draws us up, out of ourselves, and connects us to others and to God. Bishop D’Arcy spoke of the Basilica being built of holy stones and that our internal cathedral needed to be built of “living stones”.

When I was at the St. Bonaventure University for the AFCU Symposium in 2006 I was introduced to the program, “Building with Living Stones”. It is a program of instruction and transformation for those desiring to learn about the Franciscan life. We now have that program at our school. In fact Kathleen Lotter completed the program the first year it was offered. Since then she has been one of our pilgrims to Assisi and Rome. She has incorporated Franciscan values into her life. Of course she was a natural, she talks to our ducks (and they talk back to her) and is an advocate for peace. I suspect she will end up being one of our Protestant Franciscan sisters and may join the Ecumenical Franciscan Order.

The cathedral was full today. The choir sang beautifully. The church reflected it’s universal mission. The faces looked like Grant Park on election Night. There were African Americans, whites, Latinos and about eight rows of Burmese Catholics. The Bishop asked us to consider helping our immigrant brothers and sisters with transportation and adjustment to Fort Wayne.

If we are to be “living stones” then we are to be servants to one another. We sing the Servant Song regularly at church. I love it. I was especially moved when it was sung at World Youth Day in Sydney Australia. If we are to be universal/Catholic, if we are to sustain and build our internal cathedral, if we are to nurture the Body of Christ than we will and we must be servants. Yep, it was a good day.

World Youth Day July 16-17, 2008 - Servant Song

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