The Pope's Church
DID you knov, that the most important church in Rome is not St. Peter's? The basilica of Our Saviour better known as St. John Lateran has that honour. I wanted to talk about it this week for two reasons. First of all the feast of its dedication takes place on Sunday, and secondly it is very closely connected with the Pope.
In the same way that the Archbishop of Westminster has Westminster Cathedral so the Pope, who is Bishop of Rome has St. John Lateran as his Cathedral. Even the ceremony of Coronation of a Pope used to take place in this church, although it is performed in St.
It was built in the fourth century by the Emperor Constantine and although destroyed many times it has always been restored. Across the front of the church is written the inscription: "The mother and head of all the churches in the city and in the world i LAST week we left Jean Vianney (the Cure d'Ars) as a young soldier hidden in the country, having deserted from the French army. Luckily for him his younger brother volunteered to take his place as a soldier, and the army released him with a sigh of relief.
Before he had been called lip he had decided that he had a voca
tion, and. against his father's wishes, the parish priest started the task of teaching him Latin. It was a difficult job because the soung man was very thickheaded, he found it almost impossible to write his own language correctly, let alone Latin. Now, after two. years of wandering around France, he joined a seminary to complete his training.
The seminary was torture for him. He didn't seem to get anything right and his fellow students had a lot of fun laughing at his mistakes. In fact he was so backward that he was asked to leave the seminary. However he Was allowed to sit for the examination, but, as was expected he failed miserably. Fortunately the Vicar-General was a very far seeing man who recognised exceptional piety and Vianney was allowed to be ordained.
He was appointed parish priest at Ars; it was a small village, but there was lots to be done. The church was almost falling down and the hell was hanging by a thread. The main local amusements were drinking, dancing and swindling. This youne peasant priest. so stupid that he was a figure of fun, had a very tough job in front of him . .
To he continued).