The Pope Visits His Cathedral — Day 29

John Paul I in Procession at the Basilica of St. John Lateran
The pope carried in procession near St. John Lateran Basilica

Saturday, Sept. 23, 1978

For the first time in his papacy, John Paul I left the Vatican today to claim his cathedra, or seat. The Basilica of St. John Lateran, not St. Peter’s, is the cathedral of the pope and of the city of Rome. Along the way, he was greeted by the mayor at the foot of the Capitoline Hill. John Paul expressed his thanks to the mayor and pledged his efforts to benefit the people of Rome. In his Mass homily, the pope spoke about the city of Rome, the faithful of Rome, and the duties of the bishop of Rome:

Rome will be a true Christian community if God is honored by you not merely with a multitude of the faithful in the churches, not merely with private life that is lived morally, but also with love for the poor. These, the Roman deacon Lawrence said, are the true treasures of the Church. They must be helped, however, by those who can, to have more and to be more…

To reconcile the horse and the rider, liberty and authority, has become a social problem. It is likewise with the Church. …St. Francis de Sales would recall the example of St. John the Baptist who lived in the desert, far from the Lord, yet so greatly desiring to be near to him. Why? Out of obedience: “He knew,” writes the saint, “that to find the Lord outside of obedience meant to lose him.”

Let me add only one more thing: it is God’s law that one cannot do good to anyone if one does not first of all wish him well. On account of this, St Pius V, on becoming Patriarch of Venice, exclaimed in San Marco: “What would become of me, Venetians, if I did not love you?” I say something similar: I can assure you that I love you, that I desire only to enter into your service and to place the poor powers that I have, however little they are, at the disposal of all.

A Look Inside St. John Lateran’s (360° panoramas)

If you could only take one vacation for the rest of your life, where would you go and what would you do?


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