Dear Brothers and Sisters,
On November 9th, the universal Church celebrated the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica. This feast commemorates the dedication of Saint John Lateran, the first Catholic Basilica in Rome, by Pope Sylvester in AD 324. The Lateran is the episcopal seat of the Bishop of Rome. This celebration reminds us that we are “one” church. Pope Saint John Paul II said, “Every place set aside for divine worship is a sign of that spiritual temple which is the Church, made up of living stones: of the faithful united by the one faith, of the participation in the sacraments and of the bond of charity. The saints, in particular, are precious stones of that spiritual temple.” As the mother church of the Roman Catholic Church, it calls us to work together, as brothers and sisters to build up the body of Christ everywhere in the world.

On November 10th, the church celebrated the Memorial of Pope Saint Leo the Great. Elected pope in AD 440 he was acclaimed for his letter on the Incarnation of Christ. He writes: “Invisible in his own nature, he became visible in ours. Beyond our grasp, he chose to come within our grasp. Existing before time began, he hid his infinite glory and took the nature a servant.” Pope Leo is one of the three popes in our history with the title “Great”. Pope Gregory (6th Century) and Pope Nicholas 1 (9th Century) would be the other popes with title “Great”. Many people would like to have this title attributed to Pope Saint John Paul II; time will tell.

On November 12th, we celebrated the martyr Saint Josaphat. As a Ukrainian Rite Bishop, he worked diligently to bring the “Ruthenian” (Ukrainian) Orthodox Church back into communion with the Roman Church, in the 17th century. Unfortunately, he would die for this cause but as fate would have it, soon after union with Rome would be established. Because of his importance in church unity, he is honored and buried in a side altar in the Basilica of Saint Peter. He is one of our incorruptibles and is visible, dressed in his Ukrainian Rite episcopal attire. I have been in Rome many times for this celebration. The priests of that rite fill the Basilica with beautiful music and chant.

These celebrations are a reminder of our fraternal commitment to the unity and the spread of the gospel. Unfortunately, history has shown there are fractions that have developed in the universal church and in local communities. Let us recognize that the Incarnation is present, let us see him and rejoice in his call for unity, dialogue, and collaborative efforts in the mission of the church.

Let us Rejoice!
Fr. Workman