From the Pastor – 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – A – November 19, 2017

From the Pastor


33rd Sunday

in Ordinary Time – A


November 19, 2017



We honor the two great Apostles, Saint Peter
and Saint Paul, on November 18: the ‘Dedication Day’ of two Roman basilicas under which each is said to be buried. Both basilicas were given by the Emperor Constantine in the 300’s. By the 1400’s, after centuries of additions and renovations, the age-worn Saint Peter Basilica
had to be demolished; the new basilica [above] was dedicated on November 18, 1626. The Basilica of Saint Paul Outside-the-Walls
[right] – also a gift from Constantine – was destroyed by fire in 1823; the new basilica was dedicated on December 10, 1854 by Pope Pius IX, two days after his dogmatic declaration of the Immaculate Conception. [He did that since many Cardinals and Bishops were still in Rome for that solemn occasion.] It’s called
since it is not in Vatican City-State; it is an extraterritorial property of the Vatican.


Notice I never said either basilica is a cathedral; the Pope’s cathedra or seat as Bishop of Rome
is in the Archbasilica of Saint John in Lateran, commonly called Saint John Lateran, which is built on Lateran Hill and is named in honor of Saint John the Baptist
and Saint John the Apostle and Evangelist. We have a similar situation in Washington D.C.; the Cathedral of Saint Matthew houses the Archbishop of Washington’s cathedra; a plaque also marks where President Kennedy’s body rested for his Funeral Mass in 1963. The Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C. is a Shrine; it honors our Country’s Patroness: Our Lady, under her title, the Immaculate Conception. More important than a Saint’s basilica is the example of the Saint for whom it is named. Here are the orations for The Dedication of the Basilicas of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles.


Collect – Dedication / Saints Peter & Paul Basilicas


Defend your Church, O Lord, by the protection of the holy Apostles, that, as she received

from them the beginnings of her knowledge

of things divine, so through them she may receive, even to the end of the world,

an increase in heavenly grace.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ … and ever. Amen.



Our Church is firmly built on the Confession
of Faith by Saint Peter: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” [Matthew 16:16]
and on Saint Paul’s
encyclopedic Epistles, which explain the Faith. As the Collect for their basilicas’ dedication states: we must build on the revealed truths God entrusted to them. If we do not, we are building on sand; if we do, our faith has the best chance of standing the test of time and weathering every storm … as their respective basilicas have almost endured!


Prayer over the Offerings – Dedication / Basilicas


As we bring you this offering of our service, we beseech your mercy, Lord, that the truth handed down to us by the ministry of the Apostles Peter and Paul may endure undefiled in our hearts. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.



The Church is ‘ever new’ since she applies the timeless truths God entrusted to her to each generation’s questions. She cannot be swayed by opinion polls, popular notions, the latest fads, or other passing, often foolish ideas. We owe it to Saint Peter
, Saint Paul
and countless others who gave their life to defend and promote God’s truth to try to understand and live by God’s truth.


Prayer after Communion – Dedication / Basilicas


May your people, we pray, O Lord, nourished by the Bread of heaven, rejoice in commemorating the Apostles Peter and Paul, for it is through your gift that we are governed under their patronage. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


The main reason we have basilicas and cathedrals, churches and chapels, is so that we have a place to come together to celebrate the holy Mass: to hear God’s Word and receive Christ’s Body and Blood. May these two great Apostles
watch over and protect our place of worship.


In His holy Name,




Rev. Thomas J. Serafin, KHS