Today, May 1 is the feast of St. Joseph the Worker and Labor Day for many countries. It is normally a holiday and a huge celebration in Italy, a day marked by family outings and picnics and the like and an evening filled with bands and music on the esplanade in front of St. John Lateran basilica. Covid-19 turned the day into a quiet “iorestoacasa” (the Italian coronavirus motto “IstayatHome”) day throughout this normally happy peninsula.
It was a holiday in the Vatican and marked by a special moment this morning for Pope Francis. In fact, he celebrated Mass in the Santa Marta chapel next to the same statue of St. Joseph the Worker that was with Pope Pius XII in 1956, the year after the institution of the solemnity dedicated to the Virgin’s Husband. The statue of St. Joseph arrived in the Vatican Thursday evening and was placed in the chapel.
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VATICAN INSIDER VISITS ST. JOHN LATERAN, CATHEDRAL OF THE BISHOP OF ROME
As you know, because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and Italian restrictions for movement in one’s neighborhood or town, I have been unable for weeks to go out and interview people for what is normally the interview segment. In past weeks, I’ve offered a number of specials until I can resume in person interviews. This week is no different. For the next few weeks I will be looking at the Seven Pilgrim Churches of Rome, starting with the four papal basilicas – St. John Lateran, St. Peter’s, St. Paul’s Outside the Walls and St. Mary Major. The other three pilgrim basilicas are Holy Cross in Jerusalem, St. Lawrence Outside the Walls and St. Sebastian. I am going to start with St. John Lateran because it is not only a papal basilica, it is the cathedral church of the Bishop of Rome who is the Pope.
Here are some photos I took on a visit to St. John Lateran:
Here are more photos of the cloister, museum and sacristy:
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