Instead of celebrating the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica is celebrated in the Latin lung of the Catholic Church today. Why does the dedication of one of the four major Roman Basilicas trump the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time? For a simple explanation of the reasoning behind this move in the liturgical calendar, please read Fr. Will Schimd’s letter to the parish of St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church found on page 3 of the bulletin.
Since we commemorate the basilica’s dedication in Rome, I found this to be the perfect day to explain what the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches about where the Liturgy is celebrated. Drawing from the section that deals with the Church’s Liturgy, the Catechism states briefly that…
Christ is the true temple of God, “the place where his glory dwells”; by the grace of God, Christians also become temples of the Holy Spirit, living stones out of which the Church is built (CCC 1197).
In its earthly state the Church needs places where the community can gather together. Our visible churches, holy places, are images of the holy city, the heavenly Jerusalem, toward which we are making our way on pilgrimage (CCC 1198).
It is in these churches that the Church celebrates public worship to the glory of the Holy Trinity, hears the word of God and sings his praises, lifts up her prayer, and offers the sacrifice of Christ sacramentally present in the midst of the assembly. These churches are also places of recollection and personal prayer (CCC 1199).
For a deeper and fuller understanding of where the Liturgy is celebrated, I encourage you to read paragraphs 1179-1186. In the future, this series will focus on the other paragraphs found in this section on the Liturgy.
Till then, I encourage you to check out the liturgical documents found on The Catholic Liturgical Library website. I would also encourage you to read the Second Vatican Council document on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, as well as The Spirit of the Liturgy by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI).
The Sacred Liturgy is one of the areas within the Church’s theology that many people have opinions on, however, most of these opinions are uninformed and invalid since many have never properly studied the Liturgy. We must read the documents that Church provides for us to have a complete understanding.