Every Catholic church building represents the Catholic Church, made up of the living members of the Body of Christ.

Basilicas are Catholic churches with even greater significance because of their age, dignity, architecture, or historical value.

Catholic basilicas can be found throughout the world but the 4 Major Basilicas are found in Rome.

St. John Lateran, St. Peter, St. Paul Outside the Walls, and St. Mary Major are known as Papal Basilicas of the Church.

Each of the Papal Basilicas contain a special throne and altar. It is traditional for the pope to celebrate certain liturgies at these Major Basilicas during the year.

St. John Lateran is the oldest of the Papal Basilicas and the most important Catholic church. It is the only Archbasilica and the cathedral of the Bishop of Rome, the pope.

The Feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. John Lateran is celebrated by the Church on November 9. It marks the dedication of the cathedral church of Rome by Pope Sylvester I in 324.

The Memorial of the Dedication of St. mary Major is celebrated on August 5. The Memorial of the Dedication of the Basilicas of St. Peter and St. Paul Outside the Walls are celebrated together on November 18.

Important Catholic buildings:

Designated by the pope:

When the exercise of religious liberty is not thwarted, Christians construct buildings for divine worship. These visible churches are not simply gathering places but signify and make visible the Church living in this place, the dwelling of God with men reconciled and united in Christ.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 1180

Marked by two small symbols:

Dear friends, today’s feast celebrates an ever current mystery: that God desires to build Himself a spiritual temple in the world, a community that adores Him in spirit and truth. But this occasion reminds us also of the importance of the concrete buildings in which the community gathers together to celebrate God’s praises. Every community therefore has the duty to carefully guard their holy structures, which constitute a precious religious and historical patrimony. For this we invoke the intercession of Mary Most Holy, so that she might help us to become, like her, a “house of God”, living temple of his love.

Pope Benedict XVI, Angelus Address, November 9, 2008

The mother church of Rome and the whole world:

The church of the Chair of St. Peter:

The largest church in Rome dedicated to the Blessed Mother:

Honoring the great Apostle to the Gentiles:

Come to Him, a living stone, rejected by human beings but chosen and precious in the sight of God, and, like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 2: 4-5

A feast day for all Catholic churches:

A Church that is bigger than its buildings:

The Truth, Goodness, and Beauty of the Catholic Church

Sisters with special needs:

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