Why do Catholics commemorate the dedication of a church today? Ken Hallenius, co-host of Living Stones, joined The Morning Blend to tell us about the Feast of the Dedication of St. Mary Major in Rome.
Here are a few quick facts about the basilica:
- St. Mary Major is one of the four major Papal basilicas, and the largest church in Rome dedicated to Our Lady.
- The original basilica was build in the fourth century under the direction of Pope Liberius.
- Legend says that a childless Roman couple dedicated their fortune to the Blessed Virgin Mary and asked for her guidance in knowing how to best use their riches. In a vision, Mary requested that a church be built for her. At the height of the Roman summer, snow fell on the summit of Esquiline Hill to mark the spot.
- Because of this legend, this basilica is also known as “Our Lady of the Snows.” There is also a tradition of dropping white rose petals from the top of the dome on August 5.
Listen to the full episode for more insights into the traditions of St. Mary Major and how it is still an important place of pilgrimage for Catholics.