Saturday 9 November is the feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of St John Lateran in Rome. As we know it is the Cathedral Church of the Bishop of Rome. Pope Francis took possession of his cathedral on Sunday 7 April this year, which coincided with Divine Mercy Sunday. This occasion can be viewed here (particularly poignant, as usual, is when the Pope greets the ill and handicapped at about 13:05 into the video):
It was the first basilica in the city of Rome and was constructed on the site of the Lateran Palace, gifted to the Bishop of Rome by the Emperor Constantine. The name “Lateran” comes from the fact that the area was originally owned by the Lateranus family, a powerful gens of Rome in the earlier part of its classical period. The original basilica was dedicated by Pope Sylvester I in 324 AD. Among its many titles is that of mother and head of all the churches of the city and the world. Like the Pope himself, it is a focus of the Church’s unity.
Close by the basilica (in fact sort of nestling against it) is found the Pontifical Lateran University, established by Pope Clement XVI in 1773 after he had suppressed the Jesuits. Just as the basilica is known as the “Pope’s church”, the university is also known as the “Pope’s university” and has students from over 100 countries.
Below is a recording of the rather moving new hymn of the Pontifical Lateran University, with a translation attempted by yours truly.
Cristo nostra Sapienza, seme di speranza,
Specchio dell’Amore, fonte inesauribile,
Splendi come lampada luce di verità.
(Christ our Wisdom, seed of hope, mirror of Love, inexhaustible fount, You shine like a lamp the light of truth!)
Tu, Sapienza radiosa, desiderio santo,
Nella città eterna di pontefici e santi
fondasti un tempio nobile di sapere e verità.
(You, radiant Wisdom, [our] holy desire, founded a noble temple of knowledge and truth in the eternal city of pontiffs and saints.)
Germe di conoscenza, rendici saggi discepoli
Come guide sapienti sulle orme dei Padri.
(Seed of knowledge, make us knowing disciples, like wise guides in the footsteps of the Fathers.)
Tu ci hai convocati qui da tutto il mondo
Per studiare insieme, per conoscere il Vero
Nella Pontificia Università.
(You have called us together here from all the world to study together, to know the Truth, in the Pontifical University.)
Forti nella Ragione, saldi nella Fede,
Insegnanti e studenti a Te, Dio, ci affidiamo.
Fa’ di noi maestri della Tua Verità.
Lode a Te, Sapienza Eterna!
(Strong in Reason, firm in Faith, we teachers and students entrust ourselves to You, O God. Make of us teachers of Your Truth.
Praise to You, Eternal Wisdom!)