The Feast of the Dedication Lateran Basilica

On November 9 last, Pope Francis celebrated the Eucharist in the Lateran Basilica for the Feast of the Dedication Lateran Basilica. This ancient church serves as Cathedral of the Diocese of Rome.  For the occasion there were two notable liturgical novelties: some new liturgical fixtures and new Mass prayers. 

To my knowledge, this is the first structural change that Pope Francis has authorised for Rome’s Major Basilicas. There was a new ambo, which according to Father Giuseppe Midili, Director of the Diocesan Liturgical Office was “made of marble, reusing an ancient pluteus (marble slab) of Constantine’s Basilica, the pulpit has the typical shape of a Roman pulpit and was made by the Arte Poli artisans of Verona.”

A new golden crucifix, made by Stefano Lazzari of Perugia, was suspended over the altar in the Baldacchino. This reproduces a processional cross by Nicola di Guardiagrele (1385-1462), which is kept in the Lateran Museum.

The pope also wore “a chasuble sewed for the occasion by a Roman Monastery, decorated with the cross of the Lateran’s apse.”

I was beaten to the finish line with my post by Gregory DiPippo at the New Liturgical Movement who provides some good photographs of the new liturgical fixtures. I share his evaluation of the new fixtures.  I think that the ambo works well and I like the reuse of the ancient stone in a new context, integrated into a beautiful new piece, with high quality workmanship that keeps with the Basilica’s ethos.  However, I think that the cross above the altar doesn’t work as well. I haven’t seen it in person, or more importantly I haven’t attended a liturgical celebration there, but from the photographs on various websites it appears to me to be out of place, almost looking as if the processional cross was photoshopped into the space above the altar.

But perhaps more significant than the new fixtures are the newly composed Prayers (the Collect, the Prayer over the Offerings, the Preface and the Post-Communion Prayer). The video for the whole celebration is available here. I have transcribed the new prayers from the Italian and provide a rough translation into English, along with the prayers for this feast from the current 2011 edition of the Roman Missal. I do not know precisely what the future of the prayers are. Were they for a once-off celebration, or are they for future use in the Lateran? Likewise I assume that the prayers have a Latin original and that the Italian is itself a translation, but I was unable to find any more information on this.

I have not researched the ecology of the Feast of the Dedication Lateran Basilica in the current 2011 Missal, or if there are any sources of the new prayers, if anyone knows more on these, they can add it to the comments.  Commenters could also reflect on the appropriateness of these new prayers for other uses, such as perhaps forming an alternative Common of the Dedication of a Church.


New Italian PrayerRough Translationfrom current Roman MissalAlternative Collect from current RM
O Dio, che nella tua provvidenza hai preparato questo luogo perché diventasse segno visibile dell’universale maternità della Chiesa, concedi a noi, che celebriamo il giorno della sua dedicazione, di essere confermati nella fede e di rimanere uniti nel vincolo della carità. Per il nostro Signore Gesù Cristo…O God, who in your providencehave prepared this placeso that it might become a visible signof the universal motherhood of the Church,grant us,that we may celebrate the day of its dedication,that we may be confirmed in faithand that we may remain united in the bond of charity.Through our Lord Jesus Christ … O God, who from living and chosen stonesprepare an eternal dwelling for your majesty,increase in your Church the spirit of grace you have bestowed,so that by new growth your faithful peoplemay build up the heavenly Jerusalem.Through our Lord Jesus Christ … O God, who were pleased to call your Church the Bride, grant that the people that serves your name may revere you, love you and follow you, and may be led by you to attain your promises in heaven.Through our Lord Jesus Christ …

Prayer over the Offerings

New Italian PrayerRough Translationfrom current Roman Missal
Accogli propizio, O Padre, i doni del pane e del vino che ti offriamo nel giorno della dedicazione di questa chiesa, perché divengano, per opera dello Spirito Santo, presenza sacramentale di Cristo Salvatore. Egli vive e regna nei secoli dei secoli.Welcome favorably, O Father, the gifts of bread and wine that we offer you on the day of the dedication of this church, so that through the work of the Holy Spirit they may become the sacramental presence of Christ the Savior.Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.Accept, we pray, O Lord, the offering made here and grant that by it those who seek your favor may receive in this place the power of the Sacraments and the answer to their prayers.Through Christ our Lord.


New Italian PrayerRough Translationfrom current Roman Missal
E veramente cosa buona e giusta, nostro dovere e fonte di salvezza, rendere grazie sempre e in ogni luogo a te, Signore, Padre santo, Dio onnipotente ed eterno. Dalla ferita d’amore di Cristo, nuovo Adamo, hai fatto nascere la Chiesa come sposa, primizia dell’umanità redenta. Ella e il fiume di grazia che genera i suoi figli, pietre vive ed elette,consacrate dallo Spirito Santo.E la vite fecondache in tutta la terra prolunga i suoi tralci e, avvinta all’ albero della croce, s’innalza alla gloria del tuo regno. E la citta fondata sugli Apostoli, dove regna glorioso Cristo salvatore, Agnello del nostro riscatto, che ci ha redenti con la sua morte e risurrezione. Per questo mistero di salvezza, uniti agli angeli e ai santi innalziamo con gioial’inno della tua lode:It is truly right and just, our duty and source of salvation, to give thanks always and everywhere to you, Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God.From Christ’s wound of love, the new Adam, you gave birth to the Church as bride, the first fruits of redeemed humanity.She is the river of grace that generates her children, living and chosen stones, consecrated by the Holy Spirit.She is the fruitful vine that in all the earth stretches out its branches and, bound to the tree of the cross, it rises to the glory of your kingdom.She is the city founded on the Apostles, where Christ the Savior reigns gloriously, the Lamb of our redemption, who redeemed us with his death and resurrection.For this mystery of salvation, joined with angels and saints we raise with joy the hymn of your praise:It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks, Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God.For in your benevolence you are pleased to dwell in this house of prayer in order to perfect us as the temple of the Holy Spirit, supported by the perpetual help of your grace and resplendent with the glory of a life acceptable to you.Year by year you sanctify the Church, the Bride of Christ, foreshadowed in visible buildings, so that, rejoicing as the mother of countless children, she may be given her place in your heavenly glory.And so, with all the Angels and Saints, we praise you, as without end we acclaim: 

Prayer after Communion

New Italian PrayerRough Translationfrom current Roman Missal
O Dio, che in questa santa dimora ci doni il segno della Gerusalemme del cielo, concedi a noi, che abbiamo partecipato alla mensa del corpo e del sangue di Cristo, di testimoniare la tua presenza nel mondo e di giungere un giorno alla patria del cielo. Per Cristo nostro Signore.O God, who in this holy dwelling give us the sign of the heavenly Jerusalem, grant that we, who have participated at the table of the body and blood of Christ, may witness your presence in the world and one day reach [our] heavenly homeland.Through Christ our Lord.O God, who chose to foreshadow for us the heavenly Jerusalem through the sign of your Church on earth, grant, we pray, that, by our partaking of this Sacrament, we may be made the temple of your grace and may enter the dwelling place of your glory. Through Christ our Lord. 


    1. Father Giuseppe Midili, Director of the Diocesan Liturgical Office, said so in his interview with Zenit (link above)

      1. Thank you… would be interesting to see if a Latin original emerges. The Prayer over the Offerings and Prayer after Communion seem very close to the standard text – I wonder if those two are simply a free-er translation….

  1. Thanks! I was waiting outside in the rain hoping for an extra ticket. Nice to find out what was going on inside.

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