In this Cathedral of The Holy Father we celebrated our morning Mass. As Pope Francis is in Brazil I offered the Mass for him. Very often we expect a lot from our church leaders but we don’t pray for them so how can we have such expectations? That’s why praying in this spiritual center of the Catholic Community I felt as close to the Pope as when I concelebrated the Mass with him a couple of weeks ago. This Basilica of St John reminds us that as Catholics we aren’t called to shaking hands with Pope hoping that somebody will take a quick photo so that we can tell our friends that we have seen the pope but we are called with faith and love to cling to his teaching and leadership. Saint Eugene always wanted to be seen a man of the Pope, even when due to some politics between France and the Holy Sea he found that he was misunderstood by the Pope. However he still held the Holy Father in high esteem. That's what he shared with his Oblates. As his spiritual son I entered the Great Lateran Basilica not simply as an impressive building but as the space the teaching of the Successor of Saint Peter is delivered from. The chair of the Bishop of Rome is undoubtedly the most important item here, as it is the sign of Our Lord guiding his flock through his Vicar on Earth. That's why the official title of the basilica is: "Mother church of the whole world."
However there are also two other significant relicts. The first is incorporated in the image of the Last Supper in the altar of the Blessed Sacrament. The figures of Jesus and the Twelve are placed against the background of a wooden plank. The ancient tradition holds that it is the top of the table on which Jesus celebrated the Last Supper. The second relict is placed inside the main altar. The marble altar is like a chaste containing a wooden table that was used by the first popes to celebrate Eucharist.