MEMORIAL OF THE DEDICATION OF THE BASILICA OF SAINT MARY MAJOR AUGUST 5, 2020 EIGHTEENTH WEEK




MASS READINGS:


A reading from the holy Gospel Luke 11:27-28


"Blessed is the womb that carried you

and the breasts at which you nursed."

He replied, "Rather, blessed are those

who hear the word of God and observe it."


Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.


REFLECTION:


The liturgical Feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major (Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore) or "The Feast of Our Lady of the Snows" is celebrated each year on the 5th of August.


In 431 The Council of Ephesus acclaimed Mary to be the Mother of God. Pope Sixtus built the Basilica in dedication to the Honor of the Holy Mother of God. It is the oldest Chruch in the West dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.


Legend has it that the Blessed Virgin Mary had a miraculous event that occurred on this day in the 4th century.


During the middle of the 4th century there was a Roman patrician named John and his wife, who were unable to have children. They continually prayed to be blessed with a child but never received such a gift. As the end of their lives drew nearer, they discussed with each other what to do with their property.


They decided to pray to the Blessed Virgin Mary and ask for her assistance. On the night of August 5, a miraculous snowfall fell on the Esquiline Hill in Rome. It was in the shape of a rectangle and proved to be a strange phenomenon for Rome, as August is one of the hottest months for the city.


The couple also had a vision that same night which explained to them that they were to build a church on the location marked with snow. Pope Liberius had the same dream, rose immediately in the morning and came to the spot, finding the couple kneeling in prayer in the snow. Once the site of the church was staked out, the snow melted as miraculously as it had appeared. A church was built soon after and dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. That Church today is the “Mother Church” of Rome, the Basilica of St. Mary Major.



Another legend is that on the day the Church was built, a miraculous shower of white rose petals fell upon the gathered faithful.


A beautiful custom is kept to remember the miraculous snowfall. At the conclusion of the Solemn Mass of that day a shower of white rose petals falls from the dome of the Chapel of Our Lady.


Aleteia, "The church that Our Lady outlined in snow " 8/ 2017

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