Many people today claim a personal faith but feel they do not need to belong to the Church. But Pope Francis said that we cannot have a relationship with Christ without the Church. Why? Why is it important for us as Catholics to belong to the Church?
Today we celebrate the feast of the Dedication of St. John Lateran, a church in Rome that is the cathedral church of the Pope, the bishop of Rome. It was given to the Christians by the emperor Constantine who allowed Christianity to be a public religion without persecution. What does this church, dedicated on November 9, 324, have to do with us Catholics living in Cleveland Ohio in the 21st century?
A church, whether a building or a community of believers, gives our faith visibility. Jesus said, “You are the light of the world…a city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Let your light shine before others.” Belonging to an institutional Church, and worshiping in a church building, lets our faith be seen. Our parishes say to others, “There are Christians living here.” We join with over a billion other Catholics in our world to help bring visibility to faith, to let it be seen, to let it point out to others the light of Christ in our world.