Family Activity

Church Tour

Many people think the cathedral for Rome is St. Peter’s Basilica. But, actually, St. Peter’s is the church for the Vatican. The cathedral or “seat” for the Pope (the bishop of the diocese of Rome) is St. John Lateran, a large and beautiful church in Rome proper. The church and the surrounding grounds were named after the Laterani family who gave their estate to the Roman empire. The Emperor Constantine (who legalized Christianity in the Empire) gave the property to the bishop of Rome. Later, the church was dedicated to St. John the Baptist. For centuries, the church represented the power of the Catholic Church, like the Vatican does today. But a fire in the fourteenth century destroyed the palace where the Pope lived. Shortly afterwards, he moved to the Vatican. More information on the church and its history can be found HERE.

Older family members might be interested in the historical background of the cathedral. Younger members might benefit more from a visit to your local parish church. Plan an outing to the church outside of Mass time. Tour the church and point out important areas within the building (altar area, baptismal font, confessional, etc.). Share your experiences of the church building and why they are important to you. End with a prayer for the Church, the Body of Christ.