Our House’s Feast Day

User's Guide to Sunday, Nov. 9.

(photo: Shutterstock)

Sunday, Nov. 9, is the feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome.

Mass Readings
Genesis 28:11-18; Psalms 84:3-6, 8, 11; 1 Corinthians 3:9-13, 16-17; Luke 19:1-10

Our Take
We love that the feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica falls on a Sunday this year. This is essentially a feast celebrating a building — the Pope’s cathedral in Rome. For us, it is also a day to celebrate another building: our house. It’s the anniversary of our home enthronement to the Sacred Heart.

It was only by chance that our enthronement day fell on this feast, but it seems very fitting that our “domestic church” would share a feast day with the “Mother of All Churches.” The Lateran basilica is also a “family” church — it is named for Sts. John the Baptist and John the Evangelist and has the “Lateran” distinction because of the Laterani family, whose palace once stood there.

Just as the Church recognizes that a building can be important enough to name a feast after, enthronement to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a beautiful practice that recognizes how important your house is to the faith of your family.

We have been blessed to be able to do two enthronement ceremonies in the past eight years. The first time we enthroned our home to the Sacred Heart was in Connecticut. Dominican Father Juan-Diego Brunetta did the ceremony for us. When we moved to Atchison, Kan., in 2009, one of the first things we did was arrange to have our new home enthroned, this time by a Benedictine monk, Father Meinrad Miller.

In both cases, we invited our friends, any family in the area and our neighbors to come to our house for the ceremony. We turned the furniture around to face one corner of the room, and Father Miller said Mass, complete with readings by our children, in our living room. After Mass, Father Miller solemnly hung a picture of the Sacred Heart on the wall we prepared ahead of time in the dining room. Then he blessed our house as only a Benedictine can, complete with exorcism prayers reminiscent of those on the St. Benedict medal.

Both ceremonies were followed by a meal — or, as our invitation put it, “adventures in food and child control.”

Enthronement was a practice that was first promoted about 150 years ago. More recently, Cardinal Raymond Burke promoted the practice when he was bishop of La Crosse, Wis., and later when he was archbishop of St. Louis. Here’s how he describes the placement of the Sacred Heart image:

“The place of the enthronement in the home must be fitting. In other words, it should be a central place, a place in which family members spend time each day. … The place of the enthronement should reflect the great reverence and love which we have for Our Lord. It should be the most dignified and beautiful place in the room.”

We love the powerful message this sends to our children: The Church isn’t something we go away from our home to. The Church is right here with us. Jesus isn’t someone distant. He is in the center of our home.

As we celebrate God’s house in Rome, visit SacredHeartApostolate.com and consider making your house his, too.


Tom and April Hoopes write from Atchison, Kansas,

where Tom is writer in residence at Benedictine College.