Wednesday, May 01, 2024

Pius XI’s First Visit to the Lateran in 1933

In yesterday’s post about Saints Catherine of Siena and Francis of Assisi being made the patron Saints of Italy, I explained a bit about the state of cold war that existed between the Papacy and the kingdom of Italy in the period of the so-called Risorgimento, and how the Popes from 1870 until 1929 were confined to the Vatican. A friend then brought to my attention this video from the always-interesting YouTube channel Caeremoniale Romanum, a British Pathé newsreel, which shows Pius XI going to the Lateran basilica for the first time in his papacy, to celebrate the feast of the Ascension in 1933.

Our friend Fr Joseph Koczera, SJ, also shared with us this picture of an inscription (written in a very elevated and formal style of classical Latin) in the basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, which commemorates the visit of Pope Pius XII during which he solemnly proclaimed Ss Catherine and Francis to be the patrons of Italy. (The church is called “sopra Minerva – over Minerva” because it was built on the site of a Roman temple.)

“On May 5 in the year 1940, Pius XII, shining forth in the majesty of the papacy, entered this church, was present for a solemn Mass, commended the Italian people to the heavenly patrons Francis and Catherine, and paid outstanding tributes to them both from the pulpit; going into the neighboring buildings (i.e. the Dominican house), together with the leaders of the city, he gladdened the Dominican and Franciscan families with his appearance and speech; in the piazza of the Minerva, he graced the celebrating crowd with an auspicious prayer. The Dominican friars set up (this inscription) for the  memory of posterity.”

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: