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Rebuild the Church
Diane M. Houdek
Source: Bringing Home the Word
Published: Sunday, November 4, 2012

A story is told of Francis that when he went to see Pope Innocent III to get approval for his rule of life, the pope heard him out and then asked for time to think about it. That night, the pope had a dream that the Basilica of St. John Lateran, then the central location of the Vatican in Rome, was falling and a poor man dressed in rags was holding it up. The next day, he recognized in Francis the poor man of his vision and gave him approval for the mission on which he was embarking. This week we celebrate the dedication of the Church of St. John Lateran, still the home Church of the pope in his capacity as bishop of the city of Rome. This feast reminds us that we are indeed a universal Church, but that we are also a local Church, attentive to the real and immediate needs of individuals. As we look back at eight centuries of Franciscan influence in the church, care for the poor is still the central feature of the Franciscan charism and the ongoing ministry of the church in the world. It is perhaps the clearest sign that God continues to use Francis and his followers to rebuild the church in every age.

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