Sunday, August 5, 2012

Dedication of St. Mary Major Basilica

Feast of Our Lady of the Snow
(August 5th)
There is a most miraculous story that has led to the  celebration of the dedication of the St. Mary Major Basilica.  According to  reports the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to a wealthy couple in a dream who had pledged their fortune to the Mother of God.  She asked them to build a Church in honor of her where snow would fall on the night of August 4-5th 352 AD in Rome.  As she had predicted snow fell that night and Pope Liberius outlined the perimeter of snow to show where a future Bascilica would stand in honor of Our Lady.  The Basilica was completed by Pope Sixtus III(432-440).  The miraculous snow fall is commemorated on August 5 by releasing a shower of white rose petals from the basilica dome.
Pope Liberius defines in the snow the future site of Santa Maria Maggiore
Masolino da Panicale, c. 1400

The basilica is also known as Maria ad Praesepe as it contains some pieces of the wood from the Manger baby Jesus was born in.
Mary Major Basilica in Rome

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