I've posted more extended thoughts on today's Dedication over at Merely Catholic, wanted to share this here:
Two personal stories: When I visited Rome in February with my parents, we were staying in a small B&B near this Basilica. After the long plane flight and cab ride into the city, we needed to stretch the legs and decided to take the quick jaunt over to the basilica. As mom, especially, walked in, her mouth was agape: “This place is HUGE!” “Umm,” I replied, “this is the small one (of the four).” She didn’t really believe me until we visited St. Peter’s two days later, then even dad was agape at the size.
A few days later, we had the privelige of celebrating Mass together in St. Mary Major, in one of the crypt chapels in the Pauline Chapel. It was quite the experience, for me and mom and dad. This was also the Church where the sacristan gave me the roughest time about celebrating Mass. Go in to St. Peter’s, no problem; St. John Lateran, no big deal; here: “You are priest?” ‘Yes’ “You are good priest?” ‘I try.’ “You pray hard?” ‘again, I try’ He smiled, and said “Yes, Father, you say Mass here.”
For the pilgrim to Rome, a stop at Mary Major is a must.