Today the pilgrims attended Mass in the Holy Sacrament Chapel of the Basilica of Saint John Lateran. Following the Mass we were given a guided tour of the Basilica.
The Basilica of Saint John Lateran is the cathedral of Rome and the mother church of the world. It was the first Christian basilica to be built in the city and became the model for all subsequent Christian churches. Popes were crowned here until 1870 when the popes retreated to the Vatican.
The papal altar encloses part of a wooden altar at which Saint Peter and his successors are said to have celebrated Mass.
After touring the basilica, we walked to the Scala Sancta. In the 15th century the staircase was declared to be the one from Pilate's house which Christ descended after his condemnation. Saint Helen, the mother of Constantine, had them brought to Rome from Jerusalem. The 28 marble steps are protected by boards, and worshipers are only allowed to ascend them on their knees. Many of the pilgrims did the climb while praying, and wept when they reached the top.
Click here for photos