August 5

in the Month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Our Lady of the Snows (355-366).

During the night of August 4 in the year 355, in the middle of summer, snow fell on the Esquiline Hill in Rome, on the exact spot where Our Lady wanted a church to be built in her honor. She let a nobleman named John, and his wife, and also the Holy Father, Pope Liberius, know that that was her will. It took eleven years to build this lovely church of Our Lady in Rome. In the year 435, after it had been defined in the Council of Ephesus dogmatically that Our Lady was the Mother of God, this great church of Our Lady in the Eternal City was rebuilt by Pope Sixtus III. Our Lady's favorite church in Rome is on the Esquiline Hill. It was first called the Church of Our Lady of the Snows. It was also called the Liberian Basilica. But its prevailing name, and the name which it now holds, is the Church of Saint Mary Major. Sometimes it is referred to as the Church of Saint Mary of the Crib because the crib in which Our Lord was placed when He was born in Bethlehem is kept in this church. The body of Saint Jerome is there, and the relics of Saint Matthias, the Apostle, who took the place of Judas among the Twelve. Saint Jerome died with his head in the crib where Jesus was born.