Posted in FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, ON the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, St PETER!

1 August – The Feast of Saint Peter in Chains

1 August – The Feast of Saint Peter in Chains
The feast was originally kept in Rome, Italy to commemorate the dedication of the Church of Saint Peter on the Esquiline Hill built by Eudoxia Licinia in 442 and rebuilt by Adrian I in the 8th century.   When the chains which Saint Peter had worn in prison and from which he was freed by angelic intervention were later venerated there, the feast received its present name.
The date when these chains were brought from Jerusalem is disputed – some claim they were brought in 116 by travellers sent in search of them by Saint Balbina and her father Saint Quirinus, while others think Saint Eudoxia brought them in 439.   St Pope Leo the Great united them to the chains with which Saint Peter had been fettered in the Mamertine Prison, forming a chain about two yards long which is preserved in a bronze safe and guarded by a special confraternity.   Patronages – diocese of Annecy, France, Donnas, Italy.

The Feast was removed from the Liturgical Calendar as a separate feast in 1962 but is celebrated together with the Feast of Sts Peter and Paul on 29 June.   See the Getty image below.

29 JUNE FEAST OF STS PETER AND PAUL
ROME, ITALY – 29 JUNE 2018: The faithful carry in procession the relic of the chains of St Paul on the occasion of the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, around the Basilica of Paul Outside the Walls on 29 June 2018 in Rome, Italy.   The surviving links of the chain that held St Paul prisoner in Rome, between 61 and 63 are displayed in an illuminated theca, near the tomb of the saint inside the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls.   St Peter’s Chains are not carried in a similar way, being permanently protected.

St Peter in Chains
by Father Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876

The Holy Church, today, celebrates a special feast in commemoration of the great benefit which God bestowed upon His people by miraculously delivering St Peter, the visible head of the church, from prison.   The entire event is described in the Acts of the Apostles, by St Luke.   Herod Agrippa, a son of Aristobulus, favored by the Roman Emperor Claudius, ruled over Judaea, with the title of king.   To give more stability to his reign, he endeavoured to make himself beloved by the Jews, for which there was no easier way than to persecute the Christians, especially those who fearlessly proclaimed the Gospel of Christ, as did the holy Apostles.  He had, therefore, apprehended and soon after beheaded, James the Great, brother of St John, which bloody deed gave the Jews great satisfaction.   To increase this, Herod commanded them to seize St Peter, intending to make away with him in the same manner.   His command was executed, Peter was taken prisoner, chained and locked in a narrow dungeon, which was guarded so vigilantly, that he could not escape.   It was then near the Easter Festival, after which St Peter was to be beheaded.   The Christians, in deep distress, were praying day and night, that the Almighty would not permit His flock to be so soon deprived of its shepherd.PEter in Chains.jpg

There was no human power to save him but God, hearing the prayer of His people, delivered him by a miracle.   On the eve of the day on which he was to be executed, God sent an Angel to set him free.   Although heavily laden with chains, the holy Apostle slept peacefully, guarded by the soldiers.   The Angel, who by his brightness, illumined the dungeon, struck him on the side and awakened him, saying:  “Arise quickly.   Gird thyself; put on thy sandals and cloak and follow me.”   The Apostle, whose chains had fallen from his hands and who thought it all a dream, obeyed and followed the Angel.   They passed the first and second watches without attracting their attention and reached the iron gate which led into the street.   The gate opened without the aid of human hands.  956px-Hendrick_Terbrugghen_(follower_of)_-_The_Liberation_of_St._Peter_-_Google_Art_Project

After having conducted St Peter through one street, the Angel vanished and was seen no more. Not until then did the holy Apostle realise that his deliverance was not a dream but a reality.   Hence he began to praise the Almighty, exclaiming:  “Now I know truly that the Lord has sent his Angel and delivered me out of the hands of Herod and from all the expectation of the people of Judaea.”   He proceeded immediately to the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where the faithful were assembled in prayer.

When he knocked at the door, a servant, named Rhode, came and asked who was there. Judging by the voice that it was Peter, she was so greatly startled with joy and astonishment, that, without opening the door, she ran back to announce the news.   They all believed that she was insane but as she reiterated her words, some said that it must be his guardian Angel.   Meanwhile, the Saint repeated his knocking at the door.   They opened it and perceived, with amazement, their beloved shepherd safe and free from chains.   Their joy on beholding him was as great as had been their grief when he was taken prisoner.   Having given the sign for silence, St Peter related all that had happened to him.   They all gave thanks to Divine Providence when he had ended and learned to trust in future to the heavenly power and mercy.st peter being led away by the angel prison chains.jpg

Among the sermons of St Chrysostom, there is one in which he asserts, that the chains by which St Peter had been bound to the ground, came into the possession of the Christians soon after his deliverance and were held by them in great honour.   Eudoxia, wife of the emperor Theodosius the Younger, received them as a present from the patriarch Juvenal, when on a visit to the holy places and sent one of them to the Church at Constantinople. The other she gave to her daughter Eudoxia, who married the Emperor Valentinian III. Eudoxia showed the chain to Pope Sixtus III., who, on his part, showed her the one with which St Peter had been bound, before the Emperor Nero sentenced him to die.   No sooner had the two chains been held together, than they suddenly united as if they had been but one chain and forged by the same hand.   This miracle increased the veneration in which these chains were held and actuated Eudoxia to build a special church at Rome for their keeping, where they can still be seen.   Many sick were healed by their touch and many possessed were delivered, among the latter was a Count of the court of the Emperor Otho, who, in the year 969, was sent to Rome to be freed from the Evil Spirit. Pope John XIII had hardly touched the count’s neck with the holy chains, when he was relieved and his torments were ended.st peter in chains prison

St Gregory the Great, writes that it was considered a great happiness to possess a few particles filed off from these chains and that many persons devoutly wore them enclosed in golden crosses and lockets around their necks.   Experience has shown that the touch of these crosses or lockets has restored health to many a sick person.   A nobleman, who scoffed at this and, in derision, dared to break one of these crosses, was severely chastised.   He was instantly possessed by the Evil One and became so enraged that he took his own life, as St Gregory relates.   St Augustine states that the iron of these precious chains is justly esteemed far above gold.   Blessed are those fetters which touched the apostle and made him a martyr.   “The touch of the blessed limbs of St Peter has sanctified the instruments of torture.”   In another place the same Saint says:   “If the shadow of St Peter possessed a healing virtue, how much greater power must the chains of his sufferings have derived from him.”casket-with-st-peter chains.jpg

Posted in Catholic NEWS, Pope BENEDICT XVI, St PAUL!, St PETER!, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS

29 June 1951-2019 – The 68th Anniversary of the Priestly Ordination of Papa Benedict XVI

29 JUNE 1951-2019
The Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul

Congratulations, Prayers and Love
to our dearly beloved
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
on the occasion of the
68th Anniversary
of his Priestly Ordination68th anniversary of pope benedict's ordination 29 june 2019

“Domineering over your faith is not my purpose.   I prefer to work with you for your happiness”.   It is what the Apostle Paul (II Cor 1,24) wrote and his quote was used 65 years ago on the celebration day of Peter and Paul Patron Saints – 29th June 1951 – during the priestly ordination of Joseph Ratzinger.   It was held in the Cathedral of Freising and celebrated by Michael von Faulhaber, archbishop of Munich.   Paul’s quote was written on the holy card in order to celebrate the event.   This important anniversary will be marked by a solemn celebration in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace on 28th June. Pope Francis and the emeritus Pope Benedict XVI will attend the celebration. Joseph Ratzinger will receive a book on priesthood as a present.

“We were more than forty candidates and we all answered Adsum – that is “Here I am” – Ratzinger wrote in his Autobiography .   It was a beautiful and unforgettable summer day, the most important moment in my life.”    I shouldn’t be superstitious but while the old archbishop was laying his hands on me, a little bird – maybe a lark – raised from the high altar of the Cathedral and sang a short joyful song – I thought it was a voice from above saying: you are in the right way.” Ratzinger said.   

His elder brother Georg was ordained with him.   “The day of the first Mass the church of Saint Oswald was in its splendour and people showed us their joy and involvement.   We had been asked t  o bring the blessing of the first Mass to the town and we were welcomed everywhere. Everybody showed friendliness, even the people we didn’t know at all.   I became aware of the expectations men and women have with a priest – they trust in his blessing and the power of the sacrament.   It was not because of me or my brother =  what did we mean to the people we met?   They saw us as the men to whom Christ had given a task, that was to show His presence.”

“Priesthood is not “a job, but a sacrament.   God asks a poor man to be like Him, to be with all men and women and to act on their behalf” said Benedict XVI on 11th June 2010, during the homily at the end of the Year for Priests, that he established on the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John Mary Vianney, Saint Patron of Priests.

Posted in FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MORNING Prayers, ON the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, St PAUL!, St PETER!, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS

Thought for the Day – 29 June – Glorious Princes of the earth and Servants of Heaven!

Thought for the Day – 29 June – The Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul

Blessed Isaac of Stella O.Cist. (c 1100 – c 1170)
Cistercian Monk

Sermon 49, 1st for the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul

“These were men of mercy whose good deeds shall not be forgotten; the wealth they have left their inheritance will last for ever” (Latin liturgy; cf. Sir 44:10-11).”

Today, beloved, we are celebrating the birthday of the apostles Peter and Paul and it is altogether fitting that… such a death should be called ‘birth’ since it gave birth to life… See to what the saints have come – through the death that bestows life, they leave this life that leads to death, so as to come to that life-giving life, which is in the hands of Him who, as Christ said: “has life in Himself” – the Father (Jn 5:26)…

There are three kinds of people who are merciful.   The first give of their goods… so as to contribute out of their superfluity to the penury of their neighbour… The second give all their goods away and, for them… everything is held in common with others from then on… But as for the third, they not only expend all they have but are “themselves utterly spent” (2 Cor 12:15) and give themselves up in person to the dangers of prison, exile and death so that they may rescue others from the dangers in which their souls are lying. They pour themselves out because they are so full of ardent desire for others.   They will receive the reward of that love of which “there is no greater – to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn 15:13)… Such are those glorious princes of the earth and servants of heaven of whom today – after long privations “from hunger and thirst, cold and nakedness”, exhaustion and danger, “from their own race, from Gentiles, from false brethren” (2 Cor 11:26-27) – we celebrate the death that was so magnificently victorious. To such as these, the saying well applie – “Their good deeds shall never be forgotten” because they have not forgotten mercy… Yes, to the merciful, “their lot has fallen in a pleasant land, their inheritance is without compare” (Ps 16[15]:6).

Glorious Saints Peter and Paul, Pray for Us!sts peter and paul pray for us 29 june 2019 sts petr and paul.jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on the CHURCH, SAINT of the DAY, SAINT Pope PAUL VI, St PAUL!, St PETER!, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS, The WORD

Quote/s of the Day – 29 June – Their sound has gone out into all the earth!

Quote/s of the Day – 29 June – The Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul

“Their sound has gone out
into all the earth
and their words
to the ends of the world”

Psalm 19:5psalm 19 5 their sound has gone out - 29 june 2019 sts petr and paul.jpg

“There must be general rejoicing, dearly beloved,
over this holy company whom God has appointed
for our example in patience and for our confirmation in faith.
But we must glory even more in the excellence of their fathers,
Peter and Paul, whom the grace of God has raised
to such a height among all the members of the Church
that He has set them like twin lights
of eyes in that Body whose head is Christ.”he-has-set-them-like-twin-lights-inthe-eyes-st-pope-leo-the-great-29-june-2018

“Saint Peter does not cease to preside over his See
and preserves an endless sharing, with the Sovereign Priest.
The firmness that he received from the Rock which is Christ,
he himself, having become the Rock,
transmits it equally to his successors.”

St Pope Leo the Great (400-461)

Doctor of the Church’s Unityst peter does not ceasee to preside - st pope leo the great 29 june 2019 sts peter and paul.jpg

“And so it is with Rome, where the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, gave with their blood their final witness.   The vocation of Rome is of apostolic origin and the ministry which it is our lot to exercise here, is a service for the benefit of the entire Church and of mankind.   But it is an irreplaceable service, because it has pleased the Wisdom of God to place the Rome of Peter and Paul, so to speak, on the road that leads to the eternal City, by the fact that Wisdom chose to confide to Peter—who unifies in himself the College of Bishops—the keys of the kingdom of heaven.”

St Pope Paul VI (1897-1978)

Exhortation on Christian Joy, 1975and-so-it-is-with-rome-bl-paul-vi-29-june-20181

Posted in FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MORNING Prayers, Papa FRANCIS, SAINT of the DAY, St PAUL!, St PETER!, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 29 June – ‘In Jesus’ hands the smallest stone becomes precious…’

One Minute Reflection – 29 June – The Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul – Today’s Gospel: Matthew 16:13–19

“And I tell you, you are Peter and on this rock I will build my church and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” …Matthew 16:18-19on-this-rock-matthew-16-18.29 JUNE 2018 STS PETER AND PAULjpg.jpg

REFLECTION – “With us too, today, Jesus wants to continue building His Church, this house with solid foundations but where cracks are not lacking and which is in constant need of repair.   Always.   The Church always needs to be reformed, repaired.   We certainly do not feel like rocks but only like small stones.   However, no small stone is useless, indeed, in Jesus’ hands the smallest stone becomes precious, because He picks it up, gazes at it with great tenderness, fashions it with His Spirit and positions it in the right place that He had always had in mind and where it can be more useful to the whole structure.”…Pope Francis (Angelus, 27 August 2017)with us too today jesus wants to continue - pope francis 29 june 2019 sts peterandpaul.jpg

PRAYER – O God, who on the Solemnity of the Apostles Peter and Paul give us the noble and holy joy of this day, grant, we pray, that your Church may in all things follow the teaching of those through whom she received the beginnings of right religion.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amensts peter and paul pray for us - 18 nov 2018.jpg

 

Posted in BREVIARY Prayers, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, HYMNS, Our MORNING Offering, SAINT of the DAY, St PAUL!, St PETER!, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS

Our Morning Offering – 29 June – What Fairer Light?

Our Morning Offering – 29 June – The Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul

What Fairer Light?

Hymn for the Solemnity of Sts Peter and Paul
Elphis, c 493, wife of Boethius c 477– 524
Translation: R A Knox, 1888-1957

What fairer light is this than time itself doth own,
The golden day with beams more radiant brightening?
The princes of God’s Church this feast day doth enthrone,
To sinners heavenward bound their burden lightening.

One taught mankind its creed, one guards the heavenly gate,
Founders of Rome, they bind the world in loyalty;
One by the sword achieved, one by the cross his fate;
With laurelled brows they hold eternal royalty.

Rejoice, O Rome, this day, thy walls they once did sign
With princely blood, who now their glory share with thee.
What city’s vesture glows with crimson deep as thine?
What beauty else has earth that may compare with thee?

To God the three in one eternal homage be,
All honour, all renown, all songs victorious,
Who rules both heaven and earth by one divine decree
To everlasting years in empire glorious.what-fairer-light-blessed-solemnity-of-sts-peter-and-paul-29-june-2018.jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, ON the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, St PAUL!, St PETER!, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS, YouTube VIDEOS

Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul – 29 June

Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles and Martyrs  – 29 JuneHEADER - sts-peter-paul-facebook-2018.jpg

Today the Church celebrates the feast day of Sts Peter & Paul.   As early as the year 258, there is evidence of an already lengthy tradition of celebrating the solemnities of both Saint Peter and Saint Paul on the same day.   Together, the two saints are the founders of the See of Rome, through their preaching, ministry and martyrdom there.   St Peter is also celebrated on 22 February (feast of the Chair of Peter, emblematic of the world unity of the Church) on 1 August (Saint Peter in Chains), St Paul’s Conversion is celebrated on 25 January and both are once again celebrated on 18 November (feast of the dedication of the Basilicas of Peter and Paul – the two major Basilicas in Rome).

In a sermon in the year 395, St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of the Church, said of Sts Peter and Paul:

“Both apostles share the same feast day, for these two were one and even though they suffered on different days, they were as one.

Peter went first and Paul followed.

And so we celebrate this day made holy for us, by the apostles’ blood.   Let us embrace what they believed, their life, their labours, their sufferings, their preaching and their confession of faith.”

both apostles share the same feast day - st augustine sts peter and paul 29 june 2019.jpg

Peter (d. 64?) Saint Mark ends the first half of his Gospel with a triumphant climax.   He has recorded doubt, misunderstanding and the opposition of many to Jesus.   Now Peter makes his great confession of faith – “You are the Messiah” (Mark 8:29b).   It was one of the many glorious moments in Peter’s life, beginning with the day he was called from his nets along the Sea of Galilee to become a fisher of men for Jesus.

The New Testament clearly shows Peter as the leader of the apostles, chosen by Jesus to have a special relationship with Him.   With James and John he was privileged to witness the Transfiguration, the raising of a dead child to life and the agony in Gethsemane.   His mother-in-law was cured by Jesus.   He was sent with John to prepare for the last Passover before Jesus’ death.   His name is first on every list of apostles.saint-peter-1634.jpg

And to Peter only did Jesus say, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.   For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.   And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.   I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:17b-19).

But the Gospels prove their own trustworthiness by the unflattering details they include about Peter.   He clearly had no public relations person.   It is a great comfort for ordinary mortals to know that Peter also has his human weakness, even in the presence of Jesus.

He generously gave up all things, yet he can ask in childish self-regard, “What are we going to get for all this?” (see Matthew 19:27).   He receives the full force of Christ’s anger when he objects to the idea of a suffering Messiah –“Get behind me, Satan!   You are an obstacle to me.   You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do” (Matthew 16:23b).

Peter is willing to accept Jesus’ doctrine of forgiveness but suggests a limit of seven times. He walks on the water in faith but sinks in doubt.   He refuses to let Jesus wash his feet, then wants his whole body cleansed.   He swears at the Last Supper that he will never deny Jesus and then swears to a servant maid that he has never known the man  . He loyally resists the first attempt to arrest Jesus by cutting off Malchus’ ear but in the end, he runs away with the others.   In the depth of his sorrow, Jesus looks on him and forgives him and he goes out and sheds bitter tears.   The Risen Jesus told Peter to feed his lambs and his sheep (John 21:15-17).

Paul (d. 64?) If the most well-known preacher today suddenly began preaching that your country should adopt Marxism and not rely on the democracy, the angry reaction would help us understand Paul’s life when he started preaching that Christ alone can save us.  He had been the most pharisaic of Pharisees, the most legalistic of Mosaic lawyers.   Now he suddenly appears to other Jews as a heretical welcomer of Gentiles, a traitor and apostate.

st paul - wow Hl. Paulus - ANTONY VAN DYCK 2.jpg
St Paul – Antony van Dyck

Paul’s central conviction was simple and absolute – Only God can save humanity.   No human effort—even the most scrupulous observance of law—can create a human good which we can bring to God, as reparation for sin and payment for grace.   To be saved from itself, from sin, from the devil and from death, humanity must open itself completely to the saving power of Jesus.

Paul never lost his love for his Jewish family, though he carried on a lifelong debate with them about the uselessness of the Law without Christ.   He reminded the Gentiles that they were grafted on the parent stock of the Jews, who were still God’s chosen people, the children of the promise.saints-peter-and-paul-2.jpg