St. Philip and St. James

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St. Philip and St. James, Apostles

St. Philip was born at Bethsaida, a city near the Sea of Genesareth. What we know concerning him is contained in the following words of the Gospel: One day, as Christ our Lord was going to Galilee, he met Philip and said to him: “Follow me.” Philip unhesitatingly obeyed, and as, after a long conversation with Christ, he became convinced that He was the true, long-promised Messiah, he endeavored to lead others also to Him. Among the first of these was Nathaniel, an upright man and well versed in the law of God. After some time, Christ appointed Philip an Apostle, and he was extremely zealous in the fulfilment of his duties. Before the Saviour fed, with five loaves of bread, the five thousand men in the desert, he had asked Philip: “Where shall we buy bread that they may have to eat?” Philip replied: “Bread for two hundred pence is not sufficient to give each one a small piece.” Christ, however, showed that He did not need so much to feed the assembled multitudes. After Christ had raised Lazarus from the dead, and had made His glorious entry into Jerusalem, some heathens came to Philip and said: ” Sir, we would see Jesus.” Philip informed the Apostle Andrew of it, and both acquainted the Saviour with the request. When Our Lord, in His exhortation after the last supper, spoke of His heavenly father, Philip said; “Lord, show us the Father, and it will suffice us.” In addition to the above, tradition gives us the following of the life and labors of this Saint. When, after having received the Holy Ghost, the Apostles dispersed into the world to preach the Gospel, Scythia, still wild and savage, fell to the lot of Philip, and by his preaching and the wonders he wrought, he converted almost all its inhabitants. Thence he went to Phrygia, where he found in the Capital, Hierapolis, an unusually large dragon, which the blind heathens worshipped as their God, and even cast as sacrifices living human beings before it, whom it tore in pieces and devoured. The Saint had deep compassion upon their blindness, and prayed to God upon bended knees, to destroy the monster by His power, that the people might recognize how wretched a God they had worshipped until now. What the Holy Apostle asked for he received. The dragon burst asunder in the presence of many heathens. The Saint, improving the opportunity, disclosed to the assembled multitude their error, and preached to them the true faith, which many readily embraced. The idolatrous priests and some of the magistrates, much incensed at what had taken place with their pretended god, gave no respite to Philip, but immediately seized him, and threw him into a dungeon: then, after having most cruelly scourged him, they hung him upon a cross with orders to stone him to death. During his martyrdom, however, there was so terrible an earthquake, that all the heathens ran away in affright. The Christians wished to take the Saint from the cross, but he requested to be allowed to die upon it, after the example of his divine Master. His wish was complied with, and after he had most fervently recommended himself and the newly converted Christians to the care of the Almighty, he gave up the ghost. Continue reading

Month of Mary

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Month of Mary

The month of May is the month which the piety of the faithful has especially dedicated to Our Blessed Lady, and it is the occasion for a moving tribute of faith and love which Catholics in every part of the world [pay] to the Queen of Heaven. During this month Christians, both in church and in the privacy of the home, offer up to Mary from their hearts an especially fervent and loving homage of prayer and veneration. In this month, too, the benefits of God’s mercy come down to us from her throne in greater abundance.

This Christian custom of dedicating the month of May to the Blessed Virgin arose at the end of the 13th century. In this way, the Church was able to Christianize the secular feasts which were wont to take place at that time. In the 16th century, books appeared and fostered this devotion. Continue reading