28 June 2008

The Joyous Festival of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles

Tonight and tomorrow we will gather with joy to celebrate the festival of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles. Reed notes that this is one of the oldest saint's days observed, and that in Rome it was regarded as one of the greatest feasts of the entire year. Anciently in Rome, three masses were appointed. One commemorating St. Peter, one St. Paul, and one all the apostles. According to tradition they were martyred the very same day, though in different years. But this particular date (June 29) apparently arises from the transfer of their remains to the catacombs in the year 258 during the Valerian persecution.

We praise You for Saint Peter;
We praise You for Saint Paul;
They taught both Jew and Gentile
That Christ is all in all.
To cross and sword they yielded
And saw Your kingdom come;
O God, these two apostles
Reached life through martyrdom. (LSB 518:19)

According to very ancient tradition, St. Peter was crucified, but asked to be crucified upside down, deeming himself unworthy to die in the same manner as His blessed Lord. St. Paul, as a Roman citizen, was beheaded outside of Rome. Together they gave witness to the life that is in Christ Jesus is stronger than all death:

"No, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:37-39)


Scott Larkins said...

What a fitting day for my return to Holy Mother Church. I swam the Tiber this afternoon. Going to the "the greatest and most horrible abomination" tomorrow morning.

"That the Mass in the Papacy must be the greatest and most horrible abomination, as it directly and powerfully conflicts with this chief article, and yet above and before all other popish idolatries it has been the chief and most specious."



William Weedon said...


I wish you well, and pray that you hold onto the truth you learned as a Lutheran Christian.

Scott Larkins said...

In the Catholic Church, there are many other things which most justly keep me in her bosom. The consent of peoples and nations keeps me in the Church; so does her authority, inaugurated by miracles, nourished by hope, enlarged by love, established by age. The succession of priests keeps me, beginning from the very seat of the Apostle Peter, to whom the Lord, after His resurrection, gave it in charge to feed His sheep , down to the present episcopate. And so, lastly, does the very name of Catholic, which, not without reason, amid so many heresies, the Church has thus retained; so that, though all heretics wish to be called Catholics, yet when a stranger asks where the Catholic Church meets, no heretic will venture to point to his own chapel or house.

St.Augustine of Hippo


Brian P Westgate said...

3 Masses huh? I've heard that the Nativity of St. John the Baptist had 3 as well, but only one survives, perhaps the 3rd. one. Of the 3 for Ss. Peter & Paul, I suppose the one for St. Peter remained today, the one for St. Paul was moved to tomorrow, and the one for all the Apostles is the Mass found in the Common. I could be wrong. Much of the Mass for today in the Roman Rite is jarring to sensitive Lutheran ears (like mine).

Christine said...

Well, the Church of Rome will be happy to have Scott. A very sobering article in this week's Our Sunday Visitor spells out in detail the sad state of Catholicism today, especially in the U.S.

The authority of peoples and nations? It's alarming how many Catholics believe that the Catholic church is only one avenue of salvation. Even more alarming is how many of them don't believe Scripture is the Word of God. Even OSV admits that the last couple of decades have been a catechetical disaster in the Catholic church.

But the door swings both ways! Having overcome my last ten years of Roman fever I am swimming OUT of the Tiber back to the LCMS, where I will again hear the gracious word of the Eternal Word who alone saves.

God be with you, Scott. After ten years I discovered that the Catholic church I thought I was joining no longer exists.

By the way, Scott, can you show me where the priestly terms "sacerdos" and "hiereus" are applied to Christian pastors in the New Testament?

Oh, but there's "doctrinal development" and all that.

And -- speaking of 3 masses -- my suburban megaparish had 4 on Sundays -- in the door, out the door. Poor priests. No wonder they hardly knew anyone by name.