Category Archives: Saints

Saint Camillus de Lellis

DeLillisToday is the Feast of Saint Camillus de Lellis (1550-1614), spiritual son of Saint Philip Neri, who under his guidance founded a new order in the Church, the Camillans, who are dedicated to the care of the sick. He had the charism of honoring the sick as living images of Christ. This captures our Christian life in a clear way.

Please keep the sons of Camillus in prayer who recently elected a new general superior.

Pope Leo XIII made Saint Camillus, with Saint John of God, a patron of the sick.

Feast of the Dispersion of the Apostles

On any number of occasions I’ve spoken about the various local commemorations of saints; not all liturgical calendars are the same due to the presence of locally venerated saints and blesseds. Saint Kateri Tekawitha is not on the liturgical calendar of Hong Kong, for example. A friend of mine brought to my attention an unusual feast, that of the Dispersion of the Apostles. It’s an Irish feast with no analogue in the USA. This is a clear example of the richness of local church. Moreover, one can say that the Catholic Church is not monolithic or hegemonic. Here’s the note of my friend:

Jesus-ApostlesOn July 15, Canon O’Hanlon notes the recording, in the Martyrology of Aengus, of The Feast of the Dispersion of the Apostles. This feast marks the dispersal of the Holy Apostles to their various missionary destinations, but in some of the copies of Saint Aengus’s calendar, a list of not only the biblical Twelve Apostles is appended, but also a list of the ‘Twelve Apostles of Ireland’. This was a name given to a group of early saints, students of Saint Finnian of Clonard, who themselves dispersed to various parts of Ireland to evangelise this country, some of them are also credited with founding missions outside of Ireland. In the account below I have transferred the actual quotations from the Martyrology out of the footnotes and into the main body of Canon O’Hanlon’s text. I have also added some notes on the identities of the Irish Twelve:

Festival of the Twelve Apostles

In the ancient Irish Church, on the 15th day of July, was celebrated the Festival of the Twelve Apostles, as we read in the “Feilire” of St. Aengus. In the “Leabhar Breac” copy is the following Irish rann, translated into English, by Whitley Stokes, LL.D.

“The twelve Apostles who excel every number, before a countless host Jesus distributed them among Adam’s seed.”

There is an Irish stanza annexed, in which those Twelve Apostles are severally named. Thus translated into English.

“Simon, Matthaeus and Matthew, Bartholomew, Thomas, Thaddaeus, Peter, Andrew, Philip, Paul, John and the two Jameses.”

And succeeding it, there is another, enumerating the Twelve Apostles of Ireland. This is headed “XII. Apostoli Hiberniae,” and then follow these lines, thus translated into English:

“The Twelve Apostles of Ireland”:

“Two Finnens, two chaste Colombs, Ciaran, Caindech, fair Comgall, Two Brenainns, Ruadan with splendour, Nindid, Mobii, son of Natfraech.”

This ancient Festival, styled the Separation of the Apostles of Christ for their Missions in various parts of the old world, has been often alluded to by the early Greek and Latin Fathers. The Bollandists, who place it at the 15th of July, have a learned disquisition on its origin and history, to which the reader is referred.

Notes on the Twelve Apostles of Ireland:

Two Finnens – the two great Saint Finnians – Finnian of Clonard, ‘tutor of the saints of Ireland’ and Finnian of Moville.

Two Chaste Colombs – Saint Columba of Iona and Saint Columba of Terryglass.

Ciaran – Some lists include two Ciarans, both Saint Ciaran the Elder (of Saighir) and Ciaran the Younger (of Clonmacnoise).

Caindech – Saint Canice or Kenneth of Kilkenny.

Fair Comgall – Saint Comgall of Bangor.

Two Brenainns – Saints Brendan the Elder (of Birr) and Brendan the Younger (the Navigator) of Clonfert.

Ruadan with splendour – Saint Ruadhan of Lorrha.

Nindid – Saint Ninnidh of Inismacsaint.

Mobii – Saint Mobhí of Glasnevin.

Son of Natfraech – Molaise of Devenish

Finally, it may be noted that the list of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland is preserved in various manuscripts which do not always tally. Some of the saints, not present on this list, can include Saints Senan and Sinell.

Saint Thomas

Sts Andrew and Thomas Bernini 1627Although the doors were closed,
Jesus appeared to his disciples.
He took away their fear and granted them peace.
Then He called Thomas and said to him:
“Why did you doubt My resurrection from the dead?
Place your hand in My side;
see My hands and My feet.
Through your lack of faith,
everyone will come to know of My passion and My resurrection,
and they will cry out with you:
My Lord and My God, glory to You!

Through the Apostles we come to know and love the Savior of humanity in ways unimaginable. Thomas, as the text from the Byzantine Liturgy for “Thomas Sunday” suggests, is a keen witness to the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. The miracle of trampling death by death itself requires of man and woman the openness to follow a witness who points, who interrogates, who gives voice to, a wonder never seen and experienced for now. The so-called doubts of Thomas can really be understood from the viewpoint of faith and reason: is it reason that a man be raised from the dead? Is it reasonable to speak about this fact from the eyes of faith? Thomas stands before the Lord and gives the answer in the affirmative. Faith is the capacity to see all of life, the small and the great, the seen and unseen, the common and the miraculous as a way of knowing. Thomas knows because of evidence; he has faith in the Lord Jesus because what the Lord taught is reasonable and recognizable. Blessed are those who believe.

Here is the post from last year.

Apostles as earth’s pillars

St Peter & PaulYou can see from the three posts on this feast of Saints Peter and Paul that these blessed witnesses mean something to me, besides the obvious. One of the things to consider is to remember that we all need good formation in the Christian faith. How else to appreciate the roots of the faith but to know how the Church sees the pillars. Here is the Cistercian Father and Saint Aelred of Rielvaux’s (1110-1167), sermon (18; PL 195, 298), for the feast:

“upon this rock I will build my church” The earth moves with all its inhabitants, I even signed his columns” (Sl 75.4). All the Apostles are pillars of the Earth, but first the two whose feast we celebrate. They are the two columns which support the Church through his teaching, his prayer and example of their constancy. It was the Lord himself that strengthened these columns; because initially they were weak, unable to stand and support the other. And here pops up the grand plan of the Lord: they were always strong, one might think that his strength came from themselves. So before they build, the Lord wanted to show what they were capable of, to let everyone know that your strength comes from God. […] Pedro was released on Earth by a simple voice created […]; another column was also very weak: ‘ even though I have been a blasphemer, persecutor and insolent” (1 Tim 1.13). […]

That’s why we praise wholeheartedly these saints, our parents, who have suffered a lot for the Lord and who persevered with so much fortitude. It costs nothing to persevere in joy, happiness and peace; be great is to be stoned, scourged, flogged for Christ (2 Cor 11.25), and persevere with Christ. It’s great to be cursed and blessed as Paul, being chased and endure, be maligned and comfort, be like the garbage in the world and that take glory (1 Cor -13 4.12). […] And what about Peter? Even if he hadn’t endured anything for Christ, we would be happy to celebrate today, having been crucified for Him. […] He knew where he was the one whom she loved, one who wanted […]: its cross was your way to heaven.

Symbols of Unity and Peace: Peter and Paul

Sts Peter and Paul 4th century Roman catacombsThe saints honored today reveal much about who we are as Christians. Remember Paul as the Apostle to the Gentiles, and Peter as first bishop of Antioch before going to Rome to the first bishop there. Have you ever wondered why they go together? The image used here is an early 4th century image of  Peter and Paul together found in the catacombs of Rome. A friend, Fr Dustin Lyon, an orthodox priest friend offered the following detail on the apostles’ connection.

“[On icons] Peter and Paul exchange the kiss of peace. …The kiss of the first pope [bishop of Rome] and the ‘apostle of the people’ symbolizes the unity of the Church… It was a peace they had managed to establish at the Council of Jerusalem in the year 48, even though the former represented the Church of the Law (circumcised Jews) and the latter the Church of Grace (uncircumcised pagans). Yet at Antioch, when Peter avoids the Gentiles, Paul reprimands him, ‘I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned’ (Galatians 2:11). …They are both represented in all icons in which the apostles are gathered, even events at which Paul was not present.” (Alfredo Tradigo, Icons and Saints of the Eastern Orthodox Church (Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2004), pg. 267).

The great Augustine, bishop of Hippo teaches:

“This day has been made holy by the passion of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul. We are, therefore, not talking about some obscure martyrs. ‘For their voice has gone forth to all the world, and to the ends of the earth their message.’ (Psalm 19:4) These martyrs realize what they taught: they pursued justice, the confessed the truth, they died for it… Both apostles share the same feast day, but 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 labors, their sufferings, their preaching and their confession of faith.”

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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