St. Philip & St. James
May 3rd marks the feast day of Sts. Philip and James. Though there is not an especially important reason behind the unification of St. Philip and St. James' memorial, these apostles both shared lives radically devoted to the Gospel and paid the ultimate sacrifice for their faith.
For centuries, the Catholic Church had special feasts to honor only four of the apostles: Sts. Peter and Paul, St. John the Evangelist, and St. Andrew, the brother of Peter. The Church memorialized the remaining apostles all together on June 29. But in the sixth century, the bodies of Sts. Philip and James were brought to Rome from the East and were laid to rest in the Basilica of the Holy Apostles. Since they arrived together at the same location, the Church instituted a single feast day for both apostles.
The Apostle Philip was one of Christ's first disciples, called soon after his Master's baptism in the Jordan. The fourth Gospel gives the following detail: "The next day Jesus was about to leave for Galilee, and He found Philip. And Jesus said to him: Follow Me. Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the town of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him: We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and the Prophets wrote, Jesus the Son of Joseph of Nazareth. And Nathanael said to him: Can anything good come out of Nazareth? Philip said to him: Come and see" (John 1:43)
St. James the Less, a brother of the Apostle Jude, was of Cana of Galilee. He is the author of one of the Catholic Epistles in the New Testament. He was favored by an appearance of the Risen Christ (I Cor. 15:7). After the dispersion of the Apostles, he was made Bishop of Jerusalem. He was visited by St. Paul (Gal. 1:19). He spoke after Peter at the meeting of the Apostles (Acts 15:13). When he refused to deny the Divinity of Christ, the Jews cast him down from the terrace of the temple and clubbed him to death. His relics now rest next to those of St. Philip in the church of the Holy Apostles in Rome, and their names are mentioned in the first list in the Canon of the Mass.
Today spend a few minutes praying and reflecting on the prayer from Mass for this feast day!
COLLECT PRAYER FROM MASS
O God, who gladden us each year with the feast day of the Apostles Philip and James, grant us, through their prayers, a share in the Passion and Resurrection of your Only Begotten Son, so that we may merit to behold you for eternity. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Resources from: Catholic Culture; Marians of the Immaculate Conception.