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Divine Service for the Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul

WHEN: Friday, June 29 at 10:30am

ST. PETER AND ST. PAUL both have Feast Days in the Church Year commemorating events in their lives (Confession of St. Peter on January 18 and Conversion of St. Paul on January 25). Yet even more significant is their joint Feast Day on June 29.

One of the oldest saints days, it was widely celebrated by the fourth century, but some scholars date it to 258. Some traditions hold that they were both martyred on June 29 in 67 AD. More likely, it was on June 29, 258 that their remains were moved to the catacombs which established this feast.

After two great basilicas were dedicated in their memory, St. Peter was commemorated on June 29, while St. Paul was on June 30. During the Reformation era, many Lutheran calendars tended to retain the traditional combined Feast, even though the Epistle and Gospel recall events about St. Peter.

For centuries, the Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul was treated as a day like Christmas or Easter. At times, three Masses were celebrated: one in honor of St. Peter; one in honor of St. Paul; and one in commemoration of all the Apostles. The apostleship of Peter and Paul embraced the Church’s complete ministry to both the Jewish and Gentile worlds. These two “princes of the apostles” represented them all.

Over time, each of the Apostles and Evangelists was commemorated with his own Feast Day, but in the earliest times, this Feast on June 29 was regarded as the festival of the whole apostolic
college.

It is fitting, after we have completed the half of the year focusing on Our Lord’s life and work that toward the beginning of the “Time of the Church” half of the year, we begin with the Nativity of Our Lord’s forerunner, St. John the Baptizer (June 24), followed closely by St. Peter and St. Paul.

The lessons for the Feast are Acts 12.1-11 and St. Mark. 16.13-20.

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