Did you know… that the parents of Our Lady are St Anne and St Joachim? The name Anne means ‘grace’; and the name Joachim means ‘lifted up, or established, by God’. Their feast day is 26th July.
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Ss Peter & Paul (f.d. 29 June)
St Peter is the patron saint of fishermen and sailors, of key makers (because he holds the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven) and watchmakers (because of the cock crowing). He is prayed to when someone has a fever because Our Lord cured his mother-in-law of fever.
St Paul is patron saint of tentmakers and weavers (because he was a tentmaker himself) and of theologians.
St John the Baptist
Did you know…that St John the Baptist’s birthday is one of only three birthdays that we celebrate as feast days in the Church?
25th December is the birthday of Our Lord;
8th September is the birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary;
24th June is the birthday of St John the Baptist.
But why do we celebrate these three? Usually we keep saints feast days on the day that they die because that is the day they enter heaven and become completely holy. But these three were completely holy before they were even born!
Our Lord was holy from the start because He is the Son of God, and the Son of God cannot commit a sin, of course.
Our Lady was full of grace from the moment she was conceieved in her mother’s womb, as St Gabriel said when he greeted her, “Hail, Mary! Full of grace”. We keep the feast of Mary’s Immaculate Conception on December 8th, and her birthday nine months later on September 8th.
St John the Baptist did have the stain of Original Sin on his soul when he was conceieved in his mother’s womb, but when Mary’s greeting reached Elizabeth (St John’s mother) the infant in her womb leaped for joy, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit (Lk 1:41). In other words, St John the Baptist was baptized and made holy before he was even born. And Tradition tells us that he never committed any sins during his life.
These three – Jesus, Mary, and St John – were all born holy because it was through these three people that God the Father began the work of our salvation. With their coming, the Old Testament ended and the New Testament began.
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Did you know… that Saint Juliana was the first person to suggest that there should be a feast of Corpus Christi? As she prayed she saw a strange vision in which she saw the full moon but with a peculiar black disc on it. Our Lord finally told her that the light of the moon represented the whole of the Church’s year whilst the black spot indicated that there was something missing, namely a feast in honour of the sacred Body and Blood of Christ.
Saint Juliana told the bishop of her diocese, in Liege in Belgium, about these visions. And when he became Pope Urban IV he established the feast of Corpus Christi. He also asked St Thomas Aquinas, the famous Dominican priest, to write all the prayers and the hymns for the Mass for the feast of Corpus Christi.
The first ever feast of Corpus Christi was in the summer of 1265, seven years after the death of St Juliana, (and nine years before the death of St Thomas Aquinas).
Early in the fourteenth century the tradition of holding a procession through the streets of the town after the Mass started to gain popularity.
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Did you know… that St George came from Cappadocia and was executed in Palestine under the Diocletian persecution of the Church?
Did you know… that there was once an English pope? Pope Adrian (or Hadrian) IV was born in Abbots Langley in Hertfordshire, England, and went to St Alban’s School. He was called Nicholas Breakspear until he became pope in 1154. He was the 168th pope. He died in 1159.
Did you know… Pope Benedict was 85 years old on his birthday on Monday 16 April 2012? This means he is the 6th oldest pope in history.
Did you know… the last pope to be 85 years old was Pope Leo XIII in 1895? He went on to be pope for another eight years before he died.
Did you know… that one in seven people in the world are Catholic?
Did you know… that at the time of Henry VIII’s reformation there were 188 Benedictine monasteries in England?
Did you know… that when the pope dies a special Cardinal, called the Camerlengo (or “Chamberlain of the Holy Roman Church”), takes charge of running the Church until a new pope is elected?
Did you know… that Pope Benedict XVI is the 265th pope?