On June 29 the Church celebrates the feast day of Sts. Peter & Paul. As early as the year 258, there is evidence of an already lengthy tradition of celebrating the solemnities of both Saint Peter and Saint Paul on the same day. Together, the two saints are the founders of the See of Rome, through their preaching, ministry and martyrdom there.
In many churches, priestly ordinations are performed on this solemnity.
- St. Peter spent his last years in Rome, leading the Church through persecution and eventually being martyred in the year 64. He was crucified upside-down at his own request, because he claimed he was not worthy to die as his Lord. He was buried on Vatican hill, and St. Peter’s Basilica is built over his tomb.
- Paul was imprisoned and taken to Rome, where he was beheaded in the year 67. He is buried in Rome in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.
In a sermon in the year 395, St. Augustine of Hippo said of Sts. Peter and Paul: “Both apostles share the same feast day, for 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.”
Pope Francis to create 14 new cardinals on June 29.
The 11 new cardinals under the age of 80, who will be active participants in a future conclave, are:
Patriarch Louis Raphaël I Sako, Iraqi, Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Babylon and the Head of the Chaldean Catholic Church.
Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer sj, Spaniard, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Archbishop Angelo De Donatis, Italian, Vicar General of Rome.
Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu, Italian, Substitute of the Vatican’s Secretariat of State.
Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, Polish, Almoner of the Office of Papal Charities.
Archbishop Joseph Coutts, of Karachi, Pakistan.
Bishop António Augusto dos Santos Marto, Bishop of Leiria-Fátima, Portugal.
Archbishop Pedro Ricardo Barreto Jimeno, Archbishop of Huancayo, Peru.
Archbishop Désiré Tsarahazana, Archbishop of Toamasina, Madagascar.
Archbishop Giuseppe Petrocchi, Archbishop of L’Aquila, Italy.
Archbishop Thomas Aquino Manyo Maeda, Archbishop of Osaka, Japan.
Here are some thoughts from journalists:
“Pope Francis is trying to make the Church more universal with the appointment of all 14 of us from peripheries as cardinals.”
“Apart from that his services to the Catholic Church in Pakistan and the community, Archbishop Joseph Coutts has been tremendous and is the best choice for a cardinal, which Pakistan will have after about 24 years”.
“The Church in Japan is extremely small, so the appointment of the Bishop of Osaka as a cardinal is yet another example of Pope Francis’s emphasis on reaching out to the Church on the peripheries, on the margins, and embracing a truly universal Church”.” It is a sign of the pope’s global vision”.
The selection also says a lot about the path a pontiff wants the Church to take.
In the “Francis era,” many new cardinals come from far-flung, often overlooked dioceses where Catholics are a distinct minority. In this consistory, at least two new cardinals hail from Muslim-majority countries where Christians are persecuted for their faith.
This is the case of Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako, who comes from Iraq, the United States Senate declared in 2016 that, together with other minorities, Christians are victims of genocide at the hands of the Islamic State. The patriarch has been outspoken about the perils Christians face, while urging them to remain in the lands of their ancestors who have been in the Middle East for two millennia. “Now is the right time to adhere effectually to the land of their parents and grandparents, their identity, history and heritage,” Patriarch Sako said last year. “The fact that we are the indigenous people of this country and its ancient civilizations, and that our history is traced back to the oldest Christian Church in the world, should be kept in our mind always.”
Similarly, due to Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, a person can be jailed- or sentenced to death- for being accused of disrespecting Muhammad or the Quran. Earlier this year, new cardinal-elect Coutts was in Rome, and speaking with Rome Reports he said the law is easily abused, and Christians are often the target.
Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, a Pole, is considered the personal representative of the pope’s charitable efforts to turn the Catholic Church into a “field hospital.” As the head of the Vatican’s “almoner’s office,” he’s behind initiatives such as providing meals, sleeping bags and showers to Rome’s homeless, but also of providing them with opportunities that go beyond helping them meet their basic needs, such as taking them to seaside day trips during the summer months or opening the doors of the Vatican museums for them.