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St. James the Greater

This past week, we marked two back-to-back feasts in the life of the church. The first was the feast of St. James the Greater (July 25). The other was the feast of Sts Joachim and Anne (July 26). This week I’ll cover St. James. Next week I’ll talk about St. Anne.


St. James was one of the 12 apostles. He was called Saint James the Greater to distinguish him from the other apostle James which the church preferred to call the lesser. These titles likely refer to their age or maybe physical stature. However, James the Greater also deserved that title because he was part of the inner circle of Jesus.


When Jesus was transfigured, it was only Peter, James (the Greater), and John who were privileged to see it. Similarly, and not by chance, the same Peter, James, and John were invited to witness Jesus' agony in the Garden of Gethsemani. Clearly, James had a privileged place in the heart of Our Lord.


James also has a privileged place in the hearts of Spain. Like no other country, Spain celebrates the feast of St. James with great fanfare. That is because he was their disciple. Tradition tells us that after Jesus’ ascension into heaven, the disciples traveled to the ends of the earth proclaiming the Gospel. Peter went to Rome, Thomas went to India, and James went to Spain. It was there that he planted the faith, won disciples for Christ, and even received a vision of Mary: Our Lady of the Pillar.


Today, the tomb of St. James is located in the city of Santiago de Compostela in the northwest corner of Spain. For centuries pilgrims have walked to the tomb of St. James caring their intentions in their hearts and leaving them at the foot of the saint.

We trust St. James to intercede for us as well.

St. James the Greater, Pray for us.

Fr. David

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