Today, a day after my 41st birthday, and on my wife’s birthday, I celebrate the seventh anniversary of ordination to the priesthood in the Catholic Church, at the hands of the Bishop of Calgary for service in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter. In England the Solemnity of Ss Peter and Paul - my natal patrons, and a holy day of obligation - is moved to today, which means that this year I have the rare opportunity to keep my anniversary on this day of great significance for the Church’s apostolic ministry and mission.
‘[I]n our day, perhaps more than ever, the Popes have a wider and nobler conception of the duty they have undertaken; they will give the world positive guidance, they will initiate, they will spur us into action. They will not be content to criticise (no difficult matter) the false standards they see prevailing in an exhausted and disillusioned world. They will set before it, instead, the pattern of a Christian world-order, of a civilisation penetrated with, and expressing, the mind of Christ. And if we are to be worthy, you and I, of those great pontificates under which the divine mercy has privileged us to live, we must not be content, either, with a merely negative Catholicism which forbids us to do this, discourages us from doing that, shuts us up in ourselves and reduces the Christian life to a treadmill routine of avoiding sin. We must react generously, and if need be heroically, to the conditions of our age, of a world which enjoys a precarious, and, if will fail in our duty, ignoble peace. That is the lesson which the feast of St Peter and St Paul should have for times like ours; they bear the sword, as well as the keys, they were princes of the Church because they sealed their witness by martyrdom. They beckon us to glorious thrones, but through a hard apostolate. If they disagreed once, it was long ago; they have but one voice now, and it bids us go forward’.
from a sermon preached at the Church of Our Most Holy Redeemer & St Thomas More, Chelsea
on the Feast of Ss Peter & Paul, 29 June 1947, by Mgr Ronald Knox, 1888-1957
O God, who hast hallowed this day by the martyrdom of thine Apostles Peter and Paul: grant unto thy Church, in all things, to follow the precepts of those through whom she received the beginning of religion; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen. - Divine Worship: The Missal.
Fr Lee Kenyon
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