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How to Celebrate St. Philip's and St. James' Day

Updated: Apr 26

Happy St. Philip's and St. James' Day! St. Philip and St. James were both early followers of Jesus and are considered to be two of Jesus’ twelve apostles but little is known about them beyond that. We celebrate them on the same day because even though they died at different times and in different places, their bodies were moved and brought to the Church of the Twelve Apostles in Rome.

St. Philip was one of the first disciples that Jesus called. Jesus called Phillip right after calling Andrew and Peter. Phillip then went and found his friend Nathanael and convinced him to come and see Jesus. It was Phillip who was asked by Jesus how to feed the three thousand to which Phillip gave the very practical response, “Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.”

At the Last Supper, Phillip asks Jesus to “show us the Father and we shall be satisfied” to which Jesus responds, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Phillip? He who has seen me has seen the Father.”

St. Phillip followed Jesus as a faithful disciple and then became one of the Apostles, spreading the gospel and serving as a leader in the church. He was killed in Greece under the reign of the Roman emperor, Domitian. Tradition says he was crucified upside down, like James.

St. James, also known as James the Less, is also one of the twelve apostles of Jesus. He is known as “James the Less” to distinguish him from James the son of Zebedee and James, “the brother of the Lord.” He is referred to as James the son of Alpheus in the listing of the disciples. Both of them were martyred for their beliefs and devotion to Jesus Christ.

Ways to Celebrate

Read John 6:5-13 with your family. Why do you think Jesus tested Philip? How did Jesus feed so many people? Was there just enough food or more than enough?

Since St. Phillip’s recorded interaction with Jesus involved bread, make bread with your children.

Make Marinated Green Beans with Tomatoes, Olives, and Feta or any food associated with Greece since St. Philip was martyred in Greece.

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