Feast Days

Monday, 25th December, The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Virgin will conceive and bear a son and they shall call him Emmanuel.

Tuesday, 26th December, St Stephen, the first Christian martyr, was one of those in charge of the poor and needy. He is outstanding for his forgiveness of his enemies. Patron of deacons, stonemasons and bricklayers.

Wednesday, 27th December, St John, Apostle and Evangelist, brother of James, son of Zebedee, the disciple whom Jesus loved, is traditionally said to have died in Ephesus. He is considered to be the author of the Fourth Gospel, the Book of Revelation and three Letters. The Letters especially teach us the law of love; John is said in his old age to have preached only one message: love one another.

Thursday, 28th December, The Holy Innocents, Martyrs. ‘The flight into Egypt and the massacre of the Holy Innocents make manifest the opposition of darkness to the light: “He came to his own home, and his own people received him not.” Christ’s whole life was lived under the sign of persecution. His own share it with him. Jesus’ departure from Egypt recalls the exodus and presents him as the definitive liberator of God’s people.

Friday, 29th December, St. Thomas Becket, 1118-1170, as Archbishop of Canterbury, came into conflict with King Henry II over Church rights. He was killed in his cathedral on this date.

Since their feasts fall on the three days after Christmas, St. Stephen, St John the Apostle and Evangelist, and the Holy Innocents, were given the name of ‘Comites Christi’, Companions of Christ, in the Middle Ages. They were seen as a cortege or court of honour accompanying the Christ-child. It was also said that three forms of martyrdom are represented: voluntary and executed (St. Stephen), voluntary but not executed (St John) and executed but not voluntary (The Holy Innocents).