On May 3, 2021, Philip and James the Lesser, Apostles and Patron Saints of Rome’s Basilica of the Twelve Holy Apostles, were solemnly commemorated in the basilica on their liturgical feast day.

The Most Reverend Friar Marco TASCA presided over his first Mass at the Order’s titular church since he became Archbishop of Genoa. Those concelebrating included the Most Reverend Friar Dominique MATHIEU, Archbishop of Teheran-Ispahan, Iran; the Minister General, Friar Carlos A. TROVARELLI; the Pastor of the basilica, Friar Agnello STOIA and the Guardian of the Friary of the Twelve Holy Apostles, Friar Francesco CELESTINO. At the beginning of the celebration, the Guardian addressed some words of welcome to the other Guardians of the General Houses in Rome, to the Dean of the Pontifical Theological Faculty of St. Bonaventure (Seraphicum), to the Rector of the Seraphicum, to all the confreres present and, in particular, to Friar Marco, wishing him success in his mission serving as teacher and pastor in his diocese.
The very solemn Mass was animated by the basilica’s Constantinian Chapel Choir, under the direction of Friar Gennaro BECCHIMANZI. The music was enhanced by a trumpet player and by Friar Mark FOLGER who played the tin whistle. The balustrades of the basilica’s confessio were decorated with beautiful floral arrangements that featured pomegranates, symbols of the sacrifice of the Martyr-Apostles and the resurrection of the Lord. The clerical students of the Seraphicum provided liturgical service, under the guidance of Friar Maurizio DI PAOLO. Their service made the solemn liturgy even more dignified and gave it a graceful rhythm. Others attending the celebration included numerous priests, men and women religious, and the people of God, all seated in keeping with the capacity regulations imposed by the ongoing pandemic. During his homily, Friar Marco commented in particular on the words that Philip addressed to Jesus, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” In fact, “Ostende nobis Patrem” is the motto of Friar Marco’s episcopal coat of arms! The generous gift of a chalice was brought up during the offertory. The chalice, dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, St. James and St. Philip, was crafted by silversmith Benedetto GELARDI of Palermo, Italy. It was presented alongside a basket containing seven loaves and two fish, which was brought up to the altar by the Coordinator of the Listening Center of the parish Caritas [local charity organization] At the end of the Mass, the Pastor, Friar Agnello, explained what those symbols meant. He also announced the conclusion of his pastoral ministry at the Twelve Holy Apostles, since the Minister General is returning him to his home Province of the Seraphic Father St. Francis in Italy (Naples) under the obedience of his Minister Provincial, Friar Cosimo ANTONINO.

Friar Agnello STOIA