On May 1-3, 2023, the annual celebration of the Solemnity of Saints Philip and James, Apostles, took place at the Basilica of the Twelve Holy Apostles. Philip and James are the patron saints of the basilica. Our confrere, the Most Reverend César ESSAYAN, Vicar Apostolic of Beirut, Lebanon, preached each day.
In his homilies, Bishop ESSAYAN commented on the words of the Apostles Philip and James and applied them to the current situation in Lebanon and the desire of the Lebanese people to see God’s face during this time of darkness and disorientation. Another important moment during the event was a concert of Chaldean music organized by the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music. The concert took place after the Mass on Tuesday, May 2, before a large audience. Many brothers from the Eastern Churches in Rome attended. On Wednesday, May 3, the actual feast day, the basilica hosted an uninterrupted flow of pilgrims who came to venerate the relics of the holy Apostles. Some relics were on view in the crypt and others were placed on the main altar, including a glass case containing the foot of Phillip and part of the femur belonging to James. Many religious and secular priests concelebrated at the Mass, along with some friars from the General Houses.
At the end of Mass, the Pastor, Friar Francesco CELESTINO, thanked the bishop for his presence and for his moving testimony. He also thanked the “Cappella Musicale Costantiniana” choir and its director, Friar Robert CALLEJA, for the excellent music they provided. In addition, he thanked the Master of Ceremonies, Friar Valdo Raimundo NOGUEIRA and the student friars of the Seraphicum College for their excellent liturgical service, and all the rest who, in various ways, contributed to the success of the celebrations. On the final evening, refreshments were served next door in the Immaculate Conception Hall. It was a wonderful time of cordial fraternity between the friars of the General Houses, religious, members of the choir and other faithful.
Friar Maurizio DI PAOLO