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Catholic Activity: What Role Do the Apostles Have in the Liturgy?



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That the feasts of the apostles enjoy special significance in the liturgy is evident from their high rank; moreover, until 1955 they were introduced by a vigil, and in times past they had been holydays of obligation. The personal sanctity of the individual apostle commemorated, however, is not important; and ordinarily little is known of his life. Much more do we honor the office and dignity of apostleship and the apostolic college as such. For the apostles are the foundation stones of the Church. The liturgy distributes their feasts throughout the months of the year in order to indicate that they form the Church's foundation supports.


Accordingly, the unique significance of the twelve apostles lies in this, that they faithfully delivered to the Church the treasury of faith and Christian morality. Without the apostles we should have no trustworthy source of revealed truth. Even the Bible derives its authority from apostolic testimony. As members of the Church we ought to lovingly embrace the heritage of faith. The Church continues the mission of teaching which the apostles began as a witness to Christ. For in addition to taking the place of God when teaching and preaching, she holds the office of teaching and preaching given to the apostles. Christ brought to earth the revelation of the will and wisdom of God and entrusted it to the apostles; from their hands the Church receives it, guards it carefully, and applies it now to us Christians. Without the apostles a needed link between us and our Savior would be lacking.

Activity Source: Church's Year of Grace, Volumes 1-5 by Dr. Pius Parsch, The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota, 1964