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Acts of the Apostles 28: 16-20, 30-31
Psalm 11: 4, 5 & 7
John 21:20-25
Our first reading places St. Paul in Rome while under house arrest. We know by
tradition that he did not leave Rome, but was martyred in this city. Today, one
can visit the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Wall which was built over St. Paul˅s
tomb. And, it is within this church that Pope John XXIII surprised Cardinals gath-
ered for the final day of an Octive for Christian Unity with his announcement that
he was calling both an Ecumenical Council and a Synod in Rome. Pope John
XXIII made this announcement on January 25, 1962. And, the opening of Vatican
II was held in Rome on October 11, 1962.
It is no accident that on this day, May 26, the Church has chosen to memorialize
the contributions of St. Philip Neri. Not everyone is familiar with Philip Neri, but
he is a special favorite of mine. St. Philip Neri is a patron saint of pilgrims to
Rome. During his active ministry in Rome, St. Philip Neri encouraged many indi-
viduals on their spiritual journeys and he set up ˈOratoriesˉ to gather seekers and
to provide them with spiritual direction and op-
portunities for prayer and renewal. My favorite
Philip Neri story is how he sought to counteract
the temptations of Carnivale by gathering youth
to set out on a pilgrimage to visit the Seven
Pilgrim Churches of the city by foot. After
walking many miles throughout the day, the