Among the sacred places venerated by Christians from ancient times, one of the most celebrated has always been the tomb of St. Peter, at Rome. The Emperor Constantine erected a splendid basilica over this tomb and another basilica on the Ostian Way at the place where St. Paul suffered martyrdom. Both were consecrated by St. Sylvester.
When the basilica of St. Peter was destroyed, it was rebuilt in a more imposing style and newly consecrated in 1626. The basilica of St. Paul, also destroyed by fire, was in turn rebuilt and newly consecrated by Pius IX in 1854, before an assemblage of Cardinals and Bishops who were in Rome to attend the ceremonies connected with the promulgation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.
The anniversaries of both dedications are united and form the object of today’s feast.
PRAYER: God, give apostolic protection to Your Church, so that as she received the first revelation about You from the Apostles she may also receive through them an increase of heavenly grace until the end of time. Amen.