Today is the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle. He is the patron of fishermen, singers, unmarried women, and women who wish to become mothers.
St. Andrew, son of Jonah, was the brother of the Apostle Peter, and like his brother, was born at Bethsaida in Galilee. He was a disciple of John the Baptist and became the first to follow Jesus. A fisherman like St. Peter, Saint Andrew first introduced Saint Peter to Christ. Both occupied the same house at Capharnaum.
At first the two brothers continued to carry on their fishing trade and family affairs, but later, the Lord called them to stay with Him all the time. He promised to make them fishers of men, and this time, they left their nets for good.
As one of the Twelve Apostles, Andrew was very close to Our Lord during His public life; he was present at the Last Supper; beheld the risen Lord; witnessed the Ascension; shared in the graces and gifts of the first Pentecost, and helped, amid threats and persecution, to establish the Faith in Palestine. After Our Lord ascended into Heaven, St. Andrew went to Greece to preach the gospel.
He was crucified by order of the Roman Governor at Patras in southern Greece on a cross to which he was tied, not nailed. Tradition states that he requested to be crucified on a saltire or “x”-shaped cross, as he considered himself unworthy to be crucified on the same type of cross as Jesus had been. This type of cross has long been known as “St. Andrew’s cross.” He was martyred during the reign of Nero, on November 30, 60 A.D.
St. Andrew’s relics were transferred from Patras to Constantinople, and deposited in the church of the Apostles there, about 357 A.D. When Constantinople was taken by the French, in the beginning of the thirteenth century, Cardinal Peter of Capua brought the relics to Italy and placed them in the cathedral of Amalfi, where most of them still remain.
Although little is mentioned in the Book of Acts regarding the life of St. Andrew, much can be learned through St. Andrew’s life. He and Saint Peter gave up their lifelong careers and lifestyles, leaving everything behind, to follow Jesus. Their undying faith in a difficult world is an inspiration to all Christians.
Beginning today, Novena 30, the Christmas Anticipatory Prayer, also known as “St. Andrew’s Christmas Novena” (Hail and Blessed be the hour…) is prayed every day until Christmas.