FEAST DAY: July 25
DAY OF THE WEEK: Tuesday
CANDLE COLOR: Red
LEGEND: Son of Zebedee and Salome, brother of Saint John the Apostle, and may have been Jesus’ cousin. He is called “the Greater” simply because he became an Apostle before Saint James the Lesser. Apparent disciple of Saint John the Baptist. Fisherman. He left everything when Christ called him to be a fisher of men. Was present during most of the recorded miracles of Christ. Preached in Samaria, Judea, and Spain. First Apostle to be martyred.
The pilgrimage to his relics in Compostela became such a popular devotion that the symbols of pilgrims have become his emblems, and he became patron of pilgrims. His work in Spain, and the housing of his relics there, led to his patronage of the country and all things Spanish; for centuries, the Spanish army rode to battle with the cry “Santiago!” (“Saint James!”)
Like all men of renown, many stories grew up around James. In one, he brought back to life a boy who had been unjustly hanged, and had been dead for five weeks. The boy’s father was notified of the miracle while he sat at supper. The father pronounced the story nonsense, and said his son was no more alive than the roasted fowl on the table; the cooked bird promptly sat up, sprouted feathers, and flew away. Saint James the Greater was martyred in 44 at Jerusalem; stabbed with a sword by King Herod Agrippa; legend says his body was taken by angels, and sailed in a rudderless, unattended boat to Spain where a massive rock closed around it. This image is used in Haitian Vodou to represent the Loa Ogou Sen Jak Maje.
PEITION SAINT JAMES THE GREATER: to conquer your enemies, to clear away obstacles in your path, for justice.
PATRONAGE: against arthritis; against rheumatism; Altopascio, Lucca, Italy; Antigua, Guatemala; apothecaries; arthritis sufferers; diocese of Bangued, Philippines; blacksmiths; Chile; Compostela, Spain; druggists; equestrians; furriers; Galicia, Spain; Guatemala; Hettstedt, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany; horsemen; Jemez Indian Pueblo; knights; laborers; Loiza, Puerto Rico; Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina; Montreal, Canada; Nicaragua; pharmacists; pilgrims; Pistoia, Italy; rheumatoid sufferers; riders; Sahuayo, Mexico; archdiocese of Seattle, Washington; soldiers; Spain; Spanish conquistadors; tanners; Tesuque Indian Pueblo; veterinarians
REPRESENTATION: cockle shell; dark-bearded man holding a book; dark-bearded man holding a scroll; dark-bearded man holding a sword; dark-bearded man with a floppy pilgrim’s hat, long staff, water bottle, and scallop shell; elderly, bearded man wearing a hat with a scallop shell; key; man with shells around him; mounted on horseback, trampling a Moor; pilgrim with wallet and staff; pilgrim’s hat; pilgrim’s staff; scallop shell; sword
PRAYERS TO SAINT JAMES THE GREATER
O Glorious Saint James, because of your fervor and generosity Jesus chose you to witness his glory on the Mount and his agony in the Garden. Obtain for us strength and consolation in the unending struggles of this life. Help us to follow Christ constantly and generously, to be victors over all our difficulties, and to receive the crown of glory in heaven. Amen.