St. Peter suffered martyrdom under Nero, in A.D. 66 or 67. He was buried on the hill of the Vatican where recent excavations have revealed his tomb on the very site of the basilica of St. Peter's. St. Paul was beheaded in the via Ostia on the spot where now stands the basilica bearing his name. Down the centuries Christian people in their thousands have gone on pilgrimage to the tombs of these Apostles. In the second and third centuries the Roman Church already stood pre-eminent by reason of her apostolicity, the infallible truth of her teaching and her two great figures, Sts. Peter and Paul.
Continue reading about the feast over at Catholic Culture.
On the same day, Pope Benedict will celebrate Mass at St Peter's and impose the pallium on the newly created metropolitan archbishops gathered in Rome for the occassion. The pallium is an ecclesiastical vestment originally peculiar to the Pope, but for many centuries bestowed by the Pope on metropolitans and primates as a symbol of the jurisdiction delegated to them by the Holy See. The pallium is a narrow band, "three fingers broad", woven of white lamb's wool from sheep raised by Trappist monks, with a loop in the centre resting on the shoulders over the vestments of an archbishop and two dependent lappets, before and behind; so that when seen from front or back the ornament resembles the letter Y
Pope Benedict will also celebrate (with his older brother Georg) the occassion of his 60th anniversary of priestly ordination.
Over at News.Va, a reflection on the occassion taken from this weeks edition of the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano about the celebration for the Ratzinger brothers who were ordained together - The most important moment of my life - Sixty years ago, 29 June 1951, Joseph Ratzinger was ordained a priest