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How the Vatican will celebrate Sts Peter and Paul

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29 June marks the feast of Sts Peter and Paul, when both of these apostles were martyred in Rome by Emperor Nero. As the two patron saints of the city, celebrations ensue each year.

On their feast day Pope Francis will preside over a Mass at St Peter’s Basilica at 9.30am. Last year, he used his homily to speak of St Peter’s courageous “yes” to following Jesus.

“It is by following the Lord that we learn about him every day,” he said.

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“It is by becoming his disciples and accepting his word that we become his friends and experience his transforming love. That ‘immediacy’ is important for us as well.

“If we put off so many things in life, following Jesus cannot be one of them. There, we cannot hesitate. We cannot make excuses.”

At this Mass, the pope usually blesses the pallia of the metropolitan archbishops appointed over the last year. And the statue of St Peter will be dressed in solemn pontifical vestments, which only happens two days each year.

On this day, the street leading up to St Peter’s Square is often decorated with designs made of flower petals. And after the sun goes down, a fireworks display can be seen near the Vatican, over Castel Sant’Angelo.

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