Six months to Boxing Day... exactly half a year before the feast of St Stephen, Protomartyr, first of that white-robed army of those who bore witness to Our Lord usque ad mortem, in sincerest imitation of Him Who is the True and Faithful Witness, Who shed His Blood to save us all.
Fittingly, to-day is the feast of SS John and Paul, themselves holy Martyrs of Christ; last year on this feast I blogged a deal about them, but this year I wish to focus on their Collect, and also in passing to rejoice that I will, God willing, be in Rome come September staying not far at all from their church, the ancient basilica of Santi Giovanni e Paolo al Celio ("on the Caelian Hill"), where these brothers repose awaiting the Last Trump. (Very pleasingly, given the benefits I have received from the Passionist Fathers in their ministry in Hobart, it turns out that it is their Congregation that has charge of the basilica, and indeed their founder, St Paul of the Cross, is also buried therein.) There is a link to St Stephen, too: for another church on the Caelian is that of San Stefano Rotondo.
As to their Collect:
Quaesumus, omnipotens Deus, ut nos geminata laetitia hodierna festivitatis excipiat, quae de beatorum Joannis et Pauli glorificatione procedit, quos eadem fides et passio vere fecit esse germanos. Per...(We beg, almighty God, that we obtain the twofold joy of today's feast, which proceeds from the glorification of blessed John and Paul, who were made true brothers by their joint faith and suffering. Through...)