St. Bartholomew the Apostle
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St. Bartholomew, by Rembrandt

St. Bartholomew is the patron of our parish, 
his feast day is

August 24th


Who is St. Bartholomew?

He is one of the Twelve Apostles (cf. Mt 10: 3; Mk 3: 18; Lk 6: 14; Acts 1: 13). He has traditionally been identified with Nathanael. This Nathanael came from Cana (cf. Jn 21: 2) and he may therefore have witnessed the great "sign" that Jesus worked at the wedding in that place (cf. Jn 2: 1-11). Philip told this Nathanael that he had found "him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph" (Jn 1: 45). Nathanael retorted: "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" (Jn 1: 46). Jesus was not exclusively "from Nazareth" but was born in Bethlehem (cf. Mt 2: 1; Lk 2: 4) and came ultimately from Heaven, from the Father who is in Heaven. Philip offers Nathanael a meaningful invitation: "Come and see!" (Jn 1: 46).

When Jesus sees Nathanael approaching, he exclaims: "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no guile!" (Jn 1: 47). This provokes the curiosity of Nathanael who answers in amazement: "How do you know me?" (Jn 1: 48). Jesus says: "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you" (Jn 1: 48). We do not know what had happened under this fig tree. It had to do with a decisive moment in Nathanael's life. His heart is moved by Jesus' words, he feels understood: "This man knows everything about me, he knows and is familiar with the road of life; I can truly trust this man". And so he answers with a clear and beautiful confession of faith: "Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!" (Jn 1: 49). This confession is the first step in the journey of attachment to Jesus.

According to information handed down by Eusebius, the fourth-century historian, a certain Pantaenus is supposed to have discovered traces of Bartholomew's presence even in India (cf. Hist. eccl. V, 10, 3). In later tradition, as from the Middle Ages, the account of his death by flaying became very popular. Only think of the famous scene of the Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel in which Michelangelo painted St Bartholomew, who is holding his own skin in his left hand, on which the artist left his self-portrait. Here at our parish, we too have a portrait of St Bartholomew displayed in the narthex of the church. 
 
              

               This picture was donated by Dr. Patrick Di Iorio.

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