Today is the old feast of St. Peter in Chains, a day that commemorates St. Peter’s miraculous escape from prison by the hand of an angel. He had been incarcerated by Herod Agrippa, who had already killed St. James the Greater and intended to bring St. Peter before the people also after Easter. But, as the Acts of the Apostles tells us, “prayer was made without ceasing by the church unto God for him”, and he was delivered by an angel who awoke him in the night, led him past the guards and out of prison.
Though no longer included in the general liturgical calendar, the feast of St. Peter in Chains is nonetheless an important day for the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter. The pilgrims who joined the Fraternity on our 30th Anniversary Pilgrimage to Rome last October visited the Basilica of St. Peter in Chains, where they were able to venerate the chains of St. Peter.
Also commemorated today are the seven Maccabees, the holy brothers who were tortured and killed before the eyes of their mother in the 2nd century before Christ for refusing to abandon the Jewish faith. Please pray today for the priests of our Fraternity, that, through the intercession of our patron St. Peter and the holy Maccabees, we may ever possess the same fortitude and love for the Faith that enabled them to endure all things for its sake. +
And Peter coming to himself, said: Now I know in very deed, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.
– from the Epistle for the feast of St. Peter in Chains