Peter and Paul are the two “pillars” on which the Church of Rome is founded. Their deaths are not recorded in the Scriptures, but legend says that they both died near Rome within a few years of each other. The Basilica of St. Peter is built on the traditional site where Peter was crucified upside-down on the Vatican Hill, and the Basilica of St. Paul-outside-the-Walls marks the traditional spot where Paul, as a Roman citizen, was beheaded rather than crucified. As with the Nativity of John the Baptist, the importance of this solemnity is marked by an additional set of texts for a vigil Mass.

Readings of the Vigil
Acts 3:1–10. All power in the apostles’ ministry comes from Jesus.

Psalm of the Vigil: Ps (18) 19
The first part of this psalm, praising the God of creation, is applied in Christian imagery to the apostles who preached the message to the whole world.

The Message Goes Out (Chepponis/Gelineau) WOR 1036/RS 39
Their Message Goes Out (Guimont) G3 1201
Their Message Goes Out (Phillips) PC6 74
Their Message Goes Out (Ward) OIF 1142/PRM B110/SMM2 51‑52

Galatians 1:11–20. Like the prophets before him, Paul was chosen by God from his mother’s womb. His message, like his mission, comes from God.

John 21:15–19. Early tradition associated the threefold affirmation of love in this reading with Peter’s threefold denial of Jesus before his death.

Songs for the Vigil
See the suggestions for Songs for the Day.

Readings of the Day
Acts 12:1–11. Though Peter might have died in Jerusalem, when Herod killed James, God had other plans for him, so he was set free by divine intervention to continue his mission.

Psalm of the Day: Ps (33) 34
The psalmist sings in thanksgiving and invites the just to join in the song.

The Angel of the Lord (Guimont) G3 1202
The Angel of the Lord (Hughes) OIF 1143/PRM B111
The Angel of the Lord (Hughes/Gelineau) WOR 1037/RS 73
The Angel of the Lord (Hughes/Waddell) CBW 221
The Angel of the Lord (Kraehenbuehl) SMM2 53
The Angel of the Lord (Tate) WC 432
The Lord Set Me Free (Hytrek) PC6 76

2 Timothy 4:6–8, 17–18. At the end of his life, Paul reflects on his ministry, blessed by the Lord’s presence, and on his future: “The crown of righteousness awaits me.”

Matthew 16:13–19. Simon recognizes Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus sees in this affirmation the work of the Father, so he appoints Simon as the foundation on which the church will be built. (“Petros”—the Greek word for “rock”—became Simon’s nickname: Simon Peter. It’s like calling someone “Rocky.”)

Songs for the Vigil and for the Day’s Liturgy

Apostles of Our Ancient Faith (VPs,DG) CBW 486
As a Fire Is Meant for Burning (V1,V2,VG) RS 779/GC 663/GC2 643/G3 744
By All Your Saints Still Striving--special vss for Jan 25, Feb 22, and June 29 WC 962/WOR 706/RS 887/OIF 898
By Gracious Powers (D1,D2) WOR 577
Christ's Church Shall Glory (V1,V2,VG,DG) WOR 616/RS 777
*Church of God, v 2 (DG) RS 783/GP 45/GC 664/CBW 581/JS 686/MI‑BB
Church of God, Elect and Glorious OIF 663
Faith of Our Fathers, vss 1‑2 (D1,D2) WOR 571/RS 726/GC 600/GC2 579/G3 677/CBW 446/OIF 733/WC 819/JS 380/MI‑BB/WS 545
*Go, v 2 (VG) LMGM 66/RS 604/OIF 819/GC 454/WC 891/WS
God, We Praise You WOR 535/RS 676/WC 907/OIF 838
Great Is the Lord (VPs,V2) GC 684/JS 144
How Shall They Hear the Word of God (V1,V2,VG) WOR 629
*If You Belong to Me (VG) JS 350/MI-BB
Let All on Earth Their Voices Raise (V1,V2) WOR 716/CBW 452
Lord, You Give the Great Commission (V1,V2,VG,D1,D2,DG) WOR 470/RS 607/GC 456/CBW 691/OIF 668/WC 763/GC2 466/G3 544/JS 381/MI‑BB/WS
Now We Remain (VG,D2) RS 813/GC 694/GC2 696/G3 785/WC 652/MI‑BB/WS
O Christ, the Great Foundation (DG) WOR 618/RS 781, 782/CBW 527
Only This I Want (D2) GC2 701/G3 782/GP 183/CBW 516/MI‑BB
Out of Darkness—Walker (VPs) JS 390/GC 689/MI‑BB
Take Up Your Cross (VG,D1,D2) WOR 634/CBW 353/LMGM 50/MI-BB/OIF 679/RS 808/GC 698/GC2 690/G3 787/WC 768/JS 253/WS
The Church’s One Foundation (DG) CBW 526/GC 661/G3 742/JS 455/GP 573/OIF 671/WC 764/WS/MI-BB
*The Love of the Lord (V1,D1,D2) RS 814/GC 702/GC2 680/G3 792
Two Noble Saints (VG) WOR 699/RS 880d
Wherever He Leads (VG,D1,D2) LMGM 50/RS 810
Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones WOR 707/RS 886/GC 794/GC2 790/G3 882/OIF 900/WC 966/JS 465/MI‑BB/WS
Your Word Went Forth (VPs) RS 655