A Prayer to Saint James the Apostle

Saint James the Greater, St. Peter's Cathedral, Rockford, Illinois. (Photo © Scott P. Richert)
A stained-glass window of Saint James the Greater, Apostle, in Saint Peter's Cathedral, Rockford, IL. Scott P. Richert

St. James the Apostle, sometimes referred to as St. James son of Zebedee or St. James the Greater in order to distinguish him from James son of Alphaeus and James the brother of Jesus, was one of the Twelve Apostles, and by tradition, he is considered the first Apostle to be martyred. He is the brother (probably older) of St. John the Evangelist. One of the first followers to join Jesus, James is thought to have been the eldest son from a family of relatively wealthy but uneducated fishermen.

Legend suggests he had a fiery temper and a direct, impulsive nature--which possibly lead to his execution by sword ordered by Herrod the King, in about 44 CE. He is the only apostle whose martyrdom is recorded in the New Testament.

St. James the Apostle is venerated by all Christians and is regarded as the patron saint of Spaniards. According to legend, St. James' remains are held in Santiago de Compostela, in Galicia, Spain.  Since the early medieval period, a traditional pilgrimage to St. James' grave has a been a popular act of devotion for Western European Catholics. As recently as 2014, more than 200,000 faithful completed the annual 100 km pilgrimage walk. 

In this prayer to Saint James the Apostle, the faithful ask for the strength to fight the good fight, as James did, in order to be worthy followers of Christ.

O glorious Apostle, St. James, who by reason of thy fervent and generous heart wast chosen by Jesus to be a witness of His glory on Mount Tabor, and of His agony in Gethsemane;

Thou, whose very name is a symbol of warfare and victory: obtain for us strength and consolation in the unending warfare of this life, that, having constantly and generously followed Jesus, we may be victors in the strife and deserve to receive the victor's crown in heaven. 

Amen.