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St. James, Apostle (July 25)

St. James, the brother of St. John the Apostle, was also known as St. James the Greater in order to distinguish himself from the St. James the Less (who was younger). James, a fisherman by trade, was born at Bethsaida in Galilee. One day, he and John were fishing with their father Zebedee when they were approached by Jesus. Jesus called them to become His disciples and they obeyed. Leaving their fishing nets and father behind, James and John accompanied Jesus on His mission. Jesus called James & John "Sons of Thunder," because they were so energetic and impetuous. Once they were received poorly by a Samaritan town and they asked Jesus if He wanted to draw down fire from Heaven upon the place. Jesus had to rebuke them.

James was with Peter and John at the raising of Jairus' daughter from the dead, witnessed the Transfiguration of Jesus, and accompanied Our Lord during the Agony in Gethsemane. Tradition says that he journeyed to Spain to preach the Gospel. He is honored today at the great shrine of Santiago de Compostela. He was the first of the apostles to die for Christ and was beheaded at Palestine in the year 42 by King Herod Agrippa I.