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Posted on Jun 20, 2016 |

ICF Spotlight: Solemnity of St. John the Baptist

ICF Spotlight: Solemnity of St. John the Baptist


The Naming of John the Baptist, painted by Br. Guido de Pietro, OP, ("Fra Angelico") circa 1434-35.

The Naming of John the Baptist, painted by Br. Guido de Pietro, OP, (“Fra Angelico”) circa 1434-35.


Friday is the Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. From the Institute for Christian Formation: 

On June 24, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist.  This feast day is significant in that it is one of only three births (or nativities) celebrated during the Roman Catholic liturgical year…

…John the Baptist’s Nativity is celebrated as a solemnity.  A solemnity is our highest ranking feast day.  And it is not only Roman Catholics who celebrate John’s birth.  Other Christian denominations such as Anglican/Episcopal, Lutheran, Orthodox, etc., also celebrate the birth of John the Baptist.  And this feast day is not a new addition to the Church’s Calendar by any means.  The nativity of John the Baptist has been celebrated in both the East and the West from the 4th century!

The Solemnity of Saint John the Baptist is sometimes called the Midsummer Nativity.  And being a solemnity, it has a vigil on June 23, which is sometimes referred to as Midsummer’s Eve.  The Midsummer Nativity and its vigil, Midsummer’s Eve, have been celebrated around the world for centuries and centuries.  One predominant way of celebrating is with a bonfire.  We keep the longest day of the year with raging all night bonfires, keeping even the nighttime bright! And John being the Baptist, water is also featured in many celebrations. 


Click here for the ICF’s page on St. John the Baptist to learn more about some of the many traditions from around the world celebrating his birth, download a story and Scripture Search activity, and find much more information on how you can celebrate this feast in your own parish or home.

The Cincinnati-based Institute for Christian Formation, Inc. (ICF) helps Catholics celebrate and hand on the faith through “full-immersion Catholicism” — by connecting them with the liturgical calendar, Scripture, and sacraments. The ICF’s daily social media posts, printable materials, and website help families, parishes, schools, small groups, and individuals live their faith the way Catholics have always lived it: through the Church’s authentic feasts, gestures and devotions, rituals, and prayers. The non-profit ICF focuses on assisting the faithful in fully immersing themselves in the feasts and seasons of the Church Year, as well as daily prayer and rituals.

Look for posts from the IFC’s vault here every Monday; “like” them on Facebook for regular updates on Catholic saints, traditions, links, daily readings, and more; and see their website for online and downloadable materials on traditional saint day recipes and celebrations, liturgical seasons, and other resources.

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