by Margaux Salcedo
Siblings Sts. Lazarus, Martha and Mary will now have a combined feast day: July 29.
A decree from the Congregation for Divine Worship said on Feb. 2 that Pope Francis had included the three saints in the General Roman Calendar “considering the important evangelical witness they offered in welcoming the Lord Jesus into their home, in listening to him attentively, in believing that he is the resurrection and the life.”
The General Roman Calendar is the liturgical calendar of the Catholic Church, which denotes the dates of holy days and the feast days of saints commemorated annually.
The memorial of St. Martha was already included on Jan. 29 in the General Roman Calendar before the Second Vatican Council, but St. Lazarus and St. Mary had been originally left off due to uncertainty about the identity of Mary Magdalene.
The decree explained that these uncertainties “have been resolved in recent studies and times,” and pointed out that Mary and Lazarus are already commemorated on July 29 in the Roman Martyrology, the Church’s official catalog of martyrs and saints.
Sts. Martha, Mary, and Lazarus were three siblings living in the town of Bethany outside of Jerusalem during the time of Christ.
The pope’s decree added that “in the household of Bethany the Lord Jesus experienced the family spirit and friendship of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, and for this reason, the Gospel of John states that he loved them.”