John the Baptist

The feast of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist dates from the Fourth Century in both the East and West.  This feast is one of the oldest in the liturgy of the Church, which came to be celebrated in accord with Luke 1:36, six months before the Lord’s birth.

John was the son of Zechariah and Elizabeth, a cousin of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Tradition places the home and birthplace of the Baptist six miles west of Jerusalem, where a Franciscan church marks the site.

What is known of this Saint is set down in Holy Scripture.  He has always had a chief place in the veneration given by Holy Church to the heroic servants of God.

While the feast of other Saints is celebrated on the day of their death, the birthday of St. John the Baptist is his feast day.

St. Augustine found June 24, which is near the summer solstice, appropriate for after the birth of John daylight begins to grow shorter, whereas, after the birth of Jesus daylight begins to grow longer. (7:30)