January 5, 2006: The Twelfth Day of Christmas and Feast Day for Pope Telesphorus and Bishop John Neumann
On the left, you see Pope Telephorus, and on the right, you see Bishop John Neumann.
According to Wikipedia, Pope Telesphorus reigned as pope from about 126 to 137 and is traditionally credited with instituting the performance of the Christmas midnight mass, the celebration of Easter on Sundays, the keeping of a seven-week Lent leading up to Easter, and the singing of the Gloria.
Historians are skeptical of these claims -- probably due to lack of early documentation since that's the usual reason cited by historians.
He is also said, by Irenaeus (Adv. hæreses, III, iii, 3), to have died as a martyr, a claim that historians would judge more credible since Irenaeus lived from 130 to 202 and was therefore writing much nearer to the event.
As for Bishop John Neumann -- also known (according to Wikipedia) as John Nepomucene Neumann, Johannes Nepomuk Neumann, and Jan Nepomuk Neumann -- he was born in Prachatice, Bohemia on March 28, 1811 to a Bavarian father and Czech mother and emigrated as a young man to America, where he worked as a priest until the age of 48, when he collapsed and died in a Philadelphia street on January 5, 1860 -- reportedly of "apoplexy," according to this artist's website, but it gets his age wrong, so take that 'fact' with a grain of salt as you watch Neumann emerge from the artist's woodwork.
Neumann has a couple of firsts to his credit. He was the first Redemptorist in America, and he is (so far) the first American citizen to have achieved sainthood.
For those who like to see such things, his shrine can be found in Philadelphia, at Saint Peter's Church, where you can actually look at his body on display as a relic beneath the main altar inside a glass case. As such, according to the website's homepage, he is "a saint who remains an active member" of St. Peter's. By "active" is perhaps meant his continued working of miracles, which the Saint's Body/Relics page discusses ... albeit a bit hesitantly.
According to the Vatican's website, Neumann was canonized on Sunday, June 19, 1977. For more on his life, including some images, see this webpage at the website of the Mission Church in Boston.
And thus winds down Gypsy Scholar's twelfth day of Christmas ... as we lift one last glass or two ...