The Nativity of John the Baptist
It is common for the Catholic Church to celebrate the feast day of a saint on or near their date of death, as it marks the end of their earthly pilgrimage and their triumphal entry into heaven. There are only three people whose birthdays are also celebrated by the Church with a special feast — our Lord (Dec 25), our Lady (Sept 8), and St. John the Baptist (June 24). The Nativity of St. John the Baptist is also one of the few solemnities that are observed even if it falls on a Sunday, as it does this year — ordinarily Sundays of the year supersede other commemorations. Both of these facts speak to the unique role St. John the Baptist plays in salvation history.