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The Twelve Apostles

Jesus chose twelve disciples at the beginning of his public ministry:
Andrew (the Protoclete)
James (the 'Greater')      
John (the Evangelist)      
James (the 'Less')
Matthew (the tax collector & Evangelist)      
Thomas (the twin)      
Bartholomew (aka Nathaniel)      
Jude and

Also included in the list here is Matthias (who replaced Judas as 1 of the 12).

In 2006 Pope Benedict XVI gave a short series of catecheses on the relationship of Jesus and His Church before speaking in his Wednesday audiences about Jesus' 12 apostles individually.

3 2us by Father Ian Kelly      

"There is a truth, I believe, in saying that the secret of Peter, Andrew, James and John was that they trusted the one who called them. It wasn't that they believed that they had all the answers themselves; no, because later in their following of Jesus, they would make mistakes, Peter would betray Him, and yet what carried them through to the end was that ability to trust. If we are to make commitment, if we are not to be mere historians of what might have been in our own lives, there does come a point when we hear the invitation 'Follow me' and we dare to trust the One who issues the invitation. In the words of good Pope John Paul II, 'Let us arise. Let us move forward in hope.'"

St John Chrysostom - homily on 1 Corinthians 4, 3:

"St Paul said: “The weakness of God is stronger than all men” (1 Cor 1, 25). It is clear from this too that the gospel is divine. For whence did it strike twelve unlettered men to attempt such great enterprises, men who were living in marshes, or rivers, in desert places, who had never perhaps gone into a city or the public square? Whence did it strike them to array themselves against the whole world? That they were cowardly and unmanly, he who has written about them shows, inasmuch as he does not even deprecate nor try to gloss over their failings. This in itself is a powerful proof of the truth. What then does this man say about them? That after the innumerable miracles they had seen Christ work, when he was taken prisoner some fled, while the one who remained, although he was head over the rest, denied him.

Here were men who failed to stand up to the Jews when Christ was alive. Yet when he died and was buried they arrayed themselves against the whole world… Would they not have said to themselves: “What is this? He had not strength to save himself, will he protect us?” He did not defend himself when he was alive; will he reach out his hand to us now he is dead? When he was alive he did not conquer a single nation — shall we convince the whole world by speaking his name?”… Hence it is clear that, if they had not seen him risen and received this mighty proof of his power, they would never have risked such a gamble."