Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Feast Day of Sts. Peter and Paul

Today is the celebration of those great saints and martyrs, St. Peter and St. Paul.  Both ended their earthly journeys in Rome.  Both were martyred for the Faith there. 

St. Peter, of course, had a special commission from our Lord Jesus to be the shepherd of His flock (Jn 21:15-17); Our Lord changed his name from Simon to Rock (Peter) and built His Church upon him; He was given the Keys of the Kingdom (Mt 16:13-19) a privilege afforded only to the king's right hand man; and divine grace allowed him to be the first of the apostles to confess Christ's divinity (Mt 16:13-19).  He was martyred under the persecution of Caesar Nero in about 64 AD.  Tradition tells us that he was hung upside down by request, as he did not feel worthy to be martyred in the same way as His Lord and Saviour had been.  His bones have been discovered very near the spot tradition said his tomb was under St. Peter's basilica in Rome.  My son is named for St. Peter and his birthday happens to be tomorrow, the day after St. Peter's Feast day.  Happy birthday, Piers!

St. Paul was especially chosen by Christ on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-16).  He was chose to spread the Gospel to the gentiles (Gal 1:11-20).  He is the considered the greatest missionary of all time, spreading the Gospel to the gentiles in Western Asia and Southeastern Europe.  St. Paul was beheaded, also during the persecution of Nero, and is buried under the basilica that bears his name in Rome.

God our Father,
today you give us the joy
of celebrating the feast of the apostles Peter and Paul.
Through them your Church first received the faith.
Keep us true to their teachings.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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