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The Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul

"They were as one"

Public Domain

Apostles: First Century

Their story

+ Simon, who was later given the name “Peter,” was a fisherman from Galilee.

+ Peter often acted as the spokesman of the Twelve and is especially remembered for his great statement of faith: “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.” To this, Jesus responded that Peter was the “Rock” upon which Jesus would build the Church (cf. Matthew 16:17-19).

+ After the Resurrection of Jesus, Peter’s triple denial of Jesus is forgiven when Peter testifies to his love of Jesus three times (cf. John 21:15-17).

+ Following Pentecost, Peter was a leader of the Christian community in Jerusalem and eventually made his way to Antioch where, according to tradition, he served as bishop. Peter eventually made his way to Rome and was executed there around the year 64.

+ Saul of Tarsus was a faithful Jew who took part in the early persecution of the Church in Jerusalem. Following a spiritual encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus, Saul, now called Paul, became a missionary in largely non-Jewish regions. Assisted by Barnabas, Silas, Luke, Timothy, and others, Paul’s missionary journeys took him throughout the Middle East and into Asia and Europe.

+ Paul and Peter took part in the “Council of Jerusalem” which settled questions about receiving non-Jewish believers into the Church.

+ According to ancient tradition, Paul was beheaded in Rome around the year 64.

Quote

“Both apostles share the same feast day, for these two men were one and even though they suffered on different days, they were as one.”—Saint Augustine of Hippo

The Saints in Art

Saint Peter is most often depicted holding a set of keys, representing the “keys to the Kingdom of Heaven,” entrusted to him by Jesus. Saint Paul is generally depicted holding a scroll or book symbolizing his many letters and holding a sword, a symbol of his martyrdom.

Prayer

Grant, we pray, O Lord our God,
that we may be sustained
by the intercession of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul,
that, as through them you gave your Church
the foundations of her heavenly office,
so through them you may help her to eternal salvation.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(from The Roman Missal)

~

Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.

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