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Saturday 24 July |
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And today we celebrate...Saint of the Day

The Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul

“These two men were 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.

For prayer and reflection

We celebrate together two very different individuals: Peter, a fisherman who spent his days amid boats and nets, and Paul, a learned Pharisee who taught in synagogues. When they went forth on mission, Peter spoke to Jews, and Paul to pagans. And when their paths crossed, they could argue heatedly, as Paul is unashamed to admit in one of his letters (cf. Galatians 2:11). In short, they were two very different people, yet they saw one another as brothers… Yet the closeness that joined Peter and Paul did not come from natural inclinations, but from the Lord. He did not command us to like one another, but to love one another. He is the one who unites us, without making us all alike. He unites us in our differences.”—Pope Francis

Spiritual bonus

On June 29, we also remember Saint Magdalena du Fengju, a wife and mother, and her daughter, Saint Maria du Tianshi. The two were martyred together in Du, Shenzhou, Hebei, China on June 29, 1900, during the anti-Christian persecutions of the Boxer Rebellion. They were canonized with other Chinese martyrs in 2000.

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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