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29 June, 24

Who were St. Peter and St. Paul's feast day on June 29?

As we do every June 29, we celebrate the Solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul. On this day we remember the Christian virtues of two of the greatest witnesses of Jesus Christ, defenders and disseminators of the teachings of the Gospel. Founders of the Church of Rome.

St. Peter and St. Paul, experienced the love of Christ "who healed them and set them free and, because of this, they became apostles and ministers of liberation for others." Pope Francis, 2021.

The Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul commemorates the martyrdom of Simon Peter and Paul of Tarsus, two of the apostles who accompanied Jesus Christ in his evangelizing mission.

Peter, chosen by Christ to be the rock of the Church: "You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church". (Mt 16:16). He humbly accepted his mission until his death as a martyr. His tomb in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican is a goal of pilgrimage for thousands of Christians who visit from all over the world.

Paul, a persecutor of Christians who became an apostle, is a model of a fervent evangelizer for all Catholics. After meeting Jesus, he gave himself unreservedly to the cause of the Gospel.

In his 2012 homily for the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Benedict XVI called these two apostles "principal patrons of the Church of Rome."

"Christian tradition has always considered St. Peter and St. Paul inseparable: together, in fact, they represent the whole Gospel of Christ," he said.

St. Peter and St. Paul: founders of the Church of Rome

After the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ, Peter humbly assumed the headship of the Church, led the apostles and took charge of keeping the true faith alive.

Paul, after his encounter with Christ, continued on to Damascus where he was baptized and regained his sight. He is recognized as the apostle of the Gentiles and spent the rest of his life preaching the Gospel tirelessly to the nations of the Mediterranean Sea.

Solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul - Apostle St. Peter - Apostle St. Paul - CARF

Statue of St. Peter the Apostle, located on the right side of the central nave of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican.

Who was St. Peter and what was entrusted to him?

St. Peter was one of Jesus' twelve apostles. He was a fisherman and Jesus called him to be a fisher of men, to make known the love of God and his message of salvation. Peter accepted and followed Jesus.

His name was Simon; Jesus called him Cephas, "stone" and told him that he would be the stone on which he would build his Church. That is why we know him as Peter.

The apostle Peter lived very important moments with Jesus:

  • He witnessed the Transfiguration of the Lord.
  • He saw Jesus when he walked on the water. He himself tried it, but because he was suspicious he almost drowned.
  • He was present when Jesus was seized and defended him from the soldiers.
  • He denied Jesus three times, for fear of the Jews, and later repented of doing so.
  • Witnessed the Resurrection of Jesus.
  •  Jesus, after his resurrection, asked him three times if he loved him and all three times he answered yes. Jesus then confirmed his mission as supreme head of the Church.
  • She was present when Jesus ascended to heaven at the Ascension and remained faithful in prayer waiting for the Holy Spirit.
  •  Received the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost and, with the strength and courage he gave him, he began his preaching of the message of Jesus.
  • He performed many miracles in the name of Jesus.

After receiving the gifts of the Holy Spirit, he moved from Jerusalem to Antioch and founded his Christian community. Later, he traveled to Rome where he continued his work.

He humbly accepted his mission until his death as a martyr. Peter asked to be crucified upside down, because he did not feel worthy to die like Jesus.

He was buried on the Vatican Hill, near the place of his martyrdom. St. Peter's Basilica, the center of Christianity, was built there.

In the Acts of the Apostles, several public feats and miracles of St. Peter as the first head of the Church are narrated.

The Institution of the Papacy

Peter was the first Pope of the Catholic Church. Jesus gave him the keys of the Kingdom and charged him with caring for his Church, caring for his flock. The Pope's mission is, above all, the work of a father who watches over his children.

The Pope is Christ's representative in the world and is the visible head of the Church. He is the shepherd of the Church, he directs it and holds it together.

He is assisted by the Holy Spirit, who acts directly upon him, sanctifies him and helps him with his gifts to guide and strengthen the Church by his example and word.

The Pope has the mission to teach, sanctify and govern the Church and we, as Christians, must love him for who he is and what he represents.

What does the life of St. Peter the Apostle teach us?

St. Peter teaches us to surrender weakness to God. Cause, despite human weakness, God loves us and calls us to holiness. Every Christian should work and ask God to help him to reach his holiness.

To be a good Christian we must strive to be holy every day. St. Peter specifically tells us: "Be holy in your conduct as he who called you is holy". (I Peter, 1:15).

It also teaches us that the Holy Spirit can work wonders in an ordinary man. It can make him capable of overcoming the greatest obstacles.

Solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul - Apostle St. Peter - Apostle St. Paul - CARF

Statue of St. Paul the Apostle, next to St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican.

Who was St. Paul and what was entrusted to him?

A Jew by race, a Greek by education and a Roman citizen. He was born in the city of Tarsus. And he studied in the best schools of Jerusalem.

His Hebrew name was Saul and he was an enemy of the Christian religion. He was committed to his Jewish faith. That is why he dedicated himself to persecute the Christians of Damascus.

On the road to Damascus, there appeared to him Jesus, In the midst of a great radiance, he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him: "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? With this phrase, Paul understood that in persecuting Christians he was persecuting Christ himself.

Then Saul got up from the ground and could see nothing. They took him to Damascus, and there Ananias, obeying Jesus, caused Saul to regain his sight, get up and be baptized.

It was then that Saul changed his name to Paul and began to preach the word of Jesus. He traveled to Jerusalem to place himself under the orders of St. Peter.

He carried the Gospel throughout the Mediterranean world. His work was not easy. He made four great apostolic journeys to bring the message of salvation to all people, creating new Christian communities wherever he went and teaching and supporting existing communities.

Paul's conversion was total. He understood very well the meaning of being an apostle and of apostolating the Christian message. He was faithful to the call that Jesus made to him on the road to Damascus.

Subsequently, he was martyred in Rome. They cut off his head with a sword because, as he was a Roman citizen, they could not condemn him to die on a cross, since it was a death reserved for slaves. St. Paul was beheaded in the year 67. He is buried in Rome, in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.

What does the life of St. Paul the Apostle teach us?

St. Paul teaches us to have a heart without barriers. His life teaches us the importance of the apostolic work of Christians.

All Christians must proclaim Christ by communicating his message by word and example.Each one in the place where he or she lives, and in different ways, to surrender weakness to God.

By turning away from sin and living a life dedicated to holiness and apostolate, St. Paul also teaches us the value of conversion and obedience. He accepts the gifts Christ offers him and lives his love by spreading and communicating his faith, by word and example. He dedicates himself to bringing the great gift he had received to others.

Francis, Homily, 29-VI-2021.
Benedict XVI, Homily, June 29, 2012.


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