Saints are ordinary people who lived their lives in an extraordinarily holy way. Our patron saints, Saint Peter and Saint Paul, were no exception. We honor them because they responded to God's invitation to use their unique gifts and spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Feast Day of SS. Peter and Paul is June 29. As early as the third century (258), a feast was celebrated in memory of SS. Peter and Paul in Rome, when the remains of Saint Peter were restored to their former resting place at what is now St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, and those of Saint Paul to a church on the Via Ostiensis.
(? - 64 AD)
Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 16:17-19)
Saint Peter was a Galilean fisherman who, along with his brother Andrew, became a disciple of Jesus. Born Simon, he was called by Jesus to become one of the Twelve Apostles.
"Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men." (Matthew 4:18)The change of his name from Simon to Cephas (Kephas or Kipha, Aramaic for "rock"), translated to the Latin Petrus, demonstrates Our Lord's intention for Peter to form the foundation of the Kingdom of God on earth and draw the faithful to the Church of Christ. The Acts of the Apostles tell us that Peter indeed took a primary leadership role in the formation of the early Church, spreading the Gospel to the Gentiles (non-Jewish Christians), and becoming our first Pope. His travels ultimately brought him to Rome, where he was martyred in 64 AD under the Roman Emperor Nero - crucified upside down because he claimed he was not worthy to die in the same manner as Christ.
Visit the Prayers page to recite the Prayer to St. Peter.
(4 BC? - 67 AD)
Saint Paul was born Saul in Tarsus, capital of Cilicia, a Roman province in Asia Minor. While his father was a Pharisee, the most conservative Jewish sect, he was also a Roman citizen. At age 13, Saul left his father's tent-making trade to study Hebrew Scriptures in Jerusalem as a pupil of Gamaliel. Unlike the Twelve Apostles, Paul did not know Jesus in life. As a young adult , he actually discriminated against early Christians, taking an active part in the persecution of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr, who was also a student of Gamaliel. It was while traveling on the road to Damascus, leading a group to further brutalize and persecute the Christians there, that Saul experienced a dramatic conversion and came to know faith.
We all fell to the ground and I heard a voice saying to me in Hebrew, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goad." And I said, "Who are you, sir?" And the Lord replied, "I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. Get up now, and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness of what you have seen of me and what you will be shown. I shall deliver you from this people and from the Gentiles to whom I send you, to open their eyes that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may obtain forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been consecrated by faith in me." (Acts 26:14-18)Saul changes his name to Paul, and then sets out on the first of many missions to further spread Christianity, particularly among the Gentiles, across Asia Minor, Greece, and ultimately Rome. Along the way, Paul wrote several letters (or Epistles) to various churches, such as his Letter to the Corinthians or his Letter to the Romans. His Letters form part of the New Testament. Paul was beheaded in 67 AD under Roman Emperor Nero.
Visit the Prayers page to recite the Prayer to St. Paul.