Saint of: Fishermen, Masons, Bridge Builders, Ship Builders & Clock Makers
Very little is known about the early life of Peter, except that he was a Galilean fisherman, probably born in the village of Bethsaida or Capernaum and that his original name was Simon.
At the start of Christ’s ministry, He was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, when He called to Peter and his brother Andrew, “Come, and I will make you fishers of men.”(Matt. 4:19) They dropped their nets and followed Him.
During the two years when he followed Jesus, Peter witnessed many miracles, including the cure of his own mother-in-law of a fever. But Peter also failed, many times, to have faith. While Christ was walking on the water, He beckoned to Peter to come to Him. Peter set out with confidence, but was suddenly overcome with fear and begun to sink. As it was so often with Peter, he wanted to believe, but his fear was stronger than his faith.
When called upon to stay awake with Christ while He prayed at Gethsemane; Peter, like the rest of the Apostles, fell asleep. As Jesus had predicted, Peter even went so far as to deny three times that he knew the Lord. When he realized how he had failed, he was filled with remorse and vowed to change.
After the Resurrection, Christ appeared to Peter and gave him the awesome responsibility of carrying on His work on Earth. Peter took up the leadership challenge with the resolve that came from knowing he would never be alone. He preached in Asia Minor, Antioch (where he was first acclaimed as bishop), and ultimately in Rome, where he often conflicted with the authorities. The first pontiff, he was martyred during Nero’s reign but laid the foundation for the popes of the next millenniums to today.
St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome is said to have been built over the site of Peter’s tomb.
SAINT PAUL, the Apostle
Feast Day: June 29
Name meaning: “The Small One”
Patron Saint of: Authors, Lay People, Evangelists, Reporters and Publishers.
When St. Paul was born in Tarsus around the year 3, he was named Saul. He was from a wealthy family and followed Jewish laws zealously. As a young man, Saul believed that Christianity should be destroyed. He had not met Christ, but Saul aggressively persecuted Christians, dragging them out of their homes to prison. Saul even watched approvingly as St. Stephen was stoned. But on the road to Damascus to arrest a group of Christians, an extraordinary event occurred, changing his life forever.
A light flashed, blinded Saul and knocked him to the ground. Then a voice said, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” (Acts 9:4) Saul knew it was Jesus. When he could see again three days later, he saw with his eyes and with his heart. Saul became Paul and set forth to carry Jesus’ word.
Paul first began preaching in Damascus. The tables turned, and Paul was now being persecuted by people who disagreed with his teachings. Once, in the dead of night, his friends lowered him from the city wall in a basket to avoid his being killed. People were astounded by Paul’s miraculous change of heart; even the Apostles did not trust him at first.
Paul dedicated himself to preaching, writing and founding churches. He took three missionary trips, during which he faced constant danger. He was stoned, scourged, shipwrecked and imprisoned. Everywhere he went, including prison, he sent epistles, or letters, to his Christian communities, offering them courage and advice about following Christ’s teachings. In the year 65 the man who persecuted so many in his youth was martyred in Rome as a Christian. The power of his word still resonates today.