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Saint of the day June 29, SS. Peter and Paul

Feast Day: June 29

Lived (Peter d. 64 Paul d. 67)

Peter was a fisherman from Galilee. His name was Simon but, Jesus gave him the name Peter, meaning ‘Rock,’ because he was to become the rock upon which Christ would build His Church. Among the Twelve, Peter was the first to recognize the divinity of Christ and to publicly profess that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah. Chosen by Our Lord to shepherd His flock, he led the Apostles as the first Pope.

Peter and the apostles James and John were often taken aside by Our Lord and were witnesses to the more profound mysteries of Christ's divinity: His Transfiguration on Mount Tabor, His agony in the Garden. Peter denied of Our Lord thrice, during the night after the Last Supper and it filled him with great sorrow.

Peter became head of the Church in Rome. He was crucified upside-down as he requested, because he claimed he was not worthy to die the same way his Lord did. He was buried on Vatican hill, and Saint Peter's Basilica is erected over his tomb.

Paul is a Jewish Pharisee who zealously persecuted Christians in Jerusalem. His former name was Saul but was christened Paul.

He was traveling to Damascus to persecute Christians when he was surrounded by a light from heaven. He was blinded and fell from his horse. He then heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” He replied: “Who are you, Lord?” Christ said: “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.”

Saul continued to Damascus, where he was baptized and his sight was restored. He took the name Paul and spent the remainder of his life preaching the Gospel to the Gentiles.

Paul was detained and taken to Rome, where he was beheaded. He is buried in Rome outside the walls of the Basilica of Saint Paul.

Saint Augustine of Hippo said “Both apostles share the same feast day, for these two were one; and even though they suffered on different days, they were as one. Peter went first, and Paul followed. And so we celebrate this day made holy for us by the apostles' blood. Let us embrace what they believed, their life, their toils, their hardships, their teachings, and their beliefs.”

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