Saints of the Day: Sts. Peter and Paul

Written by Jepoy Meneses on . Posted in Cool Catholics, Program Updates

On June 29 the Church celebrates the feast day of Sts. Peter & Paul. As early as the year 258, there is evidence of an already lengthy tradition of celebrating the solemnities of both Saint Peter and Saint Paul on the same day. Together, the two saints are the founders of the See of Rome, through their preaching, ministry and martyrdom there.

Peter, who was named Simon, was a fisherman of Galilee and was introduced to the Lord Jesus by his brother Andrew, also a fisherman. Jesus gave him the name Cephas (Petrus in Latin), which means ‘Rock,’ because he was to become the rock upon which Christ would build His Church.

Peter was a bold follower of the Lord. He was the first to recognize that Jesus was “the Messiah, the Son of the living God,” and eagerly pledged his fidelity until death. In his boldness, he also made many mistakes, however, such as losing faith when walking on water with Christ and betraying the Lord on the night of His passion.

Yet despite his human weaknesses, Peter was chosen to shepherd God’s flock. The Acts of the Apostles illustrates his role as head of the Church after the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ. Peter led the Apostles as the first Pope and ensured that the disciples kept the true faith.

St. Peter spent his last years in Rome, leading the Church through persecution and eventually being martyred in the year 64. He was crucified upside-down at his own request, because he claimed he was not worthy to die as his Lord.

He was buried on Vatican hill, and St. Peter’s Basilica is built over his tomb.

St. Paul was the Apostle of the Gentiles. His letters are included in the writings of the New Testament, and through them we learn much about his life and the faith of the early Church.

Before receiving the name Paul, he was Saul, a Jewish pharisee who zealously persecuted Christians in Jerusalem. Scripture records that Saul was present at the martyrdom of St. Stephen.

Saul’s conversion took place as he was on his way to Damascus to persecute the Christian community there. As he was traveling along the road, he was suddenly surrounded by a great light from heaven. He was blinded and fell off his horse. He then heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” He answered: “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 tirelessly to the Gentiles of the Mediterranean world.

Paul was imprisoned and taken to Rome, where he was beheaded in the year 67.

He is buried in Rome in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.

In a sermon in the year 395, St. Augustine of Hippo said of Sts. Peter and Paul: “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 labors, their sufferings, their preaching, and their confession of faith.”

Pope WYD schedule

Vatican releases Pope’s World Youth Day schedule

Written by Jepoy Meneses on . Posted in Program Updates

Vatican City, Jun 27, 2011 / 02:02 pm (CNA/EWTN News).– The Vatican’s press office unveiled Pope Benedict XVI’s official World Youth Day schedule on June 27. His itinerary for the trip to Madrid this August includes personal and public visits with young people from all walks of life.

Pope WYD scheduleDuring his four-day visit, the Pope will visit with young nuns, university professors, and seminarians, in addition to his encounters with the millions of youth expected to gather in Madrid from around the world.

The Pope’s plans include a private lunch with a group of youth on August 19. He will also hear the confessions of some young people on August 20.

His other private engagements include speaking to a group of 2,000 young university professors on August 19. That same day he will meet privately with a group of young nuns. On August 20, the Pope will celebrate a private Mass with seminarians.

The crowds expected to gather by the millions will also see plenty of the Pope. On August 19, Pope Benedict will lead public stations of the cross, and on August 20 he will speak at a prayer vigil. He will also celebrate the closing Mass on August 21.

ther events on the Pope’s schedule include a visit with Spain’s king, queen and president on August 19, and lunches with the cardinals of Spain and the bishops of the Madrid province on August 20 and 21.

World Youth Day was first established in 1985 by Blessed Pope John Paul II in response to a U.N. declaration of the International Year of Youth. The celebration takes place on the international level every three years and has been held in many different countries. Pope Benedict celebrated his first World Youth Day as Pope in Cologne, Germany in 2005, followed by the 2008 gathering in Sydney, Australia.

Pope Benedict’s official schedule for the 2011 gathering is available at: http://www.madrid11.com

 

St. Iraneus

St. Iraneus – Bishop of Lyons, and Father of the Church

Written by Jepoy Meneses on . Posted in Program Updates

St. IraneusInformation as to his life is scarce, and in some measure inexact. He was born in Proconsular Asia, or at least in some province bordering thereon, in the first half of the second century; the exact date is controverted, between the years 115 and 125, according to some, or, according to others, between 130 and 142.

It is certain that, while still very young, Irenaeus had seen and heard the holy Bishop Polycarp (d. 155) at Smyrna. During the persecution of Marcus Aurelius, Irenaeus was a priest of the Church of Lyons. The clergy of that city, many of whom were suffering imprisonment for the Faith, sent him (177 or 178) to Rome with a letter to Pope Eleutherius concerning Montanism, and on that occasion bore emphatic testimony to his merits. Returning to Gaul, Irenaeus succeeded the martyr Saint Pothinus as Bishop of Lyons. During the religious peace which followed the persecution of Marcus Aurelius, the new bishop divided his activities between the duties of a pastor and of a missionary (as to which we have but brief data, late and not very certain) and his writings, almost all of which were directed against Gnosticism, the heresy then spreading in Gaul and elsewhere.

In 190 or 191 he interceded with Pope Victor to lift the sentence of excommunication laid by that pontiff upon the Christian communities of Asia Minor which persevered in the practice of the Quartodecimans in regard to the celebration of Easter. Nothing is known of the date of his death, which must have occurred at the end of the second or the beginning of the third century. In spite of some isolated and later testimony to that effect, it is not very probable that he ended his career with martyrdom. His feast is celebrated on 28 June in the Latin Church, and on 23 August in the Greek.

Irenaeus wrote in Greek many works which have secured for him an exceptional place in Christian literature, because in controverted religious questions of capital importance they exhibit the testimony of a contemporary of the heroic age of the Church, of one who had heard St. Polycarp, the disciple of St. John, and who, in a manner, belonged to the Apostolic Age.

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