Summer Saints – Peter and Paul

Today we celebrate the feasts of two of the first and most well-known saints of the Church: Peter and Paul.  Even though they weren’t martyred on the same day (or even in the same year), the early Christians celebrated them together on this day, and we still keep that tradition today.

Saint Peter was a fisherman whose brother Andrew introduced him to Jesus.  Jesus told them that he would make them “fishers of men,” and they became His apostles.  Peter was there at most of Jesus’ miracles, and he is mentioned more in scripture than any of the other apostles.  In Matthew 16, Jesus made Peter the first pope, saying, “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.”  After Jesus was arrested, Peter was afraid of being arrested too, and three times he denied being friends with Jesus.

When Mary Magdalene and the other women discovered that Jesus had raised from the dead, they ran to the other apostles to tell them.  No one believed them except Peter, who went to the tomb and found the empty burial cloths.  During one of His resurrection appearances, Jesus asked Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”  Peter answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”  Then Jesus told him, “Feed my sheep.”  By this, Jesus meant that Peter should be the leader of all the Christians.

Paul was an very intelligent young man who received an excellent education.  Because he was a devoted Jew, he felt it was his duty to persecute Christians who were teaching what he believed were lies and blasphemy against God.  One day while he was traveling, Paul had a very dramatic meeting with Jesus and was changed forever!  All the zeal he had for his Jewish faith was now poured into his new life as a Christian.  For the next 30 years Paul traveled around the Roman Empire telling people about Christ through his preaching and his writing.  Much of the New Testament was written by Saint Paul and he is known as a patron of writers and missionaries, among other things.

Saint Peter is a patron of fishermen and today would be a great time for a theme lunch in his honor.  Fish sticks or tuna sandwiches are obvious choices, but you could add to the fishy fun by also serving goldfish crackers and pretzel snaps (shaped like nets).  Swedish gummy fish would be the perfect dessert!

It was a custom of the time for educated men to also have a physical skill that would help them earn a living.  Paul’s trade was to be a tent maker, and a perfect way to celebrate would be to eat your fisherman’s lunch in a tent, either indoors or out.


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