At the end of June, we enjoyed the annual Feast and Fayre Weekend in Horndon on the Hill. Many people worked hard to make this a special event. At Church, during that weekend, we celebrated the Festival of St Peter and St Paul.
St. Peter and St Paul are both considered cornerstones of the Church. Originally known as Simon, a fisherman by trade, Peter was commissioned by Jesus to catch people, to draw them into faith. St. Peter was one of the 12 apostles, as well as the first pope and founder of the Church. Despite having denied Jesus three times at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, he was used powerfully by God and later martyred, sometime around AD 64 during the reign of Nero. It is said that when the Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity, he decided to build a church in honour of St Peter, above his grave. The church is now known as St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City.
St. Paul was also an apostle, responsible for much of the New Testament. He didn’t meet Jesus but is one of the most important apostles to have spread the word of Jesus. Many of us will know his dramatic story: Saul, a persecutor of Christians, being blinded by a bright light on the way to Damascus, for three days being without sight and not eating or drinking and then being baptised by Ananias. Saul became Paul after he had been converted. He, like Peter, is said to have been martyred.
St Peter and St Paul are celebrated on the same day, on June 29th and this day is a major holiday in Rome. The pope holds a mass in which he gives a pallium—a special vestment worn over the shoulders—to archbishops appointed in the past year.
Neither Peter nor Paul were perfect, but God was able to use them powerfully to spread the good news of the Gospel to others and to grow and inspire the church. I believe that God can do the same today through us as his followers however imperfect we may feel we are, as long as we are faithful.
whose blessed apostles Peter and Paul
glorified you in their death as in their life:
grant that your Church,
inspired by their teaching and example,
and made one by your Spirit,
may ever stand firm upon the one foundation,
Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
I look forward to seeing you soon.
Take care and God bless,