CATHOLIC WORLD NEWS: TUES. JUNE 29, 2010: HEADLINES-
VATICAN: POPE: BESTOWS PALLIUM ON 38 ARCHBISHOPS-
ASIA: INDIA: BIHAR: GUNMAN SHOOT AND WOUND PRIEST FR. MICHAEL IGNATIUS-
AFRICA: NIGERIA: PROFESSOR FATHER UKPONG KIDNAPPED JUNE 24-
EUROPE: ENGLAND: FESTIVAL FOR VOCATIONS: INVOCATION 2010 ON JULY 2-
AUSTRALIA: CATHOLIC MISSION PLAY WINS AWARD FROM MULTI-FAITH ARRCC-
AMERICA: USA: BISHOPS RELEASE NEW SITE ON MARRIAGE-
POPE: BESTOWS PALLIUM ON 38 ARCHBISHOPS
Dear brothers and sisters!
The biblical texts of this Eucharistic Liturgy of the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, in their great wealth, highlight a theme that could be summarized thus: God is close to his faithful servants and frees them from all evil, and frees the Church from negative powers. It is the theme of the freedom of the Church, which has a historical aspect and another more deeply spiritual one.
I would like to draw a final point from the Word of God, in particular from Christ's promise that the powers of hell shall not prevail against his Church. These words may also have a significant ecumenical value, since, as I mentioned earlier, one of the typical effects of the Devil is division within the Church community. The divisions are in fact symptoms of the power of sin, which continues to act in members of the Church even after redemption. But the word of Christ is clear: " Non praevalebunt – it will not prevail" (Matt. 16:18). The unity of the Church is rooted in its union with Christ, and the cause of full Christian unity - always to be sought and renewed from generation to generation - is well supported by his prayer and his promise. In the fight against the spirit of evil, God has given us in Jesus the 'Advocate', defender, and after his Easter, "another Paraclete" (Jn 14:16), the Holy Spirit, which remains with us always and leads the Church into the fullness of truth (cf. Jn 14:16; 16:13), which is also the fullness of charity and unity. With these feelings of confident hope, I am pleased to greet the delegation of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which, in the beautiful custom of reciprocal visits, participates in the celebrations of the patron saints of Rome. Together we thank God for progress in ecumenical relations between Catholics and Orthodox, and we renew our commitment to generously reciprocate to God's grace, which leads us to full communion.
Dear friends, I cordially greet all of you: Cardinals, Brother Bishops, Ambassadors and civil authorities, in particular the Mayor of Rome, priests, religious and lay faithful. Thank you for your presence. May the Saints Peter and Paul help you to grow in love for the holy Church, the Mystical Body of Christ the Lord and messenger of unity and peace for all men. May they also help you to offer the hardships and sufferings endured for fidelity to the Gospel with joy for her holiness and her mission. May the Virgin Mary, Queen of Apostles and Mother of the Church, always watch over you and especially over the Ministry of metropolitan archbishops. With her heavenly help may you always live and act in that freedom that Christ has won for us. Amen.
images source http://www.radiovaticana.org/en1/index.asp
VATICAN LIST OF NEW ARCHBISHOPS
Rome Reports: The Mass held on Tuesday is one of the Vatican's most symbolic ceremonies; it celebrates the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, the patron saints of the Church. Arnolfo di Cambio's ancient bronze statue of Saint Peter is decorated for the mass; it's adorned with papal ornaments, the miter and the ring of the fisherman.
The pope also gathers the metropolitan archbishops named during the previous year to give each a pallium. The pallium is a white woolen band with six black crosses and symbolizes the bishop's unity with the pope.A gesture increases the symbolism of the pallium: each is placed over the Apostle Saint Peter's tomb and are solemnly taken to the pope at the beginning of Mass.
Benedict XVI repeated that the most damaging persecutions the Church can suffer are those that come from within.
"The worst injuries the Church can suffer are those that contaminate the faith and Christian lives of its members and communities because they erode the Church's integrity."
The archbishops who received palliums are:
- Archbishop Luis Gerardo Herrera O.F.M. of Cuenca, Ecuador.
- Archbishop Gerard Tlali Lerotholi O.M.I. of Maseru, Lesotho.
- Archbishop Antonio Fernando Saburido O.S.B. of Olinda and Recife, Brazil.
- Archbishop Albert Legatt of Saint-Boniface, Canada.
- Archbishop Gualtiero Bassetti of Perugia - Citta della Pieve, Italy.
- Archbishop Andrea Bruno Mazzocato of Udine, Italy.
- Archbishop Gabriel Mblinghi C.S.Sp. of Lubango, Angola.
- Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, Philppines.
- Archbishop Constancio Miranda Weckmann of Chihuahua, Mexico.
- Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham, England.
- Archbishop Juan Jose Asenjo Pelegrina of Seville, Spain.
- Archbishop Jerome Edward Listecki of Milwaukee, U.S.A
- Archbishop Samuel Kleda of Douala, Cameroon.
- Archbishop Jesus Sanz Montes O.F.M. of Oviedo, Spain.
- Archbishop Anton Stres C.M. of Ljubljana, Slovenia.
- Archbishop Joseph Atanga S.J. of Bertoua, Cameroon.
- Archbishop Stephen Brislin of Cape Town, South Africa.
- Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr of Cincinnati, U.S.A.
- Archbishop Alberto Taveira Correa of Belem do Para, Brazil.
- Archbishop Andre-Mutien Leonard of Mechelen-Brussels, Belgium.
- Archbishop Antonio Lanfranchi of Modena - Nonantola, Italy.
- Archbishop Dominik Duka O.P. of Prague, Czech Republic.
- Archbishop Ricardo Antonio Tobon Restrepo of Medellin, Colombia.
- Archbishop Jose Domingo Ulloa Mendieta O.S.A. of Panama, Panama.
- Archbishop Francis Kallarakal of Verapoly, India.
- Archbishop Desire Tsarahazana of Toamasina, Madagascar.
- Archbishop Ricardo Blazquez Perez of Valladolid, Spain.
- Archbishop Hyginus Kim Hee-joong of Kwangju, Korea.
- Archbishop Luis Madrid Merlano of Nueva Pamplona, Colombia.
- Archbishop Thomas Gerard Wenski of Miami, U.S.A.
- Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark, England.
- Archbishop Jozef Kowalczyk of Gniezno, Poland.
- Archbishop Pierre Nguyen Van Nhon of Hanoi, Vietnam.
- Archbishop Matthias Kobena Nketsiah of Cape Coast, Ghana.
- Archbishop Bernard Bober of Kosice, Slovakia.
- Archbishop Carlos Garfias Merlos of Acapulco, Mexico.
- Archbishop Luigi Moretti of Salerno - Campagna - Acerno, Italy.
INDIA: BIHAR: GUNMAN SHOOT AND WOUND PRIEST FR. MICHAEL IGNATIUS
UCAN report: Three masked men shot and wounded a Catholic priest in Mokama in the Indian state of Bihar last night.
The motives for the attack are unclear.
Father Ignatius says he was watching television at his residence when the attack took place. The men came into his unlocked room, fired at him and left. As he fell to the ground and called for help, they returned and fired again. He claimed they were aiming for his chest but he blocked the bullets with his hands.
PICTURE: Doctors attending to Father Michael Ignatius
Assistant parish priest Father Alex Vedamackiam was in his room at the time and was unharmed.
The watchman at the residence recognized one of the attackers, a local Catholic, who has now fled. Police have taken his younger brother into custody.
The attackers’ motives are still under investigation. Police have ruled out robbery as the watchman’s cell phone was the only thing stolen.
Mokama is a notorious crime black spot. Father Matthew Uzhuthal, vicar general of Patna archdiocese, was stabbed to death in 2005 by a youth who allegedly demanded money. The murdered cleric had also been parish priest in Mokama for several years.
NIGERIA: PROFESSOR FATHER UKPONG KIDNAPPED JUNE 24
Idependent Catholic report: Concerns are growing for the safety of the Vice Chancellor of the Veritas Catholic University of Nigeria, Fr Professor Justin Ukpong and his driver, who have not been seen since they were abducted last Thursday.
Fr Justin and his driver were kidnapped by unknown persons on Thursday June 24, at about 7 pm as they were about to enter his house, near the university.
The kidnappers have yet to make a ransom demand, but they have demanded to talk to the Archbishop in charge of the institution.
At the end of May, three female students of the University were kidnapped from the Hospitallers Female Hostel located in Obehie. These students werereleased after ten days without payment of any ransom.
The bishops are appealing to the kidnappers to release the vice chancellor and his driver unhurt and without any conditions.
They have also called on the civil authorities to do more to guarantee the security of lives and property of Nigerian citizens.
ENGLAND: FESTIVAL FOR VOCATIONS: INVOCATION 2010 ON JULY 2
The festival is aimed at young men and women aged 16-35 who are interested in deepening their relationship with God, and who might be thinking of becoming priests or nuns. They will be offered advice, workshops, and time for prayer and reflection. In total over 300 people will be attending. Workshops will look at questions such as 'How will I know if I am doing the right thing with my life?' 'What is prayer?' 'What is vocation, what does it mean to my life?' 'Are you ready to answer a need of the present times?' and 'Are you ready to give an account of the witness in you?'
In September Pope Benedict XVI will visit Oscott College, where Cardinal Newman was confirmed. The event is being hosted by the Archdiocese of Birmingham, with support and cooperation from a number of organizations including the National Office for Vocation and Compass. It is the first event of its kind for the Catholic Church and its young people in England and Wales. In total around 100 priests and nuns will be at the festival, and will be there to talk, to listen, and to be witnesses to the young people.
Fr Stephen Langridge, Chairman of the Vocations Directors of England and Wales said: "Research from different parts of the world suggests that a major reason young people do not pursue a vocation is not that they did not hear Christ's call, but that they had no-one to talk to about it. They didn't know how to interpret that call...If Jesus is calling these young people, we want, above all, to make space for them to hear that call."
Archbishop Vincent said: "Each of us is called to grow and mature from an infancy of faith into a mature willingness - like Mary's - to be instruments not of our own ambition, but of God's will."
Sr Gabriel Davison" said: "I discovered that God wants us for who we are and not for what we can do and so my focus changed from 'doing' more to 'being'."
For more information see: http://www.invocation.org.uk/
CATHOLIC MISSION PLAY WINS AWARD FROM MULTI-FAITH ARRCC
A Catholic Mission play that dramatises the challenges of climate change for ordinary people took the Highly Commended Award from the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC) multi-faith environmental network.
It dealt with drought-ravaged Australia, cyclonic flooding in Bangladesh, Inuit people confronting poisoning of the Arctic food chain, rising sea levels in Kiribati and the impact of bio-fuel production on food prices in Brazil and Mexico.
"Village Space is Catholic Mission's way of bringing global mission issues to young Australians with the immediacy of theatre," said Jenny Collins-White, Catholic Mission's National Education and Advocacy Officer. "Our plays are designed to make them think of issues that are outside their own experience."
"Climate Change and Poverty" has so far played to audiences of over 12,000 in Queensland, NSW and the ACT. Designed for senior primary and high school students to work within the school curriculum's Key Learning Areas, the play includes teachers' notes and includes a debriefing session where the audience can respond to the ethical questions that have been raised in the performance.
USA: BISHOPS RELEASE NEW SITE ON MARRIAGE
Bishops' Committee Launches New Initiative, Marriage: Unique for a Reason
DVD Resource on Sexual Difference Set for Release
First of Five Videos in New Initiative
Effort Crucial to New Evangelization, says Archbishop Kurtz
Potential uses include instruction for young adult groups, adult faith formation, and seminary and diaconate education. Materials are online at http://www.marriageuniqueforareason.org/ and are available for purchase through http://www.usccbpublishing.org/. http://www.usccb.org/comm/archives/2010/10-124.shtml
FIRST POPE AND PRINCE OF THE APOSTLES
Feast: June 29
Died: 64, Rome, Italy
Major Shrine: St. Peter's Basilica
St. Peter is mentioned so often in the New Testament—in the Gospels, in the Acts of the Apostles, and in the Epistles of St. Paul—that we feel we know him better than any other person who figured prominently in the life of the Saviour. In all, his name appears 182 times. We have no knowledge of him prior to his conversion, save that he was a Galilean fisherman, from the village of Bethsaida or Capernaum. There is some evidence for supposing that Peter's brother Andrew and possibly Peter himself were followers of John the Baptist, and were therefore prepared for the appearance of the Messiah in their midst. We picture Peter as a shrewd and simple man, of great power for good, but now and again afflicted by sudden weakness and doubt, at least at the outset of his discipleship. After the death of the Saviour he manifested his primacy among the Apostles by his courage and strength. He was "the Rock" on which the Church was founded. It is perhaps Peter's capacity for growth that makes his story so inspiring to other erring humans. He reached the lowest depths on the night when he denied the Lord, then began the climb upward, to become bishop of Rome, martyr, and, finally, "keeper of the keys of Heaven."
Our first glimpse of Peter comes at the very beginning of Jesus' ministry. While He was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon Peter and Andrew, casting a net into the water. When He called to them, "Come, and I will make you fishers of men," they at once dropped their net to follow Him. A little later we learn that they visited the house where Peter's mother-in-law was suffering from a fever, and Jesus cured her. This was the first cure witnessed by Peter, but he was to see many miracles, for he stayed close to Jesus during the two years of His ministry. All the while he was listening, watching, questioning, learning, sometimes failing in perfect faith, but in the end full of strength and thoroughly prepared for his own years of missionary preaching.
Let us recall a few of the Biblical episodes in which Peter appears. We are told that after the miracle of the loaves and fishes, Jesus withdrew to the mountain to pray, and his disciples started to sail home across the Lake of Galilee. Suddenly they saw Him walking on the water, and, according to the account in Matthew, Jesus told them not to be afraid. It was Peter who said, "Lord, if it is Thou, bid me come to Thee over the water." Peter set out confidently, but suddenly grew afraid and began to sink, and Jesus stretched forth His hand to save him, saying, "O thou of little faith, why didst thou doubt?"
Then we have Peter's dramatic confession of faith, which occurred when Jesus and his followers had reached the villages of Caesarea Philippi. Jesus having asked the question, "Who do men say that I am?" there were various responses. Then Jesus turned to Peter and said, "But who do you say that I am?" and Peter answered firmly, "Thou art the Christ, son of the living God." (Matthew xvi, 13-18; Mark viii, 27-29; Luke ix, 18-20.) Then Jesus told him that his name would henceforth be Peter. In the Aramaic tongue which Jesus and his disciples spoke, the word was kepha, meaning rock. Jesus concluded with the prophetic words, "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock shall be built My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
There seems to be no doubt that Peter was favored among the disciples. He was selected, with James and John, to accompany Jesus to the mountain, the scene of the Transfiguration, to be given a glimpse of His glory, and there heard God pronounce the words, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased."
After this, the group had gone down to Jerusalem, where Jesus began to prepare his disciples for the approaching end of his ministry on earth. Peter chided Him and could not bring himself to believe that the end was near. When all were gathered for the Last Supper, Peter declared his loyalty and devotion in these words, "Lord, with Thee I am ready to go both to prison and to death." It must have been in deep sorrow that Jesus answered that before cockcrow Peter would deny Him thrice. And as the tragic night unrolled, this prophecy came true. When Jesus was betrayed by Judas as he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, and was taken by soldiers to the Jewish high priest, Peter followed far behind, and sat half hidden in the courtyard of the temple during the proceedings. Pointed out as one of the disciples, Peter three times denied the accusation. But we know that he was forgiven, and when, after the Resurrection, Jesus manifested himself to his disciples, He signaled Peter out, and made him declare three times that he loved Him, paralleling the three times that Peter had denied Him. Finally, Jesus charged Peter, with dramatic brevity, "Feed my sheep." From that time on Peter became the acknowledged and responsible leader of the sect.
It was Peter who took the initiative in selecting a new Apostle in place of Judas, and he who performed the first miracle of healing. A lame beggar asked for money; Peter told him he had none, but in the name of Jesus the Nazarene bade him arise and walk. The beggar did as he was bidden, cured of his lameness. When, about two years after the Ascension, the spread of the new religion brought on the persecutions that culminated in the martyrdom of St. Stephen, many of the converts scattered or went into hiding. The Apostles stood their ground firmly in Jerusalem, where the Jewish temple had become the spearhead of opposition to them. Peter chose to preach in the outlying villages, farther and farther afield. In Samaria, where he preached and performed miracles, he was offered money by Simon Magus, a magician, if he would teach the secret of his occult powers. Peter rebuked the magician sternly, saying, "Keep thy money to thyself, to perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased by money. With his vigorous outspokenness, Peter inevitably came into conflict with the Jewish authorities, and twice the high priests had him arrested. We are told that he was miraculously freed of his prison chains, and astonished the other Apostles by suddenly appearing back among them. Peter now preached in the seaports of Joppa and Lydda, where he met men of many races, and in Caesarea, where he converted the first Gentile, a man named Cornelius. Realizing that the sect must win its greatest support from Gentiles, Peter helped to shape the early policy towards them. Its growing eminence led to his election as bishop of the see of Antioch. How long he remained there, or how or when he came to Rome, we do not know. The evidence seems to establish the fact that his last years were spent in Rome as bishop. The belief that he suffered martyrdom there during the reign of Nero in the same year as St. Paul is soundly based on the writings of three early Fathers, St. Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, and Tertullian. The only writings by St. Peter which have come down to us are his New Testament Epistles I and II, both of which are thought to have been written from Rome to the Christian converts of Asia Minor. The First Epistle is filled with admonitions to mutual helpfulness, charity, and humility, and in general outlines the duties of Christians in all aspects of life. At its conclusion (I Peter v, 13) Peter sends greetings from "the church which is at Babylon." This is accepted as further evidence that the letter was written from Rome, which in the Jewish usage of the time was called "Babylon." The second Epistle warns against false teachings, speaks of the Second Coming of the Lord, and ends with the beautiful doxology, "But grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. To him be the glory, both now and the day of eternity."
The latest archeological findings indicate that St. Peter's Church in Rome rises over the site of his tomb, as Pius XII announced at the close of the Holy Year of 1950. In the catacombs many wall writings have been found which link the names of St. Peter and St. Paul, showing that popular devotion to the two great Apostles began in very early times. Paintings of later date commonly depict Peter as a short, energetic man with curly hair and beard; in art his traditional emblems are a boat, keys, and a cock.
APOSTLE OF THE GENTILES, MARTYR, MISSIONARY, MYSTIC, GREAT THEOLOGIAN
Feast: June 29
Information: Feast Day: June 29
Died: 65 at Rome, Italy
Major Shrine: Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls
The historic records bearing on St. Paul are fuller than those for any Scriptural saint. We have Paul's own wonderful writings, the fourteen letters included in the New Testament, which outline his missionary journeys, exhort and admonish the various Christian congregations, discuss ethics and doctrinal matters; and in the midst of all this we get a revelation of the man himself, his inner character, his problems and fears. St. Luke's Acts of the Apostles and certain apocryphal books are other sources of our knowledge of St. Paul. Of all the founders of the Church, Paul was perhaps the most brilliant and many-sided, the broadest in outlook, and therefore the best endowed to carry Christianity to alien lands and peoples.
Born into a well-to-do Jewish family of Tarsus, the son of a Roman citizen, Saul (as we shall call him until after his conversion) was sent to Jerusalem to be trained in the famous rabbinical school headed by Gamaliel. Here, in addition to studying the Law and the Prophets, he learned a trade, as was the custom. Young Saul chose the trade of tent-making. Although his upbringing was orthodox, while still at home in Tarsus he had come under the liberalizing Hellenic influences which at this time had permeated all levels of urban society in Asia Minor. Thus the Judaic, Roman, and Greek traditions and cultures all had a part in shaping this great Apostle, who was so different in status and temperament from the humble fishermen of Jesus' initial band of disciples. His missionary journeys were to give him the flexibility and the deep sympathy that made him the ideal human instrument for preaching Christ's Gospel of world brotherhood.
In the year 35 Saul appears as a self-righteous young Pharisee, almost fanatically anti-Christian. He believed that the trouble-making new sect should be stamped out, its adherents punished. We are told in Acts vii that he was present, although not a participator in the stoning, when Stephen, the first martyr, met his death. It was very soon afterwards that Paul experienced the revelation which was to transform his life. On the road to the Syrian city of Damascus, where he was going to continue his persecutions against the Christians, he was struck blind. On arriving in Damascus, there followed in dramatic sequence his sudden conversion, the cure of his blindness by the disciple Ananias, and his baptism. Paul accepted eagerly the commission to preach the Gospel of Christ, but like many another called to a great task he felt his unworthiness and withdrew from the world to spend three years in "Arabia" in meditation and prayer before beginning his apostolate. From the moment of his return, Paul—for he had now assumed this Roman name—never paused in his labors. It proved to be the most extraordinary career of preaching, writing, and church-founding of which we have record. The extensive travels by land and sea, so replete with adventure, are to be traced by anyone who reads carefully the New Testament letters. We cannot be sure, however, that the letters and records now extant reveal the full and complete chronicle of Paul's activities. He himself tells us he was stoned, thrice scourged, thrice shipwrecked, endured hunger and thirst, sleepless nights, perils and hardships; besides these physical trials, he suffered many disappointments and almost constant anxieties over the weak and widely-scattered communities of Christians.
Paul began his preaching in Damascus. Here the anger of the orthodox Jews against this renegade was so great that he had to make his escape by having himself let down from the city wall in a basket. Going down to Jerusalem, he was there looked on with suspicion by the Jewish Christians, for they could not at first believe that he who had so lately been their persecutor had turned advocate. Back in his native city of Tarsus once more, he was joined by Barnabas, and together they journeyed to Syrian Antioch, where they were so successful in finding followers that a church, later to become famous in the annals of early Christianity, was founded. It was here that the disciples of Jesus were first given the name of Christians (from the Greek
The second missionary journey, which lasted from 49 to 52, took Paul and Silas, his new assistant, to Phrygia and Galatia, to Troas, and across to the mainland of Europe, to Philippi in Macedonia. The physician Luke was now a member of the party, and in the book of Acts he gives us the record. They made their way to Thessalonica, then down to Athens and Corinth. At Athens Paul preached in the Areopagus, and we know that some of the Stoics and Epicureans heard him and debated with him informally, attracted by his vigorous intellect, his magnetic personality, and the ethical teachings which, in many respects, were not unlike their own. Passing over to Corinth, he found himself in the very heart of the Graeco-Roman world, and his letters of this period show that he is aware of the great odds against him, of the ceaseless struggle to be waged in overcoming pagan skepticism and indifference. He nevertheless stayed at Corinth for eighteen months, and met with considerable success. Two valuable workers there, Aquila and Priscilla, husband and wife, returned with him to Asia. It was during his first winter at Corinth that Paul wrote the earliest extant missionary letters. They show his supreme concern for conduct and his belief in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit which gives men power for good.
The third missionary journey covered the period of 52 to 56. At Ephesus, an important city of Lydia, where the cult of the Greek-Ionic goddess Diana was very popular, Paul raised a disturbance against the cult and the trade in silver images of the goddess which flourished there. Later, in Jerusalem, he caused a commotion by visiting the temple; he was arrested, roughly handled, and bound with chains; but when he was brought before the tribune, he defended himself in a way that impressed his captors. He was taken to Caesarea, for it was rumored that some Jews at Jerusalem, who falsely accused him of having admitted Gentiles to the temple, were plotting to kill him. He was kept in prison at Caesarea awaiting trial for about two years, under the proconsuls Felix and Festus. The Roman governors apparently wished to avoid trouble with both Jews and Christians and so postponed judgment from month to month. Paul at last appealed to the Emperor, demanding the legal right of a Roman citizen to have his case heard by Nero himself. He was placed in the custody of a centurion, who took him to Rome. The Acts of the Apostles leave him in the imperial city, awaiting his hearing.
It would appear that Paul's appeal was successful, for there is some evidence of another missionary journey, probably to Macedonia. On this last visit to the various Christian communities, it is believed that he appointed Titus bishop in Crete and Timothy at Ephesus. Returning to Rome, he was once more arrested, and after two years in chains suffered martyrdom, presumably at about the same time as the Apostle Peter, bishop of the Roman Church. Inscriptions of the second and third century in the catacombs give evidence of a cult of SS. Peter and Paul. This devotion has never diminished in popularity. In Christian art St. Paul is usually depicted as a bald man with a black beard, rather stocky, but vigorous and intense. His relics are venerated in the basilica of St. Paul and in the Lateran Church at Rome.
Because of the pressure of his work, Paul usually dictated his letters, writing the salutation in his own hand. The most quoted of New Testament writers, Paul has given us a wealth of counsel, aphorisms, and ethical teachings; he had the power of expressing spiritual truths in the simplest of words, and this, rather than the building up of a systematic theology, was his contribution to the early Church. A man of action, Paul reveals the dynamic of his whole career when he writes, "I press on towards the goal, to the prize of God's heavenly calling in Christ Jesus." Although he himself was forever pressing onwards, his letters often invoked a spirit of quiet meditation, as when he ends his epistle to the Philippians with the beautiful lines: "Whatever things are true, whatever honorable, whatever just, whatever holy, whatever lovable, whatever of good repute, if there be any virtue, if anything worthy of praise, think upon these things."
SOLEMNITY OF ST. PETER AND PAUL
Matthew 16: 13 - 19
13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesare'a Philip'pi, he asked his disciples, "Who do men say that the Son of man is?"
14 And they said, "Some say John the Baptist, others say Eli'jah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
15 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"
16 Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
17 And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.
19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."