FRIDAY, JUNE 29: The rocks of the Christian Church are memorialized in ancient customs today, on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul. (Simon’s given name by Jesus, “Peter,” literally means “the Rock.”) Among the first Christian martyrs of Rome, Ss. Peter and Paul have been celebrated since the infancy of the Church; they’re both buried in Rome and pilgrims flock there to this day. (Wikipedia has details.) Nonetheless, it remains of debate whether June 29 is the anniversary of their death or of the translation of their relics.
Upon meeting Jesus, Simon left his family and occupation on the Sea of Galilee to follow Jesus. Even after Jesus’ crucifixion, Peter continued to promote and preach as a leader on behalf of Christ’s ideals. Catholic tradition claims that Peter became Rome’s first bishop, and he died as a martyr in 66 or 67 CE. St. Peter was buried on the hill of the Vatican, on the site of the current basilica of St. Peter’s.
Following years of service and missionary work for Christianity, Paul was taken prisoner in Rome and eventually beheaded. St. Paul wrote many letters during his lifetime—some of them now considered sacred “books” of the New Testament. Tradition holds that he was buried beneath what is now the basilica of St. Paul. Through the centuries, millions of Christians have taken pilgrimages to Rome on behalf of these two famous saints. (Read Pope Bendict’s 2005 homily for this feast here.)
MEALS AND MULTI-MEDIA FOR THE FEAST
Looking for a way to venerate these two saints at home? Try checking out recipes for this feast at CatholicCulture. Or, check out the Vatican’s remarkable multimedia tour of the burial site of St. Peter at the Vatican. (That website uses video and other multimedia, so pour a fresh cup of tea or coffee and settle back before beginning this fascinating tour.) A different kind of online multimedia tour is provided, now, of the Vatican’s Pauline Chapel. When you visit this page, let a high-resolution pattern of photos download, then move your cursor to “look around” in the chapel. (To enjoy both tours, a fairly fast Internet connection is recommended.)