OUR PATRON SAINTS
ST PETER was from Bethsaida of Galilee. He was the son of Jonas and the brother of Andrew the First-called. He was a fisherman by trade, unlearned and poor, and was called Simon; later he was renamed Peter by the Lord Jesus Christ himself, who looked at him and said, "You are Simon the son of Jonas; You shall be called Cephas (which is by interpretation, Peter)" (John 1:42).
On being raised by the Lord to the dignity of an Apostle and becoming inseparable from him as his zealous disciple, he followed him from the beginning of his preaching of salvation up until the very Passion, when, in the court of Caiaphas the high priest, he denied Him three times because of his fear of the Jews and of the danger at hand. But again, after many bitter tears, he received complete forgiveness of his transgression.
After the Resurrection of Christ and the descent of the Holy Spirit, he preached in Judea, Antioch, and certain parts of Asia, and finally came to Rome, where he was crucified upside down by Nero, and thus he receieved martyrdom about the year 66 or 68, leaving two Catholic (General) Epistles to the Church, known as I Peter and II Peter. He is also generally regarded as being the primary source (i.e., in interview) for the material recorded in the Gospel of Mark.
ST PAUL was named Saul at his birth in the city of Tarsus and was a son of the tribe of Benjamin. Saul became a Pharisee under Gamaliel, one of the chief Jewish Rabbis (Masters/Teachers) of the day. After his study under the great Rabbi, Saul became one of the chief persecutors of Christians. Present at the stoning of St. Stephen (Acts 7: 58), Saul later found himself blinded by Jesus Himself on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-22). He sought out the Apostle Ananias, and immediately repented and was baptised by Ananias. Saul, soon after his conversion was called Paul, was later named and numbered among the Apostles.
The extent of Paul's preaching as he spread the Gospel went far and wide from Arabia to Spain, to both Jews and Gentiles. He was called the "Apostle to the Gentiles." Paul spent his new life in suffering and labor for Christ, establishing and organizing churches everywhere. He reached such a state of perfection that he was able to say to the Church at Galatia: "not I, but Christ lives in me" (Galatians 2:20).
The account of Paul's missionary journeys and the letters he wrote to the Churches he founded form an important part of the New Testament. St. Paul was martyred with the Apostle Peter under Nero by beheading.