The whole of Saint Paul’s Catholic High School celebrated Mass at St Anthony’s Catholic Church in Wythenshawe to mark the special feast day of St Peter and St Paul. It is a special day for the school and for Catholics across the world, who use the day as a focus for thinking about the importance of the work and legacy of Saints Peter and Paul.
The Feast of Saints Peter and Paul or Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul is a liturgical feast in honour of the martyrdom in Rome of the apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul, which is observed on 29 June. During the Mass, our students were excellent ambassadors for our school, reading and singing beautifully and fully taking part in the liturgy.
On 29th June, the Feast of St Peter and St Paul, in collective worship we discussed why the two saints were both such important figures in the bible and what the word 'faith' means. We also looked at the symbols that represent St Peter and St Paul.
Our patron saint, Saint Paul (then known as Saul), persecuted the Christians savagely, but was dramatically converted to the very One he had been persecuting after seeing Jesus in a vision (Acts 9:4). From that time on, Saul, who was now known as Paul, poured the same energy with which he persecuted Christ’s followers into bringing the Gospel of Jesus to many people.
Paul travelled around most of what was the Roman Empire, establishing Christian communities. His many letters form the bulk of the writings of the New Testament. Paul was also martyred in Rome, three years after St. Peter, in the year 67 AD, by being beheaded (His Roman citizenship would not permit his being crucified).
Peter and Paul represent two strikingly different approaches to discipleship. Peter had to learn slowly, make many mistakes along the way, but always experienced the compassionate forgiveness and encouragement of Jesus. Paul, on the other hand, came to the Faith immediately and never backed away from his zeal for Christ after that. Many of us can see both these great Apostles in ourselves. Like Peter, we sometimes fail but yet persevere. Like Paul, we must always be on fire for the Lord, and proclaim Him to everyone and in every situation, no matter how difficult it can sometimes be to do so. The feast day of St. Peter and St. Paul is celebrated on June 29th
Ric Slatter, our Lay Chaplain, explained: “St. Paul was the Apostle of the Gentiles. His letters are included in the writings of the New Testament, and through them we learn much about his life and the faith of the early Church.
Before receiving the name Paul, he was Saul, a Jewish pharisee who zealously persecuted Christians in Jerusalem.
Saul's conversion took place as he was on his way to Damascus to persecute the Christian community there. As he was traveling along the road, he was suddenly surrounded by a great light from heaven. He was blinded and fell off his horse. He then heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” He answered: “Who are you, Lord?” Christ said: “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.”
Saul continued to Damascus, where he was baptized and his sight was restored. He took the name Paul and spent the remainder of his life preaching the Gospel tirelessly to the Gentiles of the Mediterranean world.
Paul was imprisoned and taken to Rome, where he was beheaded in the year 67.
In a sermon in the year 395, St. Augustine of Hippo said of Saints Peter and Paul: ‘Both apostles share the same feast day, for these two were one; and even though they suffered on different days, they were as one. Peter went first, and Paul followed. And so we celebrate this day made holy for us by the apostles' blood. Let us embrace what they believed, their life, their labours, their sufferings, their preaching, and their confession of faith.’”
Mr Alex Hren, Head Teacher at Saint Paul’s, said: “We will gathered together as a school community to celebrate the feast of St Peter and St Paul and to reflect upon the importance of discipleship, particularly our own discipleship to carry out the Church that these two great Saints have established for us.”