Chair of St. Peter
Feast Day: February 22
St. Peter was the prince of the apostles and the first pope. Jesus said to him, "You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church" (Matthew 16:18). The name 'Peter' means rock.
After Jesus went back to heaven, St. Peter preached the Gospel. He guided the small but growing Christian community. At first, Peter worked hard in Jerusalem and in Antioch, two big cities of the east. Later, he went to preach the Gospel in Rome, the capital of the world.
How would Peter carry out his great mission for the Lord? Jesus, his Master had been crucified but then had risen from the dead. Who would believe that?
The evils of the Roman Empire that did not believe in the living God would drown his voice no matter how dedicated he may be.
But the Holy Spirit was alive in Peter. He boldly took up the ministry Jesus had given to him. Never again would Peter deny his Lord. Never again would Peter put his own personal well-being before the good of the Church.
The feast of St. Peter's Chair at Rome reminds us that St. Peter started the Christian community in that city. The special chair is a symbol of the authority that was given to him by Jesus. Kings of old sat on thrones and ruled. Peter's chair is a symbol of his authority from Jesus to rule the Church.
St. Peter was put to death and died a martyr for his faith in Jesus, but down through the ages there has always been a bishop of Rome. He is the pope. The pope rules the whole Church, as St. Peter did, in Jesus' name. We call the successor of St. Peter the Holy Father.
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