Saints Peter and Paul are the two foundations on which the early Church is built. Peter is chosen by Christ to be the head of the Apostles, the first Pope. For two thousand years, Peter’s successor as the Bishop of Rome has been seen as the leader of the universal Church.
Paul, originally a persecutor of the Church, is knocked to the ground on his way to Damascus and confronted by Christ about his actions against Christians. Christ then calls and commissions him to preach the Gospel to all the gentiles (those who are not Jews). Using his Roman name of Paul, he is responsible for bringing the Good News of Jesus to many lands and peoples.
Both Peter and Paul give their lives for Christ—Peter by crucifixion and Paul by beheading. They both die around A.D. 64 during the persecution of the Emperor Nero. They serve as reminders that we need to preach the Gospel everywhere we go (like Paul) while respecting the authority of the Church (Peter).
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