Sts. Peter and Paul

29th June

Sts. Peter and Paul are often referred to as the ‘Pillars of the Church’ because both were key apostles in the foundation of Christianity.
A faithful way to celebrate the feast of these saints could be to spend a short time thinking about the lives of these two remarkable men and to bring these two personalities to the children as real people, not just images in statues and paintings.
The children would probably already know several facts about them. Let us spend some time with the children to piece together their information so that they can visualise them as real men.

Saint Peter

Peter was a loveable man, impetuous at times but also practical. However he showed weakness under pressure! He was a married man, a fisherman from Bethsaida in Galilee. Jesus called him to be one of his closest followers, an apostle. He gave him a special mission, changing his name from Simon to Peter which means ‘rock’ because he was meant to be part of the foundation of God’s Kingdom on earth.
He was with Jesus during very important moments of His public ministry, as he travelled with Him in Galilee and Judea.He saw Jesus performing miracles, he heard him teaching the people about loving God and one another. He was with Him in the Transfiguration, at the Last Supper, in the Garden of Gethsemani. In spite of his close relationship with Jesus, he also denied knowing Him and seems to be absent when Jesus died on the cross!

However he was the first to witness the empty tomb after the resurrection and declared his repentance to the Risen Jesus, proclaiming his love for his Master, pledging his belief in Him. Jesus did not reproach him but He only asked Peter if he loved Him! By the power of the Holy Spirit he was the first to preach about Jesus to the crowds at Pentecost!

Eventually, he went to Rome where he was crucified when Christians were persecuted by Emperor Nero.

Saint Paul

Paul  was younger than St Peter. He was not a fisherman. His trade was making tents. He was an intelligent man, affectionate in nature, loyal and courageous. He was a leader dedicated to his mission of spreading the belief in Jesus Christ. That is why he is considered as an apostle even though he was not one of the twelve apostles. He is considered as the greatest Christian missionary as he travelled from country to country around the Mediterrean founding Christian communities.

Quite often, St. Paul is connected to the concept of conversion, when from a Pharisee who persecuted the followers of Jesus, he himself believed in Him and pledged his life for Him. Paul’s conversion was a transformation. He was a staunch believer in the Jewish beliefs, the Law handed down by Moses, so he perceived Christians as a threat to this belief. His outlook changed when he ‘met’ Jesus on the road to Damascus.

His challenge was to convince the Apostles and Jewish Christians that non-Jews, known as gentiles, could be baptised without having to follow Jewish rules first.

He was the ‘key’ person who “built the bridge” between the Jewish religion of the Old Testament and the Christianity of the New Testament. His letters in the New Testament provide profound teaching about Christianity. In his last voyage, he was shipwrecked in Malta, on his way to Rome, where he was beheaded during the Christian persecution of Emperor Nero.

One could make use of a Children’s Bible (or search for internet sites) to illustrate anecdotes from the lives of these two saints.
- Let the children express what they admire from the lives of these two personalities. 

  • From St. Peter, elicit the importance, not only of saying ‘sorry’ for things that we should not have done, but also when we do not do what we should have done.
  • talk about the readiness to accept sincerely the ‘sorry’ of those who hurt us, without continuing to harbour grudges and negative feelings towards them.
  • From St. Paul, encourage the children to appreciate how Paul’s life changed when he met Jesus. He proclaimed Him to all people without any distinction of race, colour or belief.
  • Let them suggest what they would do if they had to meet Jesus!
  • Identify ONE person in their group (school, doctrine class, youth group) that they have never talked to because they feel he/she is different. Decide on how to approach her/him. ( When social distancing prevents us from doing so physically. . . find other ways!)
  • For Family Prayer Time, dedicate a quiet time, just for a few minutes. Call it “Meeting Jesus face-to-face”. Prompt a suggestion : “Jesus I want to be your friend”
  • Sts. Peter and Paul dedicated their lives to let people know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that He is the Light that shines in our lives. We will be spreading His Light when we love one another as He loves us.

SING Shine Jesus Shine.

How to use this space

God speaks to us in many ways, including through the Saints of the Church. Here you will find useful background and activities to better understand the holy life, helping you to connect the saints to daily life in a meaningful way.