Greetings in Christ!
I want to start this off with a reminder for us all. Next week is a big one for our Sacred Heart family. We begin our massive project of repairing the floors all through the Church, re-carpeting and all sorts of yummy goodness, including work on the entrances and exits. Because of that, the only masses we will celebrate from July 2-6 is on July 4th at St. Mary on the Lake at 9:00am. We will pray mass together that day and ask God to bless our country and help us to grow closer to Him.
The Catholic Church also offers us a pretty big celebration this week: On Friday, we celebrate the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul. This is the day when we remember the martyrdom of both of these extraordinary men. It’s unclear why this date is picked: its either because one of them died on that date or because it is the day their relics were moved to Rome…we are not sure which.
Either way, its a time to remember their deaths and honor the faith, hope, love and courage that gave them the strength to lay down their lives for Our Faith.
St. Peter was crucified upside down on Vatican Hill in Rome in the year 64 AD, during the reign of Nero.
In 1950 human bones were discovered beneath the alter of St. Peter’s Basilica and many claimed they belonged to Peter. In 1953 an excavation found St. Peter’s tomb in Jerusalem bearing his previous name Simon, as well as the tombs of the other apostles, Mary, and Jesus.
In the 1960s, discarded debris from the excavation beneath St. Peter’s Basilica were re-examined and were identified as the bones of a male human. This discovery caused Pope Paul VI in 1968 to announce they were likely to belong to the Apostle Peter. On November 24, 2013, Pope Francis revealed the relics of nine bone fragments for the first time in public during a Mass celebrated at St. Peter’s Square.
As for St. Paul, he was beheaded in 67AD, also by Nero. As an interesting sidenote, St. John Chrysostom wrote that Nero actually knew St. Paul personally. St. Paul’s body rests at St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome.
In 2006 National Geographic confirmed the remains were his. You can read about that discovery here:
Let’s pray to stay faithful to that which was handed on to us by the wonderful Sts. Peter and Paul!