St. Peter and St. Paul (d. c. 64 A.D.)
The two great pillars of the Church. Peter we know well from the Gospels of our Lord and the Acts of the Apostles. Originally named Simon, he was given the name Peter by Jesus. Peter was called from his life and livelihood as a fisherman to become a disciple and Apostle of Jesus. In the Gospels we witness Peter’s great acts of faith as well as his many blunders. However, to Peter were given the keys of the Kingdom, a sign of the royal office of Prime Minister. Peter shepherded the Church until his death in about the year 64 A.D.. Tradition holds that he was crucified upside down.
Paul we are familiar with from the Acts of the Apostles and his many inspired Epistles to the Church. Paul, also known as Saul, was an avid persecutor of Christians, that is until he encountered the Risen Lord that day on the road to Damascus. After this, Paul became one of the most zealous missionaries in the history of the Church. He now faced many persecutions himself (c.f. 2 Cor. 11:24-27), and eventually gave his life for the Gospel he believed and so preached. Tradition holds that after his second imprisonment in Rome, Paul was beheaded in about the year 64 A.D.
Grant, we pray, O Lord our God, that we may be sustained by the intercession of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, that, as through them you gave your Church the foundations of her heavenly office, so through them you may help her to eternal salvation.