|Women seeking to conceive, expectant mothers and sick children
|January 23, 1740 by Pope Clement XII
|May 24, 1807 by Pope Pius VII
St. Peter, who was also known as Simon Peter of Cephas, is considered the first Pope. Despite his papacy, Peter had humble beginnings and became one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He was ordained by Jesus in the “Rock of My Church” written in Matthew 16:17-18, which says, “Jesus replied, ‘Simon son of Jonah, you are a blessed man!
Because it was no human agency that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven. So I now say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my community. And the gates of the underworld can never overpower it.'”
Peter was a native of Bethsaida, near Lake Tiberias and was the son of Jonah. He and his brother Andrew were fishermen on Lake Genesareth. The Bible chronicles when the brothers met Jesus in Luke chapter 5, which reads:
“Now it happened that he was standing one day by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the crowd pressing round him listening to the word of God, when he caught sight of two boats at the water’s edge. The fishermen had got out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats — it was Simon’s — and asked him to put out a little from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.
When he had finished speaking he said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep water and pay out your nets for a catch.’ Simon replied, ‘Master, we worked hard all night long and caught nothing, but if you say so, I will pay out the nets.’ And when they had done this they netted such a huge number of fish that their nets began to tear, so they signaled to their companions in the other boat to come and help them; when these came, they filled both boats to sinking point.
When Simon Peter saw this he fell at the knees of Jesus saying, ‘Leave me, Lord; I am a sinful man.’ For he and all his companions were completely awestruck at the catch they had made; so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were Simon’s partners. But Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid; from now on it is people you will be catching.’ Then, bringing their boats back to land they left everything and followed him.”
Just like that, Peter followed Jesus and his life was changed forever. Though he was one of the first disciples called to follow Jesus and eventually became the spokesman for the group, Peter is known for his “little faith.”
In Matthew 14, Jesus and his disciples came ashore, where a large crowd waited. Jesus healed the sick and by the end of the day, his disciples told him to tell everyone to go to the villages for food but Jesus performed a miracle and made five loaves of bread and two fish feed the group of five-hundred people. Following the miracle, Jesus told the disciples to take their boat to the other side of a nearby river while he sent the crowds away.
After he bid farewell to the throngs of people, he prayed by himself in the hills. As he prayed, the boat the disciples were on was experiencing rough waves and “In the fourth watch of the night,” Jesus approached their boat as he walked on the water. When his disciples spied Jesus walking on the water, they were afraid but Jesus called to them and said, “Courage! It’s me! Don’t be afraid.” Peter answered “Lord … if it is you, tell me to come to you across the water.”
Jesus told him to come so Peter began to walk toward Jesus on the surface of the water. It wasn’t until he noticed the wind that he began to fear and cried “Lord … save me!” Jesus touched him and said, “You have so little faith … why did you doubt?”