Catholic churches all over the world are usually open to the public and all are welcome to participate in Church services. The Catholic Church has had a long tradition of accepting anyone to membership and its religious services without regard to color or race, age or sex. It sends missionaries to all corners of the world to share the Good News of Jesus.
Paul, well-schooled in Jewish traditions, had been an ardent persecutor of the early Church. He witnessed the martyrdom of the first martyr St. Stephen. Struck down from his horse and made blind, he became the zealous Apostle to the Gentiles.
Sts. Peter and Paul were the original pillars of the Church who moved the Church to become the universal Church that it is today. Both died as martyrs in Rome in witness to their faith in Jesus about thirty years after the death of Jesus: Peter crucified upside down where the St. Peter's Basilica stands; Paul martyred by the sword where St. Paul's Basilica is.Peter, a fisherman called by Jesus himself, was the first Bishop of Rome and head of the Church. Starting with Jews as the first disciples of Christ and the first members of the Church, the Church soon spread to the Gentiles and the world, under the leadership of Paul, a former persecutor of the Church.
Though God had chosen a particular people to prepare for the Messiah and to receive the Good News, God's Good News was meant for all mankind of all times and places.
These two pillars of the Church had their distinct personalities and gifts. Peter was fiery and impetuous. Though he vowed he was willing to die for Jesus, he betrayed him three times before simple servant-maids. After the resurrection, Peter re-affirmed his love and devotion to the Lord who gave him charge of his Church.
Sts. Peter and Paul remind us of our own failures and deficiencies and challenge us with their zeal and love of the Lord and of his Church. God calls each of us to be instruments in proclaiming the Good News to the world. We ask them to pray for us that we may live in true love and faithful service of the Lord and his Church.