St. Peter, a fisherman on the sea of Galilee, was one of Jesus’ twelve apostles. Changing his name from Simon to Peter or “Rock,” Jesus told Peter he was the rock upon whom he would build his Church and that he would give him the keys to the kingdom. When Jesus was arrested, Peter denied him three times, but afterward wept bitterly over his enormous betrayal of Jesus, for whom he had promised anything, even death. After the Resurrection, Jesus forgave Peter and asked him three times if he loved him. Hearing his answer, “Yes Lord, you know I love you,” the Lord instructed him to go and care for his people. Filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter was the first Pope of the Church and began to preach about Jesus everywhere. Eventually he ended up in Rome, where he died a martyr’s death as leader of the Christian Church. Tradition says he was crucified upside-down because he considered himself unworthy to die in the same manner as Jesus. There is much to learn from St. Peter’s story, and he has many qualities worthy of imitation such as strength, faith, repentance, courage, and leadership.
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