Glory be to God for the Apostle Simon Peter, the first Pope of our Catholic Church. Our dear Saint Peter has been charged with this job by Jesus Himself.
His original name was Simon and he was the son of Jona. This simple man was a fisherman and he was the owner of his own boat, according to the Holy Scriptures.
Our first Pope was introduced to Jesus by the apostle Andrew, Peter's own brother. Already at this first encounter Jesus foretold that Simon's name would be changed to Cephas, which means Peter (rock).
Jesus had plans already for Peter to be the first Pope of His universal church, hence the name change. Despite his irresolute character, Peter's faith was firm and he had a deep love for Jesus.
When we read the Gospels we notice that Peter stood always at the head of Jesus's disciples. He did this since the beginning.
The Apostle Simon Peter was also very faithful to Jesus. After Jesus talked about the mystery of the reception of His body and blood many of His followers left Him.
Jesus asked the twelve disciples if they too wanted to leave Him. It was Peter who immediately answered they had nowhere to go. Peter knew deep in his heart that only Jesus had the words of Eternal Life and that's exactly what he told Him.
Peter even expressed that he believed and knew that Jesus Christ was the son of God. Jesus showed on various occasions that Peter was one of His favorite disciples.
Like I mentioned earlier, Peter had an irresolute character, but his deep love for our Lord and his firm faith in Him made up for this weakness. You can read in the Holy Scriptures how Jesus selects Peter to be His first Pope when he ordered him to feed His flock. Jesus also foretold Peter the violent death he had to suffer for his faith in Him.
After Jesus ascended into heaven, we can see immediately how Peter emerged as the recognized leader of all the disciples. He was the one who came forward after the descent of the Holy Ghost, on Pentecost.
He made his first public sermon proclaiming how our Lord Jesus Christ lived, died and how He is risen from death and lives forever more! The Holy Scriptures tell us how on that day thousands of people converted to Christ. Yes, the Catholic Church's first group of people to form the Christian Community!
Our First Pope, Saint Peter went on extensive missions, arriving at cities as far as Caesarea, Lydda and Joppe. We know how he raised Tabitha from the dead and how he baptized the first Christians.
However, during the last episode of his life, our dear Apostle Simon Peter has labored in Rome, where he died a martyr's death, just like Jesus foretold him.
Our brave and beloved Apostle Simon Peter is buried under the St. Peter's Basilica, just near the west end of a complex of mausoleums. It was Pope Paul VI who announced that Peter's relics had been identified.
So my dear sisters and brothers in Christ, if you plan to visit the Vatican City in the future, make use of this opportunity to look to St Peter's tomb to pay respect for the first Pope of Our Catholic Church!