By Fr. Tirso Villaverde


..."The chair of St. Peter at the Vatican "

...continued from Home Page

This authority was bestowed upon St. Peter after he made his famous profession of faith. In Matthew 16, Jesus asks his disciples who people say that he is. St. Peter is the one who correctly responds that Jesus is the Messiah. It is at this point when Jesus says to St. Peter, “You are ‘Rock’ and on this rock I will build my church, and the jaws of death shall not prevail against it. I will entrust to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus then explains that St. Peter will have the authority to act in the name of God Himself in matters between heaven and earth.


For us Catholics, the authority Jesus gave to St. Peter essentially made him into the first pope. The word “pope” comes from the Latin “pontifix” which simply means “bridge.” As a bridge, St. Peter became the connection between the Church on earth and the Church in heaven. He became the connection that united the Church with Jesus himself who is the true head of his Church. All other popes who have followed after St. Peter are entrusted with the same responsibility. St. Peter was called to provide the People of God with a direct access and link to the Savior.

As every Christian knows very well, St. Peter did not always do this to the best of his ability. Immediately after his famous profession of faith, St. Peter is addressed by Jesus with the words, “Get behind me Satan!” St. Peter did not want Jesus to suffer and die in the way he had predicted. Later on in the life of St. Peter, we also know that he had denied knowing Jesus right before his Master was led to the crucifixion. St. Peter was a human being who had flaws and committed errors.

Likewise, all of the popes after him are also flawed human beings who are also capable of making errors. Still, the Chair of St. Peter encased in the reliquary at the Vatican stands as a reminder that Jesus entrusted to St. Peter—and the popes who have shared in his ministry—the awesome responsibility of being a bridge that provides the People of God with a direct access to the Savior.

The Catholic Church celebrates a feast on February 22nd in honor of the Chair of St. Peter. Even for those who may not believe in the relic enshrined in the Vatican, the authority given to St. Peter by Jesus is a reminder that God has chosen all of Jesus’ followers to be instruments through which God’s People might come to know God’s own love, presence, and action in their lives.

Again, even if the wooden chair in the reliquary at St. Peter’s Basilica may not have been the actual chair upon which St. Peter sat, it is still an ancient artifact that points to the reality that the Church will forever be connected to Jesus the Savior through the ministry and mission of St. Peter the first “bridge.”


The Sto. Nino Fiesta was celebrated at St. Lambert Church in Skokie Jan. 20 with a mass and a dinner-cultural presentation. Members of the Skokie family are shown dancing the Sinulog led by Emer Ducduc (Left). (PINOY Photo)

“Pit Senor!” The lady faithfuls dance with their Sto. Nino statues including Baby Vercelles, Lourdes Villaluna, and Lou Alog simulating the waves that brought Christianity to Cebu where the original shrine is kept. (PINOY Photo)




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