22 Feb – Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, the Apostle
The feast of the Chair of St. Peter at Rome, Italy has been celebrated from the early days of the Christian era on Jan 18, in commemoration of the day when St. Peter held his first service in Rome. The feast of the Chair of St. Peter at Antioch commemorating his foundation of the See of Antioch, has also been long celebrated at Rome, on Feb 22. At each place a chair (cathedra) which the Apostle had used while presiding at Mass was venerated.
- Patron Saint Index
This feast has been kept in Rome since the fourth century, as a symbol of the unity of the Church.
- The Weekday Missal
1 Peter 5:1-4
Now I have something to tell your elders: I am an elder myself, and a witness to the sufferings of Christ, and with you I have a share in the glory that is to be revealed. Be the shepherds of the flock of God that is entrusted to you: watch over it, not simply as a duty but gladly, because God wants it; not for sordid money, but because you are eager to do it. Never be a dictator over any group that is put in your charge, but be an example that the whole flock can follow. When the chief shepherd appears, you will be given the crown of unfading glory.
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi he put this question to his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say he is John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ ‘But you,’ he said ‘who do you say I am?’ Then Simon Peter spoke up, ‘You are the Christ,’ he said ‘the Son of the living God.’ Jesus replied, ‘Simon son of Jonah, you are a happy man! Because it was not flesh and blood 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 Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.’
“And upon this rock I will build my Church.”
The world has been faced with a lot of unpleasant news lately. The devastating bush fires in Australia, the conflict between Iran and USA, all-time hottest temperature in Antarctica, and the one that’s hitting closest to home, the proliferation of the COVID-19 virus.
On 14 February, our Archbishop made a very tough decision — to suspend all public masses indefinitely, so that we Catholics can be responsible in playing our part to contain the spread of this virus. My WhatsApp messages were going off non-stop that Friday evening, people forwarding messages and hearsay, everyone speculating the authenticity of the message. The catholic.sg website was crashing probably from the sheer numbers of people trying to log on at the same time.
Until the news was confirmed on the various official channels – Facebook, Telegram, and the website was also finally restored. Many, including myself, were somewhat in disbelief and shock. Cancellation of masses was unheard of, at least in my time. It must not have been easy for the Church to come to this difficult but necessary decision.
I was feeling rather sad and lost that suddenly we would be unable to attend mass and receive the Eucharist. Perhaps we have been taking the privilege and ease of having Mass for granted. There are those in other countries who don’t have this same privilege as us in Singapore — to celebrate mass daily so easily and frequently. Perhaps having this privilege taken away from us is what we need to remember the sanctity and better appreciate the beauty of the mass. Is it even more fitting that the Lenten season is around the corner, a season of penance and contemplation? Absence can sometimes bring us more time, clarity and renewal.
Fr Joachim wrote a very apt and beautiful prayer which I would like to share:
When we lose something dear to us, give us the grace to appreciate what we had.
When we lose something important and not miss it, give us the grace to rediscover its importance and yearn for it again.
When it is something so important that we cannot have, after losing it, give us the grace to appreciate that God is never restricted by circumstances to still give what is necessary for us, for grace abounds when all else may fail.
Most of all, we may lose everything, but let us never lose our God.
(Today’s Oxygen by Kristel Wang)
Prayer: Dear Jesus, we pray for the strength and courage in these trying times. Help us not to be fearful or paranoid, but to cling onto your truth. Grant us the grace to continue to be your faithful servants, even without being able to physically attend mass and receive the Eucharist, but to make an act of spiritual communion every week.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Heavenly Father, for giving us the opportunity to see rainbows through the rain. Thank you for the graces that abound in us in the difficult times. Amen.