Witnesses of Easter: the mission of St Peter (and of Christians)

Witnesses of Easter: the mission of St Peter (and of Christians)

On Saturday 24 February, in St Peter’s church in Tiberias, the Custos of the Holy Land presided over the Solemn Mass of the Chair of St Peter

The small church of St Peter in Tiberias, a few yards away from the Lake of the same name, along the banks of which Jesus called and taught his disciples, was filled with faithful on Saturday 24 February for the solemn celebration of the Chair of St Peter.

The Chair

With this feast-day, the Church remembers the particular “mission as master and shepherd conferred by Christ on Peter, appointed by him, in his person and his successors, as the  principle and the visible foundation of the Church” (Roman Missal).  The Chair is the fixed seat of the Pope and of the bishops and is in the mother church of each local church (hence the name “cathedral”). It is the symbol of the authority of the bishop of the local Church and of the Pope in the Universal Church, like Peter in the group of disciples.

Peter’s mission

The Mass was presided over by the Custos of the Holy Land, fra Francesco Patton, who in his homily  underlined the two tasks of St Peter: to witness the Easter mystery and to take care of the flock of God. “Before the whole world, Peter announces the Easter mystery: the sufferings of Christ and his glory. For the Church, carries out his service as guide with the personal testimony of his life and his word. We have to pray for Peter and for his successor so that he is faithful to this twofold mission.” We too, he exhorted,  “have to step into Peter’s shoes and become, like him, witnesses of Easter, witnesses of hope.”

The mission of Chritians

There was a particular participation in the Mass – with many faithful who followed the Mass from outside -, with the presence of groups from the parish of Tiberias, from the neighbouring villages, but also from Nazareth and Jerusalem. A representation of the Hebrew-speaking Catholic community and the members of the Koinonia Giovanni Battista was also present, who are entrusted with the care of the shrine and of the parish. At the end of the celebration, there was a short procession outside the church: the Custos incensed the statue of St Peter - a copy of the one in St Peter’s Basilica in Rome – and gave the final blessing. The day came to an end with  a moment of conviviality in the parish hall, together with the faithful.

Marinella Bandini


Download the brochure of the Custody of the Holy Land HERE to get to know the Shrine of Tiberias better.