St Peter Martyr 29-April (& the Peter Martyr palms)

Also called Peter of Verona, an inquisitor and martyr. Peter was born at Verona, Italy, in 1205. Both of his parents were Catharists, a heresy that denied God created the material world. Even so, Peter was educated at a Catholic school and later at the University of Bologna. While in Bologna, Peter was accepted into the Dominican Order by St. Dominic.

He developed into a great preacher, and was well known for his inspiring sermons in the Lombardy region. In addition, around the year 1234, he was appointed by Pope Gregory IX as inquisitor of Northern Italy, where many Catharists lived. Peter’s preaching attracted large crowds, but as inquisitor he made many enemies.

In 1252, while returning from Como to Milan, he was murdered by a Catharist assassin at the age of forty-six. The following year, he was canonized by Pope Innocent IV.

Although his parents were members of a heretical sect, St. Peter of Verona was strong in his Catholic Faith. However, his faithfulness to the Gospel message in his preaching as a Dominican, brought about much opposition, and eventually Peter paid with his life for preaching the truth. One of the hazards of preaching and living the Gospel is that we must be considered undesirable according to worldly values. With faith in the Father, and as his children, we are called to stand firm and never waver from the truth in the face of death. Canonized the year after his death by Pope Innocent IV, he was also named the patron saint of inquisitors. Since 1969, his cult has been locally confined. His feast day is April 29th.

The Palm Blessing (editor note- I’ve personally seen these work.  Years ago I had palms blessed on his feast day.  We had a tornado warning pop up right at noon (minutes after I walked out of the church) & was able to pass out a number of palms to friends around town. The next day I heard others (who didn’t know about the palms) say “that storm seemed to go around us” as a tornado hit the opposites sides of the town which I passed out the palms.  Where I am currently located there is a high risk of hail damage.  All around me has been hit with damaging hail whereas my area has only received one hail ‘storms’ and it was very small hail & never any damage.

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