by Patricia Mathson
Celebrating Saint Peter Damian
Feast day: February 21
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Peter was born in 1007 and lived with his family in Italy. His parents died when he was a child, so he went to stay with an older brother who treated him badly. Another brother, a priest, found out and helped Peter get an education. Peter was a good student and eventually became a university teacher.
Becomes a Monk
Peter decided to serve God as a priest. In 1035, he was ordained a Catholic priest and became a Benedictine monk. He took the name Damian after the brother who helped him. As a monk, Father Peter Damian spent hours in prayer.
Prays the Psalms
Father Peter Damian prayed the psalms each day to give praise to God. He also studied the Scriptures. People liked to hear him preach the Good News of Jesus Christ. Father Peter Damian reminded priests that they were to be examples of faith for others. He spoke out when he saw something that wasn’t right.
Peacemaker for the Pope
The Pope appointed him as a bishop and then a cardinal. He was sent as the Pope’s representative when there were difficult situations, and he acted as a peacemaker between various groups. Father Peter Damian died in 1072 and soon afterward was honored as a saint.
What Can We Do?
* Let’s think carefully about Father Peter Damian’s life. Why did he live with his older brother? Who came forward to help him? Who are people in our lives who help us? What did Peter do as a monk? Why is it important for all of us to pray? What did the Pope send Peter to do? What special qualities did Father Peter Damian have that suited him to do what the Pope asked of him?
* Let’s learn to pray the Psalms. Here are some psalms that we can pray, write down, decorate, and display for others to be inspired to pray: “My God, in you I trust” (Psalm 25:2); “Lord, show me your way” (Psalm 27:11); “O God, hear my prayer” (Psalm 54:4); “I will praise the Lord with all my heart” (Psalm 111:1).
* Let’s be peacemakers in our own lives. We can make a list of ways in which we can be peacemakers: Show respect to others. Forgive someone. Tell a trusted adult if someone is being bullied. Listen to what others have to say. Learn about other cultures. Don’t judge others. Pray for peace.
Lord Jesus, help us to follow you. May we tell others the Good News about you, as St. Peter Damian did. May we be peacemakers in our lives, following the example of this holy saint. Amen.
Patricia Mathson has many years of experience in faith formation as a DRE and holds a MRE degree from the University of Dallas. She is the children’s ministry coordinator at Hope Family Center in Des Moines, IA. She is the author of many books including Plant the Seed: Sharing the Gospel with Children (Liguori Publications).
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This article was written by the Catechist Staff and appeared in Catechist magazine, May 2013.
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