St Peter

Feast Day:  29 June

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When Fr Walter Ebsworth came to Toorak in 1927 the existing chapel on the site was called St Stanislaus.  To the casual observer this could be taken as a reference to an 11th century Polish bishop and martyr,  or Stanislaus Kostka, a young Polish Jesuit saint of the 16th century.  However,  the name referred to the parish priest of South Yarra Fr Robert Stanislaus Benson.

Fr Ebsworth announced that a new and bigger and fitting parish church would have to be built to accommodate the people of the new parish and that it would be called after St Peter. At that time the only other parishes in the diocese called after St Peter were Daylesford (1861, now in Ballarat) and Epping (1911). St Peter as patron of the parish signified devotion to Peter the rock of the Church, the prince of the apostles to whom Our Lord entrusted the keys of the Kingdom of heaven.

Despite the Depression, the first part of the church was built and opened for worship in 1934.  Two of the stained glass windows placed later in the apse of the sanctuary depict St. Peter.  One window shows him in the boat with Jesus calming the waters.  The other window shows Jesus entrusting the keys to him with the famous basilica in Rome which was built over the shrine of the Saint (not to be discovered until the excavations carried out during World War II).

We have great devotion to St. Peter who is like us in so many ways. Mentioned in each of the four Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles and the First Letter to the Corinthians, with two Letters of the New Testament bearing his name, he is like us in so many ways.  By turns he is rash and steadfast, quick to deny but sincere in repentance, a questioner of the Lord’s purposes but ready to launch into the deep, a follower who became a leader, ultimately prepared to lose his life in order to gain it.

No wonder that we like St Peter, a fitting friend and patron for our parish.