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.
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By Justin Soutar
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