Saint Brigid Religious Education
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West Hartford, CT 06110

The Apostles

Peter "Simon" ~ Andrew ~ James the Greater ~ John ~ Philip ~ Bartholomew
Matthew ~ Thomas ~ James the Less ~ Jude "Thaddeus" ~ Simon "Simon the Zealot"
Judas Iscariot ~ Matthias (replaced Judas) ~ Paul ~ Luke ~

The original twelve apostles may be considered, with one exception (Judas), to be some of the most fortunate people that ever lived. Often referred to simply as "The Twelve," they were chosen by Jesus Christ Himself, and actually lived and worked with Him during His Ministry. They followed Jesus Christ, learned from Him, and were trained by Him. They were ordinary men whom God used in an extraordinary manner. Added to the list of 12 are Matthias, who replaced Judas Iscariot, and Paul, Luke and Mark, writers of the Gospel.

We know personal and occupational information about them as well. There may have been three sets of brothers among them, Peter and Andrew, James and John, Matthew and James the less (both referred to as sons of Alphaeus). Some have surmised that Jude and Simon were brothers also.

We know from John’s Gospel (21:1-3) that at least six of them were fishermen and fishing was a thriving and lucrative industry in Galilee. Bethsaida, on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, may have been the hometown of five of the apostles.

We know that Matthew was a tax collector (also a profitable business) with an office at Capernaum, right on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus spent a great deal of time during his public ministry in Capernaum. We do not know the occupations of the other three, but we do know that they are referred to as Zealots, a political group determined to get rid of the Romans.

These men were especially chosen by Jesus to take his message to the whole world. They were with him from the beginning of his public ministry, he sent them out two-by-two to preach the need for repentance and to cure the sick, he made little retreats with them to give them special instruction, he celebrated the Last Supper and the institution of the Eucharist with them the night before he died, they were with him in the garden of Gethsemane at the time of his arrest, they were among the first witnesses of the resurrection and received his gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The Catholic Church still base their authority on the premise of Apostolic Succession (ecclesiastical authority derived from being founded by an apostle). The Apostles were also attributed with writing The Gospels.

From these 12 apostles, the first communities of the Church began to gather and to grow and then to change the world. After witnessing Jesus' resurrection and ascension into heaven, the Holy Spirit transformed the apostles into powerful men of God who turned the world upside down. What was the change? The twelve apostles had “been with Jesus”!

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