The Catholic Church (continued)
   
 
The Annunciation, Murillo
 
After the first sin of Adam and Eve, God promised them that He would send them a Savior. This promise was constantly recalled by the prophets and awaited by the people of Israel. Isaiah says: "A virgin will conceive and bear a son that will be named Emmanuel" (God with us) (Is. 7,14). In order to fulfill His promise, God sent the angel Gabriel to a virgin called Mary and announced to her that she would conceive through the power of the Holy Spirit and bear a child to be named Jesus, who would be the Son of God. That's precisely what happened and Jesus was born in Bethlehem. He lived on earth for 33 years. Through His teachings and miracles He gave us a message of salvation as the Father had entrusted Him. In order to carry on His work, He established a church that would be catholic (universal) based on the 12 disciples whom he named Apostles and He designated Peter as their head. Soon after, He died on a cross and offered His life to the Father for the salvation of the world.
   
On the third day He rose, appeared many times to His disciples, and 50 days after His resurrection He sent the Holy Spirit to strengthen them in their work to proclaim the Gospel to people of every race, tongue and nation. This is the reason why the church founded by Christ has from ancient times been called Catholic. Peter was named head of the Church by Christ: "You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against her" (Mat. 16, 18). Christ also instructed Peter to tend His flock: "Feed my sheep" (John 21, 15). Peter acted always as head of the Church in Jerusalem, Antioch and finally Rome, where he was martyred. He was the first bishop of Rome and he has been succeeded by others who are given the name of Pope. To date, there have been 266 Popes (bishops of Rome) whose names and years of pontificate are given later in this section.
   
Christ the Teacher