Tilapia is a Catholic fan favorite come Lent and a mainstay on the menus of Friday fish fries everywhere. An abundant fish in the Sea of Galilee, many are unaware Tilapia played an important role in Christian history, becoming known as Saint Peter’s fish.
In Biblical times, tilapia provided a plentiful source of nutritious sustenance when fresh food was otherwise hard to come by. Known for spawning in abundance, they swim together staying close to the surface, able to be caught with relative ease.
Tilapia was so abundant in the Sea of Galilee, that any fisherman who cast their line was bound to reel one in – a fisher of men is no exception.
“Go to the sea, drop in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up. Open its mouth and you will find a coin worth twice the temple tax. Give that to them for me and for you.” – Matthew 17:27
Pious Catholic tradition holds that when Christ commanded Peter to pay the temple tax with a coin from the fish’s mouth, it was none other than the tilapia he pulled from the sea. The hallmark spots of the Galilean tilapia are said to be where Peter picked up the fish.
It is also likely that it was Tilapia that Jesus fed the crowds during the multiplication of the Fishes and Loaves, what He ate after the Ressurection in Luke 24, and what He cooked for breakfast for the Apostles in John 21.
Known today as Saint Peter’s fish, tilapia is one of the world’s most popular and the livelihood of the farmers that raise them, just as tilapia was the livelihood of the fisherman that caught them in Biblical times.
Sadly, many across the globe today are not blessed with skills like farming to provide basic needs for themselves, their families, and their communities that we often take for granted today. You can make a difference and impact, helping to provide job skills for those who need it most through a charitable donation with MISSIO!
Launched by Pope Francis himself, MISSIO is a new and innovative Catholic crowd-funding platform that allows you to directly provide aid and assistance to the poorest areas around the world.
With MISSIO, you can directly support the works of Catholic missionaries in the poorest and most desperate areas of the world. You can help children in Cameroon who have lost their parents to the AIDS epidemic attend agricultural school, learning how to farm fish to provide food for their communities and rise out out of poverty. You can also send general support for the Pope’s missions around the world.
Choose a mission of Pope Francis knowing that 100% of your donation will go directly to that cause. Share the mission on social media so others can support the projects also.
MISSIO is powered by The Pontifical Mission Societies, the Catholic Church’s official support organization for overseas missions since 1822, providing for a global network of people who are making a difference for communities in need around the globe.