This is a year when we can be renewed in the Holy Spirit by truly delving more deeply into the writings of St. Paul, by studying his life a little bit more and by coming to a better understanding of the great challenges and obstacles that St. Paul faced as he moved Christianity from being only part of the Jewish religion into a religion open to the whole world, what was known then as the Gentile World.
St. Paul was tent maker
St. Paul was actually a tent maker by profession and from the Pharisee party in his Jewish religion and was very adamant in the early years about persecuting Christians. In fact, the Scriptures tell us that he was present at the time of the martyrdom of St. Stephen.
Through a very powerful conversion experience which completely reorientated his entire life, he converted to the person and the mission of Jesus Christ and began writing letters to all the communities where Christianity was growing. Those letters include Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus and Philemon.
A model of evangelization
St. Paul is really a model of evangelization as he was truly on fire with the Holy Spirit to spread the Good News and eager to save souls for Christ having had that very earth-shattering experience of the person of Jesus Christ Risen from the dead.
During the remainder of this year leading up to June 28, 2009, I have asked several parishes that are consecrated to the name of St. Paul to offer themselves as pilgrimage sites for anyone in the diocese or anywhere who would like to come and say some special prayers in a church dedicated to St. Paul.
The Holy Father has granted special indulgences for this purpose and special graces will certainly come to any of those who make the effort to go and to pray in the churches dedicated to St. Paul, asking for renewal in the church, a renewal in your families, an opportunity to pray to St. Paul to bring back children who have fallen away from the faith and to heal wounds between and among family members and church members.
Join in observance
As your bishop, I’m very grateful to our Holy Father for giving us this opportunity to be renewed in the spirit of St. Paul and I ask you to join me and so many others in the diocese (including many of the priests who are preaching about St. Paul with fervor and zeal) in celebrating the life and writings of St. Paul. May God bless you in this year of journey with the writings and the person of St. Paul.