Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Jubilee Year of St. Paul

FRIAR'S CORNER, July 6, 2008:

Pope Benedict has declared this to be a Jubilee Year of St. Paul. This special year began last Sunday with the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul and will continue until the same feast day next June. This year commemorates the 2,000th anniversary of the birth of St. Paul which historians estimate at somewhere between the years 7 and 10 A.D.

In decreeing this special year, the Pope said that St. Paul, “was set apart for the Gospel of God, to spread the announcement of divine grace that, in Christ, reconciles man with God, with himself and with others.” The Apostle of the Gentiles, said the Pope, “was anything but a gifted speaker,” and hence “the extraordinary apostolic results he was able to achieve are not to be attributed to brilliant rhetoric or to refined apologetics and missionary strategies. The success of his apostolate depended above all on his personal involvement in announcing the Gospel of Christ with total dedication to Him, a dedication that feared no risks, difficulties or persecutions.”

“From this,” he continued, “we can draw a very important lesson for all Christians: The activity of the Church is credible and effective only in as much as those who are part thereof are ready to pay their faithfulness to Christ in person. ... If such willingness is lacking, then the decisive argument of truth upon which the Church depends also fails. ... As in the beginning, today too Christ needs apostles ready to sacrifice themselves ... like St. Paul.”

So what can we do to commemorate this saint during this jubilee year? Well, the Holy Father is encouraging people to make pilgrimages to sites related to the saint. Those who make such a pilgrimage will receive a Plenary Indulgence for doing so. The trip that our parish is sponsoring in November to Italy will visit some of these sites and thus fulfill the requirements for this indulgence.

Secondly, read the holy words that God inspired St. Paul to write and are part of the New Testament. Paul is the most significant person in the New Testament, after Jesus of course. Of the 27 books of the New Testament, 13 of them are the Letters of St. Paul. The story of his conversion and his early apostolic activity makes up more than half of the Acts of the Apostles.

I suggest that we all make this a part of our spiritual journey this year. Let us all pledge to spend some time with St. Paul and get to know him better. Here is a suggested reading list by month that will take us on a wonderful journey with this great saint. I’m going to suggest starting with Acts of the Apostles to get an overview of his journey of faith and then a journey through his letters:

· July 2008: Acts of the Apostles (chapters 6-28)
· August 2008: Letter to the Romans
· September 2008: First Letter to the Corinthians
· October 2008: Second Letter to the Corinthians
· November 2008: Letter to the Galatians
· December 2008: Letter to the Ephesians
· January 2009: Letter to the Philippians
· February 2009: Letter to the Colossians
· March 2009: First Letter to the Thessalonians & Second Letter to the Thessalonians
· April 2009: First Letter to Timothy
· May 2009: Second Letter to Timothy
· June 2009: Letter to Titus & Letter to Philemon

There are also some good web resources for this year. Visit:
http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/paulineyear/
http://www.annopaolino.org/

I encourage everyone to embrace this beautiful year dedicated to St. Paul.

“So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13.13)

Love, Fr. Tom

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