VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI has declared June 2008-June 2009 the year of St. Paul in celebration of the 2,000th anniversary of the saint's birth.
The Pope decreed the year in a vespers celebration held at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.
The Holy Father explained during his homily: "This 'Pauline Year' will take place in a special way in Rome, where for 2,000 years under the papal altar of this basilica, lies the tomb that according to experts and undisputed tradition has conserved the remains of the apostle Paul."
The Pontiff said: "In the papal basilica and Benedictine abbey attached to it, there can take place a series of liturgical, cultural and ecumenical events, as well as various pastoral and social initiatives, all of them inspired by Pauline spirituality."
Special attention can also be given to pilgrims who from various places will want to go to the tomb of the Apostle in a penitential way in order to find spiritual benefits."
Benedict XVI explained that this year must have an important "ecumenical dimension."
"The Apostle of the Gentiles, who dedicated himself to the spreading of the good news to all peoples, spent himself for the unity and harmony of all Christians," the Pope said.
"May he guide us and protect us in this bimillenary celebration," he added, "helping us to advance in the humble and sincere search for the full unity of all the members of the mystical body of Christ."Here is a great practice that I found online to get to know this great saint better:
A 30-Day Walk With Saint Paul
Prayer: Dear Holy Spirit, come into every part of my being and make it a temple for Jesus Christ, to the glory of the Father. Pray for me, Saint Paul to be a worthy instrument of the Gospel. Amen.
Step 1: Please observe silence for at least two minutes asking the Holy Spirit to meet you where you are now.
Step 2: Read God's word from Saint Paul or the Acts of the Apostles. You may repeat what you have read once or twice.
Step 3: Meditate on the word, words or phrases and sentences that touched you.
Step 4: Name the action to be taken.
Step 5: Ask the Holy Spirit to help you put into action what He wants of you today.
Step 6: Please feel free to write some of the above in your journal at the close of the day.
Day 1: Love of God, Romans 5: 8-10
Day 2: Love of Neighbor, Romans 13:8-10
Day 3: Reconciliation, 2 Corinthians 5:19-20
Day 4: Sin and grace, Romans 3: 23-24
Day 5: Faith, Romans 3: 25-26
Day 6: Hope, Romans 5: 5
Day 7: Joy, Philippians 4:4
Day 8: Peace, Philippians 4: 8-9
Day 9: Mission, Romans 10: 14-15
Day 10: Baptism, Galatians 3:27-28
Day 11: New life, 2 Corinthians 5: 16-17
Day 12: Patience, 1 Corinthians 13: 4
Day 13: Kindness, Titus 3: 4-7
Day 14: Faithfulness, 1 Thessalonians 5:23-25
Day 15: Family, Ephesians 3: 14-18
Day 16: Humility, Philippians 2: 5-8
Day 17: Gentleness, 1 Thessalonians 2: 6-9
Day 18: Self-control: Romans 8: 14-17
Day 19: Resurrection, 1 Corinthians 15: 20-21
Day 20: Wisdom, Colossians 1: 9-10
Day 21: Counsel, Romans 11: 33-36
Day 22: Fear of the Lord, 2 Corinthians 7: 1
Day 23: Understanding, Colossians 2: 1-3
Day 24: Knowledge, Philippians 3: 7-9
Day 25: Unity: 1 Corinthians 3: 5-9
Day 26: Gospel: Romans 1:16
Day 27: Death: Romans 6:19-23
Day 28: Freedom: Galatians 5: 13-14
Day 29: Persecution, Romans 8: 35-39
Day 30: Prayer, Acts 16: 25-31