Periodically, the Catholic church sets aside an entire year to encourage all of us to focus on some particular and important aspect of our faith. This year, we are given an opportunity to honor one of the great saints and a missionary of the early church, the apostle Paul.
In order to commemorate the 2,000th anniversary of his birth, Christians all over the world will celebrate “The Year of St. Paul” from June 2008 to June 2009.
As Pope Benedict XVI said in his announcement, this special “Pauline” year is an invitation to join with “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.”
Here is some information about Saint Paul:
• St. Paul was born about 8 A.D., in what is now Turkey.
• Paul was a Pharisee, and the son of a Pharisee.
• Saul was his Jewish name, Paul was his Roman name.
• Paul was a tentmaker by profession.
• The letters, or Epistles of St. Paul make up one-third of the New Testament of the Bible.
• Fourteen books of the New Testament are attributed to Paul’s letters.
• Paul was beheaded outside the walls of Rome during the reign of Nero, probably between 65 A.D. and 67 A.D.
• Tradition always maintained that Paul was buried where the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Wall now stands. Current archeological evidence confirms this tradition.
On a personal note, I much prefer St. Paul Outside the Wall to St. Peters in Rome. It is beautiful, peaceful, and there are very few tourists.
I ask your prayers for good growing weather for our farmers and gardeners, and for good weather for the Higher Ground Christian Music Festival.