Pope begins series of reflections on St. Paul for the saint's Jubilee Year
Vatican City, Jul 2, 2008 / 09:55 am (CNA).- Last Sunday, the Solemnity of the Apostles Peter and Paul, marked the beginning of a year dedicated to the figure and teaching of the Apostle Paul. During today’s general audience in the Paul VI Audience Hall, Pope Benedict XVI began a new series of catecheses aimed at understanding more deeply the thought of Saint Paul and its continuing relevance.
Year dedicated to St. Paul will have ecumenical dimension
Rome, Jul 2, 2007 / 08:09 am (CNA).- While preparing for the celebration of Sts. Peter and Paul in Rome, Pope Benedict XVI spoke of the importance of the Apostle Paul for Christians today and announced that the year dedicated to him will focus on ecumenism.
The Holy Father was at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls to begin the solemnity honoring the two saints who helped found the Church.
Speaking about St. Paul, the Pope said that he, "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."
Benedict also officially announced that the Church will dedicate “a special jubilee year to the Apostle Paul from June 28, 2008 to June 29, 2009, for the occasion of the 2000th anniversary of his birth, which historians place between 7 and 10 AD."
The Pope explained that the year’s events will be hosted primarily in Rome and consist of "a series of liturgical, cultural and ecumenical events, as well as pastoral and social initiatives." In addition, "special attention" will be given to penitential pilgrimages to the tomb of the Apostle while, all over the world in dioceses and places of worship dedicated to St. Paul, similar initiatives may be held.
The Holy Father highlighted the fact that the Pauline Year will be characterized by its "ecumenical dimension" because "the Apostle of the Gentiles, particularly dedicated to bringing the Good News to all peoples, concerned himself with the unity and harmony of all Christians.
"May he guide and protect us in this bi-millennial celebration," the Pope added in conclusion, "helping us to progress in a humble and sincere search for full unity among all members of the mystical Body of Christ."
CNA introduces new column for Pauline Year
Denver, Jun 30, 2008 / 08:48 am (CNA).- In celebration of the Jubilee Year of St. Paul, Catholic News Agency is pleased to announce that we have added Thomas Smith as a featured weekly columnist. Smith describes his column, “Walking with St. Paul,” as a “virtual pilgrimage with St. Paul from his time as a zealous Pharisee, to his blinding encounter with Christ, to his climactic martyrdom at the heart of the Roman Empire.”
Smith’s first column for “Walking with St. Paul,” can be found on the left-hand side of CNA’s homepage or by clicking on the following link: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/columns.php?sub_id=13
Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul links missionary and unitive dimensions, Pope says
Vatican City, Jun 29, 2008 / 10:54 am (CNA).- Before the thousands of pilgrims gathered on Sunday in St. Peter's Square, Pope Benedict XVI recalled that the missionary dimension represented by St. Paul must always be accompanied by the dimension of unity represented by St. Peter, upon whom Christ built His Church. “Christians cannot give sound witness to Christ if they are not united together,” he said.
Introducing the Sunday Angelus prayer, the Holy Father said he felt that the coincidence of the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul with the observance of Sunday is "favorable to giving greater emphasis to an extraordinary event: the Pauline Year." > Full text here
Opening Pauline Year, Pope calls faithful to listen to and follow St. Paul in today's world
Rome, Jun 28, 2008 / 02:11 pm (CNA).- During the homily at the first Vespers of the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, in which the Pauline Year was inaugurated, Pope Benedict XVI stressed that Saint Paul is still a “teacher, apostle and herald” to the world today, a saint whose experience of Christ’s love freed him to love God in return.
At 6 pm Roman time at the Roman Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls -- where the remains of the Apostle have been kept for centuries -- the Holy Father, in the company of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I and representatives of other Christian denominations, arrived in procession to the atrium. In front of the famous marble statue of St. Paul, they lit the candles that will remain burning during the entire Pauline year.
Year of St. Paul to be celebrated to mark 2000 anniversary
The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today announced that on June 28, eve of the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles, Benedict XVI will preside at the celebration of first Vespers in the basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls.
During the ceremony, the Pope will proclaim a year especially dedicated to St. Paul, to mark the 2000th anniversary of the birth of the "Apostle of the Gentiles."
According to the Vatican Radio Calendar, the year will run from June 29, 2008, to June 29, 2009.
Pauline Year to be ecumenical and full of cultural events
The Press Office of the Holy See released the schedule for the year dedicated to St. Paul. Running from June 28, 2008 to June 29, 2009, the celebration will focus on rediscovering the person of St. Paul and his teachings, improving unity amongst Christians and pilgrimages to places associated with his life.
At a press conference at the Vatican today, Cardinal Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo, the archpriest of the basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls, gave a presentation of the coming year’s events.
He remarked how when Pope Benedict proclaimed the Pauline year to commemorate the second millennium of the birth of the Apostle of the Gentiles he highlighted the ecumenical dimension of the event. St. Paul "was particularly committed to bringing the Good News to all people, and made prodigious efforts for the unity and harmony of all Christians,” the Holy Father noted.
Cardinal Montezemolo explained how the Pauline year "will provide an occasion" to undertake various activities: "rediscover the figure of the Apostle; reread the numerous Letters he sent to the first Christian communities; relive the early years of our Church; delve deeply into his rich teaching to the 'gentiles'; meditate on his vigorous spirituality of faith, hope and charity; make a pilgrimage to his tomb and to the numerous places he visited while founding the first ecclesial communities; revitalize our faith and our role in today's Church in the light of his teachings; pray and work for the unity of all Christians in a united Church".
Numerous activities are planned at all levels for the Pauline year. On the pastoral level there will be daily ordinary and extraordinary liturgical celebrations, meetings for prayer and the Sacrament of Penance. A cultural religious program has also been developed and includes catecheses on St. Paul, conferences, congresses and concerts.
Artistic tributes to St. Paul and his dedication to the Gospel will also be presented. Exhibitions, publications, postage stamps, the coining of a special medal, the issue of a stamp and a two euro coin by the Governorate of Vatican City State are all in the works for the celebration.
People will also have the opportunity to go on pilgrimages to Pauline sites in and outside of Rome. Within Rome, pilgrims can visit the basilica of St. Paul's Outside the Walls and find their way through it with a soon-to-be-published guide, which will be available in numerous languages.
The Pauline year will also see the significant academic contribution of a new edition of the Acts of the Apostles and of the Letters of St. Paul.
Finally, the cardinal turned his attention the ecumenical program, ecumenism being an important aspect of the Pauline Year. He announced that the chapel currently used as the baptistery, located between the basilica and the cloister of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls, will become the "Ecumenical Chapel, maintaining its characteristic baptismal font but designated as a place in which to offer our Christian brethren a special place for prayer,