Pauline Spirit

New Book from Birmingham
June 18, 2008, 5:07 pm
Filed under: books, Paul resources, Pauline Year

The Diocese of Birmingham is busy with preparations for the Year of Saint Paul, called for by Pope Benedict XVI last year, which begins this year on the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul (June 29) and concludes one year later on the same Feast.

Shortly after his installation last October, Bishop Robert J. Baker commissioned Father Mitch Pacwa, S.J., to write a bible study guide for parish and school use within the diocese during the Pauline Year. Our Sunday Visitor Publishing in Indiana agreed to co-publish the book, “Saint Paul: A Bible Study Guide for Catholics” with The Birmingham Catholic Press making it available to all Catholics throughout the world looking for a resource to use in celebration of the Year of Saint Paul.

The book, now released, includes six sessions covering Saint Paul’s teaching on the Sacraments as well as his missionary activity. The appendix of the book includes a reference checklist to enable the reader to study the Letters of Saint Paul during the year.

In September and October of 2008, Father Pacwa will present a lecture on each of the six sessions in the book at the Cathedral of Saint Paul in Birmingham. Parishes in the diocese will conduct the bible study on Saint Paul this Fall and in the Spring of 2009.


If you only read one book on Paul this year…
June 17, 2008, 1:20 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I have a few reservations about this one (Paul of Tarsus: A Visionary Life), but overall, it answers the average person’s basic questions about Paul’s life and background. You would expect this, given that the author, Edward Stourton, is an award-winning journalist (educated by the Benedictines, no less). This immensely readable book offers more historical background than any other non-scholarly book on Paul I have ever encountered; it even includes the more obscure legends from the 2nd-4th centuries. Paul was always a “sign of contradiction,” and so Stourton also investigated Jewish and Muslim attitudes toward Paul as well (generally… not very favorable).
While Stourton maintains his journalistic integrity throughout, he could have been been a little less naive in assuming that certain profoundly counter-cultural things in Paul’s writings were simply the prejudices of a pre-modern mind, things we enlightened ones can look on with a benign gaze, if not a smile. Paul was as counter-cultural in the first century as he is in ours; if we don’t especially like things he said (especially with regard to moral behavior), that might be a sign that we need to take him all the more seriously!

That said, “A Visionary Life” gives a fine overview of Paul’s life, basic teachings, and place in history. If you want to know more about his spirituality and have a deeper grasp of what  he called “my Gospel,” you will need to go elsewhere.

Conversion of St. Paul Mass
June 3, 2008, 1:11 am
Filed under: Pauline Year

The feast of the Conversion of St. Paul falls on a Sunday in 2009. Usually, that means the saint’s day gives way before the higher dignity of the Lord’s Day, but for the Pauline Year, the feast day liturgy will be permitted:
From the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments: “The Apostle St. Paul, who proclaimed the truth of Christ to the whole world and did so after being Christ’s persecutor, spent himself in using every means to proclaim the Good News to the nations, committing himself
with zeal to the unity and concord of all Christians, has always been and continues to be venerated by the faithful, especially in this particular year, the bimillennium of his birth, which the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI desired to institute as a special jubilee year.

“Thus, in virtue the faculties conferred on this Congregation by the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI, it is permitted, in an extraordinary manner, that on Jan. 25, 2009, the Third Sunday ‘per annum,’ a Mass according to the formulary ‘Conversion of St. Paul,’ as is found in the Roman Missal, may be celebrated in the individual churches. In such a case, the second reading of the Mass is taken from the Roman Lectionary for the Third Sunday ‘per annum,’ and the Creed will be recited.”

June 3, 2008, 1:04 am
Filed under: Pauline Year

Here’s a Pauline Year resource coming from the Missionary Society of St. Paul, a relatively new community founded in Nigeria, but now very active in the US. The 30-day walk with St. Paul is a great way to prepare for the opening of the Pauline Year at the end of the month!

Thought a Day widget
June 1, 2008, 3:27 am
Filed under: Paul resources

As we begin the month of June, I again draw your attention to the Pauline Thought a Day widget which is available free for blogs and websites. It’s an easy way to make sure you are “doing something” for the Pauline Year (and, yes, you can modify the colors to go with your blog motif). Spread the word!