FEAST OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE AND MARTYR
FEAST DAY – 25th JANUARY
Paul, who was born Saul of Tarsus; c. 5 – c. 64/67 AD, commonly known as Paul the Apostle and Saint Paul, was a Christian apostle, though not one of the Twelve Apostles, who spread the teachings of Jesus in the first-century world. He is regarded as one of the most notable figures of the Apostolic Age. He preached the Holy Word, being commissioned by Jesus himself, and founded several Christian communities in Asia Minor and Europe from the mid-30s to the mid-50s AD.
St. Paul was born of Jewish parents who were descended from the tribe of Benjamin. He was a Roman citizen from birth, a pagan young man, at the stoning of Stephen, having been born around the beginning of the Christian era. To complete his schooling, St. Paul was sent to Jerusalem, where he learnt at the feet of the learned Gamaliel and was educated and bound in the strict observance of the ancestral Law. He also acquired a good knowledge of exegesis and was trained in the practice of disputation.
As a disciplined and zealous Pharisee, he returned to Tarsus before the public life of Christ opened in Palestine. Some time after the death of Jesus, Paul returned to Palestine. His profound conviction made his zeal develop to a religious fanaticism against the infant Church. He was a part of the opposition to Christians, one of those who stoned the first martyr, St. Stephen, and in the fierce persecution of the Christians that followed. Entrusted with a formal mission from the high priest, he departed for Damascus to arrest the Christians there and bring them bound to Jerusalem. As he was reaching Damascus, about noon, a light from heaven suddenly blazed around him.
Jesus, in his glorified, resurrected body, appeared to him and addressed him, turning him away from his apparently successful career and converting him to Christian discipleship. An immediate and absolute transformation was wrought in the soul of St. Paul, by which he was suddenly converted to the Christian Faith. He was baptized, and changing his name from Saul to Paul, he began travelling and preaching the Faith. He was martyred as an Apostle in Rome around 65 AD.
His Patronage is against snakes; authors; Cursillo movement; evangelists; hailstorms; hospital public relations; journalists; lay people; missionary bishops; musicians; poisonous snakes; public relations personnel; public relations work; publishers; reporters; rope braiders; rope makers; saddlemakers; saddlers; snake bites; tent makers; writers; Malta; Rome; Poznan, Poland; newspaper editorial staff Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Diocese of Covington, Kentucky; Diocese of Birmingham, Alabama; Diocese of Las Vegas, Nevada; Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island; Diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts.
O God, who transformed the whole world through the valuable teaching and preaching of the blessed Apostle Paul, draw us, we implore, nearer to you, by emulation of the exemplary life of him whose conversion we celebrate today.
Make us witnesses to your truth in the world, through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen
O Saint Paul, Apostle and Martyr, your teachings and writings, your life and example, have inspired all Christians down the centuries to know and worship the true God.
Help us in serving our Lord till the last breath of our lives, as fruitfully and courageously as you did, in Jesus our Lord. Amen