The Conversion of St. Paul
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus,
First, I want to thank all who prayed for me while I was on pilgrimage to the Holy Land!
It was a wonderful experience! I look forward to sharing with you stories of my adventures this coming
Wednesday, January 28, 2015 during the Generations of Faith at the Church of St. Paul, Zumbrota. The event will take place from 6-8pm, with a meal beginning at 6pm. I hope to see you there!
This weekend we celebrate the Conversion of St. Paul. This Feast is the Patronal Feast of our Archdiocese. The conversion of St. Paul was pivotal moment in the early Catholic Church. Here is basically what happened: Saul (later, Paul) was avidly persecuting the new ‘sect’ of Christians. He travelled through Israel arresting Christians. While on his way to Damascus to find and arrest
Christians, Jesus appeared to him and gave him the grace of magnificent and firm conversion. Here is more info on St. Paul: “St. Paul, named Saul at his circumcision, a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin, was born at Tarsus, the capitol of Cilicia. He was a Roman citizen. He was brought up as a strict Jew, and later became a violent persecutor of the Christians. While on his way to Damascus to make new arrests of Christians, he was suddenly converted by a miraculous apparition of Our Lord. From a fierce persecutor he became the great Apostle of the Gentiles. He made three missionary journeys which brought him to the great centers of Asia Minor and southern Europe, and made many converts.
Fourteen of his Epistles are found in the New Testament. He was beheaded in Rome in 66, and his body is kept in the Basilica of St. Paul near the Ostian Way. St. Paul was born at Tarsus, Cilicia, of Jewish parents who were descended from the tribe of Benjamin. He was a Roman citizen from birth. As he was "a young man" at the stoning of Stephen and "an old man" when writing to Philemon, about the year 63, he was probably born around the beginning of the Christian era. To complete his schooling, St. Paul was sent to Jerusalem, where he sat at the feet of the learned Gamaliel and was educated in the strict observance of the ancestral Law. Here he also acquired a good knowledge of exegesis and was trained in the practice of disputation. As a convinced and zealous Pharisee, he returned to Tarsus before the public life of Christ opened in Palestine. Some time after the death of Our Lord, St. Paul returned to Palestine. His profound conviction made his zeal develop to a religious fanaticism against the infant Church. He took part in the stoning of 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 nearing Damascus, about noon, a light from heaven suddenly blazed round him. Jesus with His glorified body appeared to him and addressed him, turning him away from his apparently successful career. An immediate transformation was wrought in the soul of St. Paul. He was suddenly converted to the Christian Faith. He was baptized, changed his name from Saul to Paul, and began travelling and preaching the Faith. He was martyred as an Apostle in Rome around 65 AD.” (from www.catholicculture.org)
May each of us experience the intercession and favor of St. Paul! May our hearts experience the kind of love and fervor toward Jesus that animated the heart of St. Paul! May our parishes and our Archdiocese be filled with the grace and peace that St. Paul offered to the many parishes he founded!
Through the intercession of Mary, the Mother of God, St. Joseph,St. Paul and St. Michael may we be filled a great love for our Lord Jesus and the Virgin Mary and a great desire for eternal life in Heaven!
In Christ through Mary, Fr. Kase