Resources for the Year of St. Paul
How Are You Celebrating the Jubilee Year of St. Paul?
As you may be aware, the Year of Saint Paul is underway. June 28th began this jubilee year, at the decree of Pope Benedict XVI who said, “This is the goal of the Pauline Year: to learn from Saint Paul, to learn the faith, to learn about Christ, finally to learn the way of upright life.” Unfortunately, many people are unfamiliar with Saint Paul and so Aquinas and More has myriad resources to help you out; perfect for both the beginner just getting to know this great saint as well as those who have always loved Paul and are familiar with his life, mission and writings. We encourage you to take the time to deepen your own understanding of St. Paul during this Pauline Year..
Who is Saint Paul?
If you do not know a great deal about Paul, you might want to start out by discovering just who this great evangelical saint was. You’ll want to begin by reading a biography of the saint. Saint Paul the apostle, The Story of the Apostle to the Gentiles would be a great book with which to start. The many intense adventures of this man’s life may seem like stuff of a theatrical film, but they are in truth the real experiences of a saint who lived and died for Jesus. Another great resource would be the newly published Meeting St. Paul Today: Understanding the Man, His Mission, and His Message, which will take you from Paul’s days as a Pharisee, through his conversion and years as a missionary and beyond. This text does not end as a biography of the saint, but will go on to help you understand the meaning of his message. You may also be interested in watching a feature film on the life of the saint, such as the impressive drama, Paul the Emissary, staring Garry Cooper, or Paul the Apostle, the stunning three hour drama wonderfully produced by the same company that brought us the beautiful St. Rita film. More DVDs about St. Paul are available here.
Understanding St. Paul’s Letters and Message
You will also want to learn to understand Paul’s message more fully. He is the author of 14 New Testament books; how deeply do you understand what he is telling the world in those works? Once again, the recent release Meeting St. Paul Today: Understanding the Man, His Mission, and His Message, provides a good introduction to St. Paul’s intentions and messages. Stephen Finlan’s The Apostle Paul and the Pauline Tradition is another excellent resource, answering questions like, “What did Paul really think—and write—about Jesus, redemption, and the Christian life?” and “Who were the original audiences that first received these texts?” The aptly titled The Letters of Paul is another great book, providing an overview of the Pauline texts, their content and their authorship. The approach of the book is specially geared toward the beginning college student or a new seminarian, but would be a great introductory source for anyone new to the perplexing realm of Pauline studies.
Pauline Prayer and Bible Study
With the letters of St. Paul being so prominent in the New Testament, the Pauline year is the ideal time to begin a Year of St. Paul scripture study. You may be interested in a one volume collection of the Letters of St. Paul, which includes all the Epistles, as well as a study guide and prayers. St. Paul: A Bible Study Guide for Catholics is a wonderful, useful aid for Pauline study, and is suitable for a group or for personal use. This book by Fr. Mitch Pacwa is at concise and easy to follow, as well as insightful.
If you are looking for a thorough resource that focuses in depth on one or more of St. Paul’s letters, Aquinas and More has what you are looking for in the Navarre Bible and The Ignatius Study Bibles series. The Navarre Bible is an edition of Sacred Scripture consisting of the New Vulgate, the Revised Standard Version, and commentaries which provide explanations of the doctrinal and practical meaning of scripture. For the Pauline year, you will be interested in the volumes containing the writings of St. Paul: Thessalonians and Pastoral Epistles, The Captivity Letters, Corinthians, Hebrews, and Romans and Galatians. The Ignatius Study Bible series, the compact yet thorough and informational series from Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch also covers the Letters of Saint Paul in the following titles: Letter to the Hebrews, Letters to Philippians, Colossians and Philemon, Letters to Thessalonians, Timothy and Titus, Letters to the Corinthians, and Letter to the Romans. Along with insight and commentary, each title in the Ignatius Study Bible series contains historical, cultural, and theological information, topical essays, charts and more.
Aquinas and More also carries several titles focused on praying with Saint Paul, by the missionary apostle as your model, such as the newly released A Still More Excellent Way, an inspiring introduction to the spiritual and moral wisdom of St. Paul, accompanied with reflections and meditations, or the classic My Meditations on St. Paul, by Rev. James E. Sullivan, a small, handy book of prayers and meditations that are perfect to read alone or along with Paul’s letters. And of course, the Pauline year is the ideal time to learn the Catholic tradition of the Novena with a St. Paul Novena.
For more St. Paul books, including more Bible study and meditations books, click here.
How to Celebrate the Year of St. Paul with Children
The Pauline year is also a great time to teach children about St. Paul, about his preaching and influence in shaping Christ’s Church. There are several resources, specifically aimed at children to help the youngest of the Christian faithful begin to understand Paul’s role in the history of our Church. A good starting point would be the colorful and informative Saint Paul the Apostle Picture Book, and for slightly older children there is the engaging novel, Adventures of Saint Paul and St Paul: The Thirteenth Apostle. And coloring time can be learning time too, with the St. Paul coloring book. It would also be a great time to encourage family prayer; parents can adapt the St. Paul Novena to be said in a group with the whole family participating.