Pope Benedict XVI has officially announced a Pauline jubilee year to commemorate the 2000th anniversary of St. Paul’s birth.
The Pauline Year will be from June 29, 2008, to June 29, 2009.
The announcement was made at Thursday's first Vespers on the eve of the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, which was held at the Basilica of St. Paul's Outside the Walls in Rome.
Though noting the unique bond Peter and Paul had, the Holy Father focused most of his words on St. Paul.
He recalled accounts that describe Paul as a weak orator and having no physical presence. But the Holy Father noted that Paul’s success depended on his personal involvement
with Christ. He was Christ centred.
The Holy Father challenged all Christians to learn from the witness and sacrifices of Paul and to conform more to Christ.
After describing the Apostle to the Gentiles, Pope Benedict made the long awaited announcement of the Pauline year.
He noted that many liturgical celebrations, ecumenical and cultural events inspired by Pauline spirituality will take place in Rome, in the very Basilica where the congregation was gathered for Vespers. The Basilica, St. Paul Outside the Walls, contains the sarcophagus of Paul. The Pope said that special attention will be paid to pilgrimages to the tomb of the humble tent maker during the year.
The German Pontiff also encouraged conventions, conferences, academic studies and publications on Pauline texts. Texts, the Holy Father said, that offer “an immense wealth for the heritage of humanity, a humanity which was redeemed by Christ.”
The Holy Father then invited not just Rome, but the Universal Church to celebrate the Pauline year.
It is a year, His Holiness said, in which the faithful are called to "rediscover and reaffirm Pauline spirituality, the importance of this saint, this apostle, this pillar of the faith."
The year should have a special ecumenical dimension as well. Paul was an apostle of the Gentiles, Pope Benedict reminded the gathered faithful, and worked hard to bring the Gospel to all peoples: "He strove for unity and harmony for all
followers of Christ."
The Holy Father concluded with a prayer:
May he [Paul] look upon us and protect us in this bi-millenial celebration, helping us to progress in the humble and sincere search for full unity of all the members of Christ’s mystic body.
If you missed the original broadcast of Pope Benedict's announcement at Vespers, Salt + Light will broadcast an encore presentation at 8pm and Midnight ET on Thursday, June 28th.
Also -- don't miss the special Salt + Light presentation of the Holy Mass and imposition of the Pallium on the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul live, this Friday, at 3am ET. There will be encore presentations of the English translation at 8pm and midnight ET. The Mass and ceremony will also be available to view in its entirety on our website after 9am ET, Friday morning.