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Pointing at the bulletin letter's date (link) at left will display it's title.
January 25, 2009

St. Paul - Patron of our Parish
                                    
     When thinking of saints, regardless of whom they were, we often think of people who are bigger than life, someone who was almost “supernatural” in some way.  To a certain degree there is some truth to that notion but the concept is not exactly accurate.  Saints were regular human beings like the rest of us.  They had parents, most had siblings, and they went to school and were taught the academic, social and cultural skills necessary for success and happiness in life.  They got sick, they experience the full range of emotions and eventually died of illness or old age unless they were so unfortunate as to experience torture and martyrdom. 

    What makes a saint so “special” then?  The majority of saints came from good Christian homes.  Their parents taught them about their faith and gave them the example necessary to live this faith.  The exception came from homes that were not Christian.  In such cases the saints found their Christian faith by the example of friends or teachers.  In some very rare instances, such as in the case of St. Paul, our patron, Paul came to believe because of a direct and personal meeting with Christ on his way to Damascus.  The one thing that enables these men and women to stand out in our church is the fact that they took their faith seriously.  They made it a point to live in union with God despite all adversity.  It was not easy for them any more than it is for us.  They were often singled out and ridiculed or even abused.  But, because they believed in the teachings of the gospel, they remained faithful to their commitment.

    Every Catholic parish has a patron saint.  There is a good reason for this.  The patron saint plays a vital role in the spiritual development of a parish or, at least, he/she has the potential to do so.  This can only happen if the parishioners are aware of the special characteristics of their patron and are somewhat knowledgeable of the life of  the patron saint.  Our parish is very fortunate to have St. Paul as its patron.  Not only is Paul well known because of their letters which we read in Scripture but he is also a great man.

    Paul was a man of conviction. He was serious about his faith and was determined to live his faith to the end regardless of the sacrifice it entailed.  He was also intelligent, well educated, and was eloquent in speaking.  All of this did not necessarily make for an easy life.  He was imprisoned, tortured, harassed by the Jewish authorities, not always well understood by the other Apostles, and often experienced physical as well as emotional distress.  He was full of zeal and wanted to be in as many places as possible thus leaving him over tired and possibly discouraged when success seemed doomed.

    There are many points that can be applied to our contemporary lives. When we become discouraged, tired, sick or emotionally unglued, we can look at Paul and see that we were not alone.  There is definitely hope for us as Christians.  We should not loose our way simply because things are not going the way we intended or planned.  We are not alone in this life.  Paul succeeded because he knew that Christ was his life.  He kept his eye of the person that gave him hope.  He had complete faith in the person of Christ.  Do we?   When you feel discouraged,  pray to St. Paul.  If he could do it, so can we!
                                Lorette P. Nault