August 2008

Pope Benedict resumes his Wednesday audience catechesis on St. Paul, this week sketching a brief biography:

It was the future Europe that requested the help and light of the Gospel. Spurred on by this vision, he entered Europe, sailing from Macedonia and thus entering Europe. Disembarking in Neapolis, he arrived in Philippi, where he founded an admirable Christian community. Then he went to Thessalonica, and left the latter because of difficulties caused by the Jews, traveled to Beroea, and then continued to Athens.In this capital of ancient Greek culture he preached to pagans and Greeks, first in the Agora and then in the Areopagus. And the speech in the Areopagus, referred to in the Acts of the Apostles, was a model of how to translate the Gospel into Greek culture, and of how to make the Greeks understand that this God of Christians and Jews, was not a God who was foreign to their culture, but the unknown God awaited by them, the true answer to the most profound questions of their culture.

After Athens he arrived in Corinth, where he stayed for a year and a half. And here we have a very certain chronological event, the most certain of his whole biography, because during this first stay in Corinth he had to appear before the governor of the senatorial province of Achaia, Proconsul Gallione, on accusations of illegal worship. …


A new book compiling Pope Benedict’s writings on St. Paul will be released next week:

WASHINGTON, D.C., AUG. 19, 2008 ( A book due out next week will feature reflections from Benedict XVI on St. Paul, as the Church continues to celebrate the Pauline Jubilee Year.

The U.S. bishops, in agreement with the Vatican Publishing House, are creating a series of books presenting reflections from the Pope. The series is called “Spiritual Thoughts” and the book on Paul is its second installment. The books contain excerpts from a variety of Benedict XVI’s speeches and homilies.

Paul Henderson, publishing director for the episcopal conference, said he views the release of a book on St. Paul as “a timely opportunity for Catholics to join the Pope and return to the Bible as the source of parish and personal renewal.”

Father David Toups, of the Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, added: “The book series is an opportunity for U.S. Catholics to gain access to the Pope’s personal thoughts and deep spiritual insights.”

The first book of the series featured reflections from the Holy Father during his first year as Pope. After the work on Paul, the Spiritual Thoughts series will continue with other books on Mary, the saints, and excerpts from the second year of the pontificate.

The Spiritual Thoughts book on St. Paul will be available Aug. 29, and can be ordered online at

Saint Paul: The Thirteenth Apostle from the always reliable Daughters of St. Paul. This one is suitable for adolescents and young teens. Here is a description from the publisher, Pauline Books & Media:

From a persecutor of the early Christians, St. Paul was changed forever when he met Christ on the way to Damascus. Although he was not one of the original twelve apostles, he became known as the “thirteenth apostle.” He traveled great distances, preaching and writing as he went along, to bring the Gospel of Jesus to everyone. His great love for the Lord and for all people will inspire young readers to follow his example!

Includes a glossary and a concluding prayer, as well as five black and white illustrations. Also includes maps of St. Paul’s four missionary journeys.

Paperback / 128 pages / Dimensions: 4 1/2″ x 7″ / ISBN: 0819871028

St. Paul the Apostle by the late and prolific Fr. Lawrence Lovasik, S.V.D. It’s a short picture book with excellent text covering the Apostle’s missionary journeys. Ideal for young readers, e.g., K-2.

Both volumes are available via a variety of online booksellers or at your local Catholic bookstore.

My Amazon review of Fr. Mitch Pacwa’s St. Paul: A Bible Study for Catholics appears below:

In addition to what other reviewers have written, allow me to add a note about this book’s style and format. Fr. Pacwa respects the intelligence of his readers, and doesn’t hesitate to introduce deep theological points and insights rooted in etymology and history. Decades of preaching these concepts to a wide variety of audiences no doubt helps him do so. Likewise, the format is not of the “What-the-readings-mean-to-me” variety. Fr. Pacwa takes a cognitive approach to instruction, and readers are expected to probe and discuss meaty subject matter from the text. I intend to use this book for my weekly catechism group this fall; the fact that it is reasonably priced is an added bonus for the group’s members. Highly recommended.