Today we celebrate a feast that is not commonly on a Sunday; the feast day of Sts. Peter and Paul. This is one of several feasts that take precedence when they fall on a Sunday during the season of Ordinary Time. Others that we will celebrate this year will include The Triumph of the Cross, All Souls Day and the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica.
This year’s feast of Sts. Peter and Paul also marks the beginning of an important period for the Church. The Church has declared the next twelve months to be the Year of St. Paul. This Pauline Year has been declared in celebration of the anniversary of the birth of St. Paul.
Paul is a saint that many of us already know the story of. Originally a persecutor of Christians, St. Paul’s conversion was the beginning of a courageous and bold life-long mission of evangelisation. Those parishioners whose families come from Malta would know of the story of St. Paul being shipwrecked on the island. For many weeks of our three-year cycle of scripture readings, the second reading at Sunday Mass is drawn from the writings of St. Paul.
A second feast will also be celebrated on a Sunday during the Pauline Year. The Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship has allowed the Church to celebrate the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul next year on Sunday 25 January. Normally the usual Third Sunday in Ordinary Time would take precedence. This change will help the Church to focus on the importance of St. Paul in this jubilee year.
The Conversion of St. Paul (25 January) and The Chair of St. Peter (22 February) are two feasts that celebrate the lives of each respective saint. Today’s feast, however, acknowledges their significant contribution to the building of the Church. Take time to follow this focus through the readings as they are proclaimed today.