Pauline Year helped local Catholics gain a greater appreciation of the saint


During the Year of St. Paul, which ended June 29, there were programs, workshops and devotions throughout the Diocese of Camden to commemorate the 2000th anniversary of the missionary saint and his influence on the church.

“Paul was overwhelmed with the power of Christ, and wanted to share that with everybody,” noted Msgr. James Tracy, pastor of St. Charles Borromeo in Sicklerville.

Facilitating two workshops on St. Paul at his parish last January, in front of a “lively crowd,” he was brought “closer to Scripture, and a greater understanding” of the role Paul played in the spread of the Catholic faith,

Msgr. Tracy has walked in the footsteps of Paul, retracing the apostle’s missionary journeys through such places as Turkey, Ephesus, Corinth, and Syria. If more people listen to his message, Msgr. Tracy said, “it would be a wonderful church and world.”

“Paul made extraordinary contributions. Because of him, the church expanded dramatically,” said Father. Frank Danella, OSFS, director of the St. Pius X Spiritual Life Center in Blackwood, which offered monthly programs on the life and writings of St. Paul, as well as days of reflection, throughout the Year of St. Paul.

“He had extraordinary zeal” for his work, Father Danella said.

Mary Lou Hughes, interim director of the Office of Religious Education, noted that Paul laid the foundation for other Catholic evangelists, and he was responsible for “sending us out into the world.”

Her office held two-week workshops on St. Paul in three parishes last winter: St. Charles Borromeo; St. Katharine Drexel, Absecon; and St. Pius X, Cherry Hill.

“We have the faith, a gift from God, and we’re called to share it with all the nations,” stressed Frank Blee, director of the Office of Evangelization.

In the vein of St. Paul, parishes have sent out teams of catechists to minister to non-active Catholics, as well as to individuals who aren’t affiliated with a certain faith, through one-on-one meetings, word-of-mouth, and other programs.

At Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Turnersville, there have been year-long Holy Hours, perpetual adoration, and special Masses dedicated to St. Paul, as well as a mission on St. Paul in March.

“He was a great preacher, great writer, and the apostle to the Gentiles, and to the common person,” said Father Edward Lipinski, pastor.

In December 2008 Bishop Joseph A. Galante designated three diocesan churches as pilgrimage churches: the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Camden; Sts. Peter and Paul, Turnersville; and St. Paul, Stone Harbor. Those who devoutly visited any one of them gained a special Plenary Indulgence granted by the Holy Father during the Pauline Year.