By Christina Hermoso
The Roman Catholic Church marks on Saturday, January 25, the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, known as the Apostle of the Gentiles, in thanksgiving to God for the miraculous conversion of the revered saint – from a life of sinfulness to holiness.
Known as the author of the Letters of St. Paul in the New Testament, which are often read during the Liturgy of the Word at mass, commemorative masses will be led by Paulinian communities in many parts of the world including the Philippines in honor of their beloved patron saint and founder.
The Church urges the faithful to contemplate on his example “as a true model for sinners for true conversion, and as an inspiration that any sinner may be forgiven no matter how terrible his sins.”
Born in Tarsus, Turkey, St. Paul, then known as Saul, was one of the greatest persecutors of Christians. He was feared for his violent nature as he tortured and persecuted the followers of Christ, including St. Stephen the martyr, who was stoned to death.
Jesus sent him the gift of the Holy Spirit (Act 9:18) and renamed him Paul to show that he was a changed man. Together with St. Timothy, they preached throughout Asia and Greece where they built many churches.