By NADIA MARIA SMITH
CS&T Staff Writer
PHILADELPHIA – What better group to make St. Paul known than the Daughters of St. Paul?
Not only are they one of five religious communities that along with three lay institutes and a religious institute founded for diocesan priests are known as the Pauline Family, but also their specific mission is to spread the Gospel message of St. Paul using every modern form of media available.
“The Daughters of St. Paul desire to offer the best of the thought and spirit of this great Apostle St. Paul,” said Sister Barbara Gerace, F.S.P. “Blessed James Alberione, our founder, gave St. Paul to us as a model – not just for our own religious family, but also to the people of today. He is the model of faith in Christ Jesus and the communicator of His Gospel.”
When Pope Benedict XVI called for the Jubilee of St. Paul from June 2008 to June 2009, and specifically asked that study groups on St. Paul and special publications on Pauline texts be promoted “by religious and by the educational institutions and social-assistance centers which are named after St. Paul or inspired by him and his teaching,” the Daughters in Philadelphia sprang into action.
They organized a seven-month speaker series focused on the writing of St. Paul with the first talk slated for Monday, Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. All talks will be held on the third Monday of the month, except in December, at the Pauline Books and Media Center located at 9171 A Roosevelt Boulevard in Philadelphia.
Father Paul Stenson, parochial vicar of St. Thomas the Apostle in Chester Heights, will kick off the series by discussing his five favorite passages of St. Paul and how they can encourage Christians in their everyday life.
Other speakers include Franciscan Sister Louise Alff, archdiocesan coordinator for Parish Evangelization; Carmina Chapp, academic dean of the Religious Studies at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary; Neil Babcox, assistant director of the Newman Club at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey and a recent convert to the faith; Father Kevin McGoldrick, parochial vicar at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish in South Philadelphia; Msgr. Joseph Prior, rector of St. Charles Seminary; and Ann Marie Gervino, pastoral associate at St. Christopher Parish in Philadelphia.
The Daughters will also host two Scripture-based seminars with Celia Sirois, adjunct professor of Sacred Scripture at St. John’s Seminary. She is also the coordinator and instructor of CHRISM, a Bible study program serving parishes in the Archdiocese of Boston.
Her first seminar will be the weekend of Oct. 11-12 at Corpus Christi Church in Lansdale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. She will present an introductory overview of the life and works of St. Paul within the cultural and historical context of his mission.
The second seminar will be offered the weekend of April 25-26, 2009 at SS. Simon and Jude Church in West Chester, also from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. She will consider some theological issues raised in St. Paul’s seven uncontested letters in the Bible. She will also discuss his views on sin, the role of the Law, the mystery of salvation, the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the Body of Christ.
One credit will be given toward the archdiocesan catechetical certification program for those who attend both seminars.
“Father Alberione said that ‘St. Paul is the disciple who knows the spanine Master in all His fullness,” Sister Barbara said. “He lives Him completely. He searches the profound mysteries of His doctrine, heart, holiness, humanity and spaninity. St. Paul presents the total Christ.'”
For more information on all the events and publications the Daughters of St. Paul have available in celebration of the Jubilee of St. Paul, visit www.daughtersofstpaul.com/bookcenters/philadelphia or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (215) 676-9494.
CS&T staff writer Nadia Maria Smith may be reached at email@example.com or (215) 965-4614.