Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Reflections on St. Paul

Unique Statue of St. Paul at St. Paul the Apostle Church in 
Westwood California, near Los Angeles

The other day I went to Mass at St. Paul the Apostle Church in Westwood, CA where the Paulist Fathers have an early morning Mass.  The young priest was talking about St. Paul in his homily.  He said that St. Paul was a courageous missionary who truly took to heart Jesus’ words: “Go out to the whole world and tell the good news.”  I have always loved the statue of Paul which is pictured above.  It is to the left of the side altar at St. Paul’s Church and I gazed on this statue as Father was talking about Paul as a courageous missionary.  St. Paul seems to want to say something to us modern day missionaries from his humble stance in this statue.  He is holding out the scriptures in his left hand and clutching to the sword in his right hand which actually looks more like a cross than a sword to me.  I hear St. Paul telling me to “Imitate me as I imitate Christ.” This is the ultimate goal of a Pauline’s life, “Until Christ be formed in me.” It was the ultimate goal in St Paul’s life, in Alberione’s life, in Mother Thecla’s life, in Blessed Timothy Giaccardo’s life and in every Pauline who has reached the great Pauline mansion in heaven.  We are fortunate to have the Feasts of Saints Peter and Paul to celebrate on June 29 and a special Congregational Feast of St Paul on June 30.  May you each have a wonderful celebration in honor of St. Paul!  I asked the Los Angeles area Pauline Cooperators and Pauline Cooperator Candidates who are in formation to tell me about their relationship with St. Paul and I share their thoughts below.

Bob and Adra Martz, Promised Cooperators
Bob and Adra Martz are promised Pauline Cooperators from Culver City, California (near Los Angeles).  They had these t-shirts made with St. Paul’s image on them and proudly wore them at the Religious Education Congress in Anaheim.  Their mission was to promote the knowledge of the Pauline Family by handing out free holy cards of Fr. Alberione and Mother Thecla and to tell people about the Pauline Cooperators.  Adra admits that before she became a Pauline Cooperator, she did not have a close relationship to Paul because she did not understand his writings about women.  Once she learned that Paul was writing from his particular cultural reality and she began to meditate on Paul’s writings, she realized that he is truly our founder. Now she even wears his image on her shirt!

Mary Latini, a Candidate in the Cooperator
Formation Program
Mary recently shared with me that St. Paul inspires and encourages her to pray always and to be persevering in prayer.  St. Paul told his followers to pray always and he asked his followers to pray for him.  St. Paul tells us to never tire of praying for all God’s holy people. Petitions, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving should be offered for everyone.

Teresa Connor, a candidate in the Cooperator 
Formation Program

Teresa told me that she decided to read the New Testament as a practice of Spiritual Reading.  When she started reading Paul’s letters, she recognized that they deepened and renewed her faith.  She found new light, new energy, and a new understanding especially in the letter of Paul to the Romans.

Amelia Tagle, a candidate in the Cooperator
Formation Program with Sr. Khristina
St. Paul gives Amelia strength and helps her to know Jesus even more.  She said that her call as a Pauline is to imitate St. Paul by bringing joy and love to others through the media.

Theresa Limtiaco, a candidate in the Cooperator 
Formation Program

Theresa shared that her participation in the Pauline Cooperator Formation Program has given her the opportunity to think and reflect more deeply on St. Paul.  She now looks to him as one of her favorite saints. Theresa said she has always admired the saints who have undergone radical conversions/transformations in their lives.  St. Paul certainly belongs in this category.  She admires him, but more importantly, she looks to him as a model for her own life.  She finds him to be someone she can relate to because of his weaknesses prior to his conversion.  Paul accepted the will of God and exhibited complete faith and heroic virtue.  Theresa said that we can look to St. Paul to intercede for us and to help us reach the goal “I live now, not I, but Christ lives in me.”  This is one of her favorite quotes from St. Paul and one of her favorite prayers.  She added, we can look to St. Paul as a model of zeal in evangelization which is a call for us Paulines.


Sr. Marie James Hunt entered the Daughters of St Paul community in 1981.  She is currently missioned in California where she is the local superior of the Culver City community.  Sr. Marie James is also the West Coast Coordinator of the Pauline Cooperators.


Maryann Toth said...

Enjoyed your article, Sr. Marie James and also hearing from the Pauline Cooperators and Candidates in Los Angeles. Thank you.

M-L Handal, NYC said...

Thank you, Sr. Marie James, for introducing us to some of your fellow Paulines, and to the several Cooperators in formation. How encouraging for all of us to see such growth in your area! Thanks also for sharing their various evangelization ideas and activities. Even t-shirts! Wonderful!