Known before his conversion to Christianity as Saul of Tarsus, Paul is probably the most mentioned in all of the New Testament Scriptures — 14 of the 27 books of the New Testament are ascribed to his name.
While he wrote no Gospel, he did write pastoral letters to early Christian communities with a message that transcends time.
He was born in Tarsus and was thus a Roman citizen. A member of the Pharisees, Saul was a militant persecutor of the new-found sect of Christianity.
He saw Christians as disloyal to their Hebrew religion and considered Christianity a perversion, not a valid expression of Judaism.
He was present at the stoning of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr and deacon of the Church (Acts 7:58).
After his conversion, Paul went on three missionary journeys and was so successful that he had to use his Roman citizenship to escape the death penalty in Jerusalem by his former colleagues, the Pharisees and Sadducees.
During his imprisonment he wrote letters (epistles) to many Christian communities including: Galatians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, Colossians, Ephesians, Philemon, Philippians, Titus, 1 and 2 Timothy, 1 and 2 Corinthians and Romans.
Paul was committed to:
- Proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus,
- Sharing the universal hope of salvation with all people, and
- Encouraging believers to remain faithful in all circumstances.
As a disciple he set the bar very high for the rest of us… but that among other reasons is why his name is the name of our Parish.