Westminster begins celebrations for Year of St Paul

 An Icon of St Paul is to visit over 40 parishes in the Diocese of Westminster as part of celebrations marking the Pauline Year. The Icon, donated by St Paul's Bookshop, started its journey at Westminster Cathedral on Saturday when it was blessed by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Archbishop of Westminster, during a special Votive Mass to mark the first day of the Year of St Paul. Cardinal Cormac said: "Today, faced with the challenges that agitate the Catholic conscience in our society, the opportunity to reflect on the life and ministry of St Paul seems especially appropriate. If we are to build up the Body of Christ, if others are to encounter He who is 'wisdom, virtue, holiness and freedom', our faith and witness must be as convincing as St Paul's." The journey of the Icon of St Paul to parishes in the Diocese of Westminster can be followed 'live' on a map which forms part of a new interactive web-area, specially designed to support the Pauline Year www.rcdow.org.uk/paul The web area also features two video messages for schools, presented by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor and which include interviews with children and staff at St Paul's Primary School in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire and St Paul's College in Sunbury upon Thames in Surrey. Other content includes a downloadable audio commentary on the life of St Paul by Bishop John Arnold, Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster . His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI declared 28 June 2008- 29 June 2009 as the Year of St Paul in celebration of the 2,000th anniversary of the Saint's birth. Celebrations will be ongoing throughout the Diocese of Westminster. This autumn the Diocese of Westminster's Agency for Evangelisation will release a faith-sharing resource for small communities called 'Appointed by God', which will allow parishes to explore the life and teaching of St Paul. And on 6 September the Agency will host a Mass at Westminster Cathedral (12.30pm) to celebrate the idea of community: a prominent aspect of Pauline thought. After the Mass a Lecture on St Paul will be given by Bishop John Arnold in Westminster Cathedral Hall. A spokesperson from the Agency of Evangelisation said: "These events and others will help us to engage with St Paul, a most 'difficult' Saint. Through these bimillenial celebrations we are called to explore and deepen both our faith and our understanding; we are called to open ourselves to God's grace so we can be well placed to follow the example of this great 'servant of Jesus Christ'." Source; Archbishop's House

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