Year of Saint Paul Comes to an End in Jerusalem | Custodia Terrae Sanctae

Year of Saint Paul Comes to an End in Jerusalem

The Dominican-affiliated Saint Stephen’s Convent was the site of the first celebrations in the Holy Land held on the occasion of the end of the year dedicated to Saint Paul.

Cardinal Walter Kasper, sent from Rome by Pope Benedict XVI on this occasion, along with His Beatitude Mgr. Fouad Twal, most of the Ordinaries of the Holy Land, and Nuncio and Apostolic Delegate Mgr. Antonio Franco led the second vespers on the day of the Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul before a large gathering of priests and others from among the religious, as well as some of the faithful from Jerusalem.

It was in the basilica dedicated to Steven the deacon [1], of whose stoning Saul - who later became Paul - approved, as the cardinal reminded those in attendance during his homily, that the end of the Pauline Year was celebrated in Jerusalem. "It is a blessing to commemorate Paul here, where he lived and studied," Cardinal Kasper said at the end of the celebration. "It also encourages the local Christian community to hold on to the hope this country so desperately needs."

Tomorrow - Tuesday, June 30 - the Ordinaries of the Holy Land and Cardinal Kasper will meet in Caesarea Maritima to celebrate mass, and then in Acre for a Liturgy of the Word to be celebrated with all the Catholic priests from the different rites of the diocese, who will go on their annual spiritual retreat that evening.

In the Holy Land, the Year of Saint Paul saw many events, such as an art exhibition at the Christian Information Center, a pilgrimage to Paphos on the island of Cyprus [2], various conferences and celebrations in Syria, and a series of conferences and visits organized by the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum. Furthermore, instructors from some of the Biblical centers in Jerusalem were invited to various conferences on Saint Paul organized all over the world.

At Saint Stephen’s, Saint Paul was especially popular that evening, because he provided people with an opportunity to get together one last time before academic pursuits and joint celebrations alike decreased with the arrival of summer. In a way, it was an opportunity for people to wish each other a good summer.


[1] Saint Stephen’s Basilica and the Church of the Flagellation are the only places in the country with altars dedicated to the Apostle of the Nations.
[2] The island of Cyprus is part of the Jerusalem diocese.