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Catholic Activity: Nameday Prayers and Ideas for St. Paul the Apostle



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From Helen McLoughlin, these prayers and activities can be used for a nameday, but also for the feasts of St. Paul, January 25 and June 29.



St. Paul is the most widely known of the first-century followers of Christ because of the fourteen epistles which he wrote to the Christian communities and because of St. Luke's Acts of the Apostles.

On the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul the prayers are:

Hymn: NOW LET THE EARTH WITH JOY RESOUND (see James the Less and Philip).

Father: The Lord, King of apostles.
All: Come, let us adore.
Father: This day Simon Peter ascended the gibbet of the cross.
All: This day Peter, keybearer of the kingdom, journeyed generously to Christ; this day the apostle Paul, light of the whole world, bent his head for the name of Christ and was crowned with martyrdom.
Father: Let us pray. O God, this day You made holy with the martyrdom of Your apostles Peter and Paul; grant that Your Church may in all things follow the precepts of those from whom it first received the faith. Through Christ, our Lord.
All: Amen. Christ conquers, Christ reigns!

On June 30, the Commemoration of St. Paul, the prayers are as follows:

Father: The Lord, King of apostles.
All: Come, let us adore.
Father: From a homily of St. Augustine:
The apostle Paul, when we first meet him, is a man with many demerits, but he received the grace of God, who repays injury with kindness. Paul, writing to Timothy shortly before his martyrdom, says: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." It is his good merits that he mentions here, hoping they will be followed by a prize as his demerits were followed by grace. "I look forward," he says, "to the prize that is waiting for me, the prize I have earned. The Lord, the Judge whose award never goes amiss, will grant it to me when that day comes." To whom would the Lord as a just Judge give the prize, if He, as a merciful father, had not first given His grace? And how could that prize have been earned if that grace which makes a just man of the sinner had not gone before? How could it have been earned if the power to earn it had not been freely given?
All: O peerless teacher Paul, do thou direct our ways.
Draw unto heaven hearts that put their trust in thee.
Till faith, now veiled, be dazzled in the noonday rays
And love alone reign like the sun triumphantly.
Father: Let us pray. O God, by the teaching of Your apostle Paul You instructed a multitude of nations; grant that we may feel the power of his advocacy whose memory we are honoring. Through Christ, our Lord.
All: Amen. Christ conquers, Christ reigns!

Dessert and decorations. In art St. Paul is identified by the sword with which he was beheaded, by the book of his epistles, and by a fountain which, according to tradition, sprang up where he was beheaded. His shield is red with two crossed silver swords or a palm tree, symbol of the resurrection — a truth he constantly stressed. This shield may be used for a child's home shrine or on the family bulletin board on his feasts.

The book cake decorated with a sword is used on St. Paul's feast, or the crown cake to honor the crown of victory of which he writes in his epistles.

Our favorite painting of St. Paul is that by Rubens; it hangs in the Spanish Museum at 155th Street and Broadway, New York. Foppa's St. Paul hangs in the Delgado Museum in New Orleans. Many museums throughout the country have paintings of St. Paul and reproductions for sale. A statue for a child's shrine costs about $8.00 (from RC, see Abbreviations). A Byzantine reproduction in full color is available for $4.00 (from LAS, see Abbreviations).

In addition to the apostle Paul, there is St. Paul of the Cross, founder of the Passionists, who was endowed with the gift of prophecy. The cross cake, or the book cake with a cross decoration, is used on his feast and on the feast of Blessed Paul Miki, S.J., a Japanese crucified at Nagasaki.

For girls there is a St. Paula, who helped St. Jerome with his biblical work and settled near him in Bethlehem. Blessed Paula Frassinetti founded the Congregation of St. Dorothy. Their symbol is the book cake.

Activity Source: My Nameday — Come for Dessert by Helen McLoughlin, The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN, 1962