BLOOMFIELD The Archdiocese of Hartford will celebrate the Year of Saint Paul with two special events surrounding the feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul.
The first, a Scripture workshop, will run from 8:30 a.m. to noon Jan. 24 at the Archdiocesan Center at St. Thomas Seminary, 467 Bloomfield Ave. Father Frank J. Matera, Ph.D, a priest of the Archdiocese and a professor of New Testament studies at The Catholic University of America, will give two lectures under the title "Pauls Call and Conversion: A Reflection on the Content and Origin of His Gospel."
The lecture is designed to prepare attendees for a celebration of Saint Paul on the next day at a Mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph, said Father David J. Baranowski, director of the archdiocesan Office for Divine Worship. His office is joining the archdiocesan offices of religious education and the diaconate in presenting the talk.
"Looking at the conversion of Saint Paul biblically will help people to understand what the celebration is all about," Father Baranowski explained.
"Paul is the central theologian for the New Testament. We gain greater understanding of who Christ is by studying Saint Paul and his letters," he added.
Father Matera said that his talks will examine the way Luke portrays the conversion of Saint Paul, "which stands at the origin of Saint Pauls Gospel and how Saint Paul remembers this event in order to see how it prepares for his theology."
"Saint Paul is one of the most important writers of the New Testament. Of the 26 writings in the New Testament, 13 are attributed to Saint Paul," said Father Matera. "Although Saint Paul wrote letters, these letters are filled with theological insights that have become the foundation of Christian theology."
For example, he said, Saint Paul teaches about justification by faith, the nature of the Church, life in the Spirit, the return of Christ at the end of the ages and the resurrection of the dead.
Father Matera is the Andrews-Kelly-Ryan professor of biblical studies and specializes in the synoptic Gospels, Pauline letters and New Testament theology.
He was born in New Britain and studied at St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield and St. Bernard Seminary in Rochester, N.Y., and received a Master of Arts degree from the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium.
After several years of parish work, he pursued doctoral studies at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Va., from which he received his doctoral degree in 1981. His dissertation, "The Kingship of Jesus: Composition and Theology in Mark 15," was subsequently published by Scholars Press.
Father Matera taught at St. Johns Seminary in Boston from 198287 and has taught at The Catholic University of America since 1988.
A student of Paul, he is the author of commentaries on Galatians and 2 Corinthians and is presently working on a commentary on Romans. Interested in the theological dimension of the New Testament, he has published books on the Passion narratives, New Testament ethics, New Testament Christology and, most recently, the theology of the New Testament. His pastimes include hiking, swimming and sailing.
The cost is $10. The Office of Religious Education is handling registrations at (860) 243-9455.
Archbishop Henry J. Mansell will celebrate the Mass of the feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul at 2 p.m. Jan. 25 in the Cathedral of St. Joseph.
All of the priests and deacons of the Archdiocese are being encouraged to concelebrate.
Deacon Robert Pallotti, director of the archdiocesan Office of the Diaconate, will be the deacon at the Mass. Msgr. Michael J. Motta, director of the archdiocesan Office of Religious Education, and Father David Baranowski, director of the archdiocesan Office for Divine Worship, will be among the principal concelebrants.
The faithful are being invited to attend.
A plenary indulgence may be gained that day by attending the Mass at the cathedral or at any other Catholic church. Catholics in full communion with the Church may obtain this indulgence once a day for themselves or a soul in purgatory.
The conditions are the reception of confession 20 days prior to or following the act of devotion, reception of holy Communion, prayer for the intention of the pope and a serious effort to elimi-nate attachment to sin, whether mortal or venial.
This will be the first archdiocesan celebration at the cathedral in which priests will be vested in new vestments that bear the archdiocesan coat of arms.