St. Paul’s Major Seminary in Sowutuom, under the Archdiocese of Accra, Ghana, is gearing up for a grand celebration of the Feast of the Conversion of its Patron Saint, St. Paul, scheduled for tomorrow, January 25, 2024.
The Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra, Most Rev. John Bonaventure Kwofie is expected to lead the Eucharistic celebration for the day.
On January 25, the Catholic community worldwide commemorates the Conversion of Saint Paul, a pivotal event in the early Church. Saul, once a fervent persecutor of Christians, experienced a profound transformation on the road to Damascus when he encountered the resurrected Christ in a blinding light.
This encounter led to his conversion, and he adopted the name Paul, eventually becoming the renowned “Apostle to the Gentiles.”
Saul, born in Tarsus, a Roman citizen by privilege, was educated in Jerusalem under the tutelage of the Pharisee rabbi Gamaliel. Initially zealous for the Jewish law, he became a fierce opponent of Christ’s followers, actively participating in the persecution of Christians. However, the martyrdom of St. Stephen marked a turning point.
The prayers of the dying Stephen, imploring mercy for his persecutors, played a significant role in what would become Saul’s conversion.
The journey to Damascus intended to intensify the persecution took a miraculous turn. Surrounded by a brilliant light from heaven, Saul heard the voice of Christ asking, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” Struck with awe, Saul asked, “Who art thou, Lord?” and received the reply, “Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest.”
This encounter led to Saul’s complete surrender to Christ, with a fervent plea, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” The subsequent blindness he experienced served as a symbolic representation of his spiritual blindness, emphasizing the need to turn away from worldly pursuits.
Ananias, a respected Christian in Damascus, received a divine command to visit Saul. Despite initial reservations, Ananias obeyed, and Saul’s sight was miraculously restored. Recognizing Saul as a chosen vessel, Ananias baptized him, and Saul, now Paul, embarked on a transformative journey, dedicating his life to spreading the Gospel.