The Catholic University of America

Feb. 26, 2009

Catholic University to Host Year of St. Paul Symposium

St. Paul

Catholic University's School of Theology and Religious Studies will host a "Year of St. Paul Symposium" March 20 in honor of the 2,000th anniversary of the birth of the apostle who Pope Benedict XVI said "left no stones unturned for unity and harmony among all Christians."

The symposium, which will be held in CUA's Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center, will feature talks on various aspects of St. Paul's theology by four New Testament scholars - three CUA faculty members and an emeritus professor at Union Theological Seminary.

Pope Benedict XVI declared June 28, 2008, to June 29, 2009, as the Year of St. Paul in a homily last year at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome. The year culminates on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul.

"The symposium to be hosted by the School of Theology and Religious Studies marks a special celebration during a memorable year in the life of the Catholic Church," says Monsignor Kevin Irwin, dean of the school. "Delivered by faculty members renowned for their New Testament scholarship, these talks will offer valuable insight into the life and theology of St. Paul."

In his homily, the pope noted that St. Paul, known as the apostle of the Gentiles, "was especially committed to taking the good news to all peoples … May he deign to guide and protect us in this bimillenial celebration, helping us to progress in the humble and sincere search for the full unity of all the members of Christ's Mystical Body."

St. Paul, who was born a Jew between 6 and 10 A.D., later became a Christian after Jesus Christ appeared to him on the road to Damascus. Becoming a missionary, he founded and encouraged early Christian communities through his personal witness and letters. Imprisoned numerous times, he was martyred in Rome, possibly along with St. Peter. Thirteen of the letters in the New Testament are attributed to St. Paul.

Details about the speakers and the titles of their talks follow.

  • 10 a.m., Rev. Frank Matera, CUA's Andrews-Kelly-Ryan Professor of Biblical Studies, "Introducing Paul the Theologian." A New Testament scholar, Father Matera has written a number of books and articles on St. Paul, including commentaries on Galatians and Corinthians. He is currently working on a commentary on Romans.

  • 11:30 a.m., Hellen Mardaga, CUA assistant professor of New Testament, "Paul's Theology of the Cross." Appointed to the faculty of CUA's School of Theology and Religious Studies last September, Mardaga served as the director of the Leo XIII Seminary at the University of Leuven in Belgium from 2002 to 2007.

  • 2 p.m., Paul J. Achtemeier, professor emeritus of biblical interpretation at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Va., "Resurrection: The Center of Paul's Theology." A widely-respected authority on the Bible, he is the author or co-author of 14 books as well as the former editor of the quarterly "Interpretation."

  • 3:30 p.m., Rev. John Paul Heil, CUA professor of New Testament, "Paul's Theology in the Later Pauline Letters." An expert on the letters of St. Paul, Father Heil has recently written a book on the Ephesians. He is also the author of a number of articles, including "Paul's Letter to Philemon" and "Paul and the Law."

For more information about the symposium, visit or call 202-319-5683.

MEDIA: To cover the symposium, reporters must contact Katie Lee or Mary McCarthy in the Office of Public Affairs at 202-319-5600.