Today, the Diocese of San Pablo celebrates the feast of its titular and patron, Paul the First Hermit. Saint Paul, also known as Paul of Thebes, was an Egyptian saint known for being the first “hermit,” or a person who has dedicated himself to prayer in solitude.
In his homily during the Misa Mayor at the Cathedral-Parish of Saint Paul the First Hermit in San Pablo City, Archbishop Charles John Brown, the Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, described the saint as a transition figure between two different periods in the history of the church.
He mentioned in his opening remarks that this year, which will precede the jubilee year of 2025, is designated as a year of prayer, and he added that “we could not have an example or a patron more appropriate” than the diocese’s patron, Saint Paul the First Hermit.
Archbishop Brown began by highlighting Saint Paul’s role as a bridge and transition figure in the history of the church, mentioning that he was the first of all the men and women of prayer to go to the desert to live in prayer in the new era of Christianity, from the period of persecution to the period of monks and prayer.
He further added that his life teaches us the “primacy” of prayer, telling us that as Christians, we should strive to make praying a special part and priority in our daily lives.
Moreover, he also encouraged the people to be “men and women of prayer,” just like Paul. He urged them to be “childlike” and trust Jesus just like “how a child is trustful,” referring to how Paul the Hermit entrusted himself to Jesus and went to the desert of Egypt to be a man of prayer.
The Apostolic Nuncio concluded his homily by highlighting the importance of prayer this year, encouraging everyone to pray, especially the rosary, to ask for the intercession of the blessed mother, Mary, before sending his wishes and greetings to the parishioners who have shown up to the cathedral to participate in this year’s Eucharistic celebration in honor of the beloved patron.