Performing as St. Paul has been an extraordinary opportunity and has helped me grow in my appreciation of him. From the beginning of my adult faith life, he played a critical role in my life as a Christian. In the summer of 1976, while riding the subway to my night job in Manhattan, I eagerly read my pocket New Testament. I often turned to the Acts of the Apostles and the Letters of Paul, finding myself drawn into the life and writings of this great man.
I wasn't always a believer. Though raised Catholic, as a college student I became agnostic. Three years later, I attended a charismatic prayer meeting, searching for faith. Through the example of those present and in response to my fervent prayer and fasting, I had a powerful encounter with the Risen Jesus. These words of Jesus came true for me;
"Ask and it shall be given to you, seek and you shall find, knock and the door shall be opened to you."
- Luke 11:9
The "door" opened to a new and joyous life of faith. All doubts about God's existence melted away. The Holy Spirit became very present to me, as this "prodigal son" welcomed the embrace of God the Father (Luke 15:11-32). Both the Scriptures and the sacraments became my spiritual nourishment and have not ceased being the foundation of my faith in the Lord Jesus.
I've served in various ministries over the past 33 years. From 1983 to '87, I was a Lamp Missionary. LAMP (Lay Apostolic Ministry with the Poor) was beginning under the direction of Drs.Tom and Lyn Scheuring. LAMP continues to serve the poor as a canonical lay ministry in the Church, in the Archdiocese of New York and in the dioceses of Brooklyn and Albany. LAMP missionaries work in homeless shelters, crisis pregnancy centers, and in parishes, with an emphasis on evangelization and faith-building ministries.
My wife, Maeve, is a LAMP missionary at Holy Family parish in Albany, NY. With her, I now serve as an Associate. When she ran a Vacation Bible School in 2008, she asked me to do a skit depicting a New Testament figure. I chose Paul. What started as a twenty-minute skit for children has evolved into a full-length presentation that I've performed many times locally and in Michigan and California. I am often edified by the positive responses of audience members, whose comments range from "I like Paul now!" to "I never thought of him as a joyful man!"
"A Visit with St. Paul" is a unique opportunity to present the Great Apostle in a compelling and inspiring fashion. I pray that God will grant me the privilege to perform as Paul, in front of as many people as He supplies the grace.
"May Christ dwell in your hearts through faith and may love be the root and foundation of your life." -Ephesians 4:17
St. Paul, Great Apostle, pray for us!