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Villanova Answers Pope's Call to Commemorate Jubilee Year of St. Paul and Takes a Leading Role in Year-Long Celebration

University hosts world’s pre-eminent Pauline scholars to explore St. Paul’s legacy and importance of biblical scholarship beginning with Symposium Sept. 9-10

August 13, 2008

VILLANOVA, Pa., August 13, 2008 – Answering Pope Benedict XVI’s call to commemorate the Jubilee Year of the Apostle St. Paul, Villanova University announces a year-long campus celebration of the bi-millennium of the saint’s birth, which occurred between 7 and 10 A.D. Initially a persecutor of the early Christians, Paul became one of the most prolific missionaries of the Gospel. His timeless message of unity speaks to humanity today as powerfully as it did 20 centuries ago.

As part of its celebration, Villanova welcomes some of the world’s most distinguished Pauline scholars to explore St. Paul’s life and works, the relevance of his legacy and the importance of biblical scholarship in today’s world. The year-long observance features a symposium and lecture series with leading Pauline scholars and extends into the University’s academic classrooms. Villanova’s Pauline Year events are free and open to the public.

The Jubilee Year begins with a symposium Tuesday, Sept. 9, through Wednesday, Sept. 10, and includes presentations by William Campbell, Ph.D., Professor of Biblical Studies at the University of Wales; Maria Pascuzzi, C.S.J., S.S.L., S.T.D., Associate Professor of Theology and Religious Studies, University of San Diego; and the Rev. Thomas Martin, O.S.A., Ph.D., Director of the Villanova University Augustinian Institute.

On Wednesday, Sept. 10, the University commemorates the contributions of two of the world’s pre-eminent biblical scholars—Jerome Murphy-O’Connor, O.P., S.T.L., Th.D., Professor of New Testament at Ecole Biblique of Jerusalem; and Joseph A. Fitzmyer, S.J., S.T.L., S.S.L., Ph.D., Professor Emeritus at Catholic University of America—with a special Mass in St. Thomas of Villanova Church at 12:05 p.m., celebrated by Villanova University President, the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A., Ph.D. Later that afternoon, the University further highlights the roles of Rev. Murphy-O’Connor and Rev. Fitzmyer when each receive honorary doctorates celebrating their foundational roles in shaping biblical scholarship.

Beginning Wednesday, Oct. 1, Villanova’s celebration of the Jubilee Year of the Apostle Paul continues with a year-long series of lectures. In announcing the world-wide Jubilee Year, Pope Benedict highlighted the ecumenical dimension in honor of St. Paul’s evangelical mission. Villanova’s lecture series features speakers from a wide-range of universities with an ecumenical focus. Speakers include E.P. Sanders, Th.D., Arts and Sciences Professor Emeritus of Religion at Duke University; Mark Nanos, Ph.D., Soebbing Visiting Scholar at Rockhurst University, Kansas City, Mo.; and Beverly Gaventa, Ph.D., Professor of New Testament at the Princeton Theological Seminary, in addition to some of the world’s leading Catholic scholars.

Pope Benedict XVI recommended that all Catholic institutions take time during the coming year to reflect on the writings of St. Paul, his life, and the life of the early Church, and Villanova is one of the first universities in the United States to devote such prominence to the Year of Paul,” said Barbara Wall, Ph.D., Villanova’s Special Assistant to the President for Mission Effectiveness. “The lecture series brings an ecumenical group of scholars,” noted Wall. “We hope that the scholarship generated by our speakers will provide a better understanding of the times and formation of the early Christian community and its relevance in our lives today.

Villanova’s Jubilee Year dedicated to the Apostle Paul is sponsored by the University’s Office for Mission Effectiveness. All events are free and open to the public with registration required, due to limited seating. For updated information on all of Villanova University’s Jubilee Year of St. Paul events or to register for the programs visit:

Villanova University, a co-educational Roman Catholic institution, was founded by the Order of Saint Augustine in 1842. A premier institution of higher education, Villanova provides a comprehensive education rooted in the liberal arts; a shared commitment to the Augustinian ideals of truth, unity and love; and a community dedicated to service to others. A wide variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs are offered through the University’s four colleges: the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering and the College of Nursing, as well as the Villanova School of Law. With a total enrollment that surpasses 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students, Villanova is the oldest and largest Catholic university in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.