Why Do We Celebrate St. Paul's Conversion?

Q. St. Paul is the only saint whose conversion is celebrated by a universal feast of the Church. Why would the Apostle have that unique honor?

A. The Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle (January 25) originated in Gaul (present-day France) in the sixth century. This day on the calendar is the presumed date of the transfer of the Apostle’s relics to the Constantinian Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls near the Ostian Way in Rome.

Why would St. Paul have this unique honor? The Apostle’s coming to faith came about under miraculous circumstances so startling that none of his contemporaries could have anticipated his conversion. The event had an incalculable impact on the life and thought of the early Church because of his subsequent and extensive missionary efforts, which helped to establish local churches throughout the ancient Roman Empire. His conversion has also deeply shaped the continuing life and thought of the Church through his biblical epistles. More books of Scripture were composed by him (at least thirteen) than by any other individual. Our debt to him as Christians is incalculable.