By Chiara Santomiero
ROME, FEB. 18, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The retired archpriest of St. Paul's Outside the Walls looks back at the Pauline jubilee as a "year of grace, even beyond our expectations."
Cardinal Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo made this observation Thursday at a press conference in the Vatican, reflecting on the holy year that spanned from June 28, 2008, to June 29, 2009.
Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, added that it was a "strategic" year for the very life of the Church.
It "made it possible to bring to light not only the manifold riches of the thought of the Apostle to the Gentiles with a theological production and bibliography probably never attained in the past," he said. Above all, the archbishop continued, "it evidenced [Paul's] timeliness for the life of the Church in her evangelizing mission."
The creation of Archbishop Fisichella's council, in fact, was announced by the Pope at vespers of the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul in 2010.
Cardinal Montezemolo pointed out the historic nature of the jubilee, clarifying that it was the first time that a year was dedicated to St. Paul. This gave rise not only to thousands of pilgrimages to St. Paul's Outside the Walls and the tomb of the Apostle, but also to numerous conferences and concerts, a copious production of books, musical works, films, and Internet programs that involved millions of people.
The Vatican has published a 500-page volume called "The Pauline Year," by Graziano Motta, to record the highlights of the jubilee.
One section explores the ecumenical significance of the Pauline Year observed together by Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants. Cardinal Montezemolo said the jubilee was "the occasion to establish among the different confessions an atmosphere of cordiality -- not new but intensified."
Meanwhile, responding to journalists' questions about the activities of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, Archbishop Fisichella reported that "meetings are proceeding with episcopal conferences of several European and non-European countries, while next March two days are planned already to study on the new evangelization with specialists. In May, there is a meeting for defining a new way of evangelizing environments." Naturally, he added, the activity of the dicastery awaits "what will be proposed by the synod on the new evangelization, planned for 2012, and the subsequent postsynodal exhortation."
Continuing with the fervor of the Pauline jubilee, Cardinal Francesco Monterisi, archpriest of St. Paul's Outside the Walls, announced the publication of a book on the basilica, which will be presented March 10.
In turn, Father Edmund Power, abbot of the Benedictine monastery next to the basilica, announced that a center of spirituality and an ecumenical center of Pauline studies will be established in the complex.