HOW MANY Thomasians know the statues of the Tria Haec? Perhaps every Thomasian has seen them but they are not distinguished as such.

The Tria Haec is composed of the statues, which surround the giant clock on top of the Main Building. They are the embodiments of the virtues of St. Paul – faith, hope, and charity – that the Church is celebrating for two millennia now.

Last June 28, Pope Benedict XVI solemnly inaugurated the year in commemoration of the 2000th anniversary of St. Paul’s birth.

“The Pauline Jubilee Year will show that the action of the Church is credible and effective only to the extent that its members are willing to personally pay for their fidelity to Christ in every situation,” Pope Benedict XVI said in his homily last June 28, 2007 posted on the Vatican’s official website.

The Holy Father described St. Paul as a paragon of total dedication to the Lord and his Church.

“This is the aim of the Pauline Year: to learn about St. Paul. To learn the faith, to learn about Christ, to learn the path of the righteous life,” the Pope said last July 2 to his weekly general audience in Rome.

Fr. Angel Aparicio, O.P., a Biblical scholar of UST, said the Church pays so much respect to the “Apostle of the Gentiles.”

“The influences of St. Paul’s letters in the Bible exert the Pauline influence on the Catholic Church,” he told the Varsitarian.

St. Paul is considered the second most prolific contributor to the New Testament next to St. Luke. He wrote seven epistles to the different Churches he established in Rome, Galatian, Philippi, Thessalonica, and Corinth. Yet before turning to God, Paul — formerly known as the pagan “Saul of Tarsus” who was a member of a Jewish political sect called Sadducee faction — was a persecutor of Christians. He had a change of heart on his way to Damascus when a flash of light blinded him and he met Christ. His vision, then, was restored by Ananias, another disciple, and he was later baptized as a Christian.

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Following his baptism was his ardent preaching in Damascus that Jesus was the Christ, Son of God. Then, he went to Jerusalem and paid respect to Peter as the head of the Church.

St. Paul had three missionary journeys in different countries and continents, preaching God’s word. His plan for a fourth journey was stopped after being imprisoned in Caesarea and in Rome.

Upon his release, he continued travelling in various countries until he came back to Rome where he was imprisoned again and later beheaded. His feast day is June 29.

Aparicio said students could draw inspiration from the saint’s unfailing passion for his mission.

“St. Paul was a man in continuous love with Jesus whom he found to fill up all his expectations.” C. A. P. Alcantara

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