Having read the Acts of the Apostles many times in my life, I never really stopped to consider the lasting effects that the apostles had in terms of spreading the faith. Strange, really, because without them going out “into the deep” as it were, very few people would have become followers of Jesus Christ.
One particularly interesting story comes from Acts chapters 27 & 28. At this point Paul had been arrested, but being a Roman citizen he knew he was within his rights he appealed to the Emperor to be tried in Rome. Therefore he was first on one ship and then another, eventually being put on one bound for Italy. Although Paul had tried to warn the men of potential danger, they ignored him. During the course of this voyage a violent storm overtook them, and they were shipwrecked. And it was here in Malta that they ended up for three months.
Paul had relative freedom on the island and even lived for a short time with the Roman ruler of the island, where he cured the man’s father. He was able to perform many miracles and by the time he left there were many converts in what was to become a predominantly Christian nation.
Saint Paul is remembered fondly here, especially on his feast day, February 10th It is a national holiday and a great celebration. A procession of the Statue of Saint Paul is taken from the Parochial Church of Saint Paul’s shipwreck and paraded through town. Mass is offered and the entire city seems to turn out.
For more details about the church and the Festival click here.