The year is 65 AD and Paul of Tarsus is under house arrest in Rome. You’re invited to visit the great saint during his captivity where he will recount his days as a missionary. He’s eager to share the Good News of Jesus’ love and to strengthen you in faith and hope.
To have St. Paul visit your church, school or conference, contact:
Glenn Smith – firstname.lastname@example.org or call (518) 355-4843
ARTICLE IN “THE EVANGELIST;” My article, “St. Paul and the Works of Mercy,” appeared in the Albany diocesan newspaper. Please go to the link above to read it. There are other articles available as well.
For more details on the content of this performance, comments from two Catholic bishops, and other related information, please go to the website; “A Visit with St. Paul.”
Please be sure to call 355-4843, if you are interested in having me at your church, school or summer camp. I have fine referrals from pastors, principals, and faith formation directors.
Please contact me and we’ll see what we can be arranged for your church, school, summer camp or VBS. “Visit” works so well for a VBS! In fact, it all began at my wife’s VBS in the summer of 2008- the Jubilee Year of St. Paul
On July 8th, I performed as St. Paul for the St. Bernadine of Siena Chapter, a Franciscan Third Order group. It took place at the Auriesville Shrine of the North American Martyrs. What a wonderful place to present as the Great Apostle!
Many thanks to Donna Lagasse, their leader, and to Angela Nelligan who demonstrated much perseverance in having me come.
My thanks to all who attended, and who were so generous in so many ways.
MISSION TRIP TO EASTERN EUROPE
In APRIL of this year, I did five performances of “Visit” in Eastern Europe. You can read about this mission trip in my most recent blog posting, “Athirst For God.” I performed in translation, just as I did in China on two separate missions in 2010 & 2011.
AT ST. THOMAS IN CHERRY VALLEY
On Sunday, March 18th, I performed at St. Thomas’s Church, Cherry Valley, NY. Many thanks to Ms. Karen Walker, whose joyful and able leadership of the parish was evident in so many ways.
HIGH SCHOOL PERFORMANCE:
On April 5, I returned to Immaculate High School in Danbury, CT., to perform for the Sophomore Class. Many thanks to Ms. Gina Donnarummo who had me back for the second time. It’s truly a great opportunity to reach our youth, and it’s encouraging to know that after I’ve gone, these students can rely on their teacher for follow-up; to answer questions regarding St. Paul.
If you’re a school teacher, at either the primary or secondary level, or a principal, I encourage you to contact me about me coming to “visit” your students as St. Paul. I have fine referrals that I can provide upon request. Contact; (518) 355-4843 or email@example.com
“ST. PAUL DAY OF RENEWAL
My very first “St. Paul Day of Renewal” took place on Feb. 24th, at Holy Trinity Church in Cohoes. In the morning, I taught on, “St. Paul and Joy of the Holy Spirit,” and after lunch, I performed in the church as the Great Apostle. Afterwards, Mary, a parishioner said;
“In my entire life, I was never so moved.”
How happy Maeve and I were to give her a complimentary copy of “The Joy of the Gospel,” by Pope Francis.
My wife and I both thank Father Brian Slezak and Julie Carrigan for inviting us to come, to give this brand new program.
I LOOK FORWARD to giving more “Days of Renewal.” Please call to learn more; 518 355-4843.
Thanks to Father David Kelly and to Carla Ward, for the “Visit” we did at the parish of St. Mary’s in Waterford on February 18th. It went very well. The ladies of the Altar Rosary Society provided hospitality afterwards, which a hungry, thirsty, performer and his wife really appreciated!
On November 26th, St. Paul visited St. Paul’s Church in Hancock, NY. Thanks to the personal warmth of Father Dan Quinn, and various parishioners, Maeve and I were welcomed and able to give a spirited and well-received performance. Father Dan was grateful that we made the long drive, but when I told him that we’d already been to China twice, he just laughed.
On September 17, I performed at the Church of the Hills, in Mariaville, NY. It’s a Presbyterian church, and its pastor, Rev. Susan Strang, welcomed me back for what was my second performance. This time, she gave “Visit” the whole service. Thus, I was able to do much more than in my first performance, last year. Thanks to all who attended and who gave me such warm feedback!
SPRING ENRICHMENT CONFERENCE, MAY, 2017:
I taught a class, “St. Paul and The Holy Spirit“ on May 19th, at our annual catechetical conference. As part of the class, I performed a segment from “Visit.” It was well-received. One woman’s amazed comment was;
“I really felt the Holy Spirit!”
As a matter of fact, so did I! So much so, that I’m now offering a new idea to parishes; a Day of Renewal wherein I teach the above class in the beginning of the day and end it with the performance. This would work well in Lent, but could serve in other seasons as well.
The proposed schedule for this Day of Renewal is available on request; call me at 518 355-4843
On April 23, which was Divine Mercy weekend, I did St. Paul for the parish of our Our Lady of Good Hope, Whitehall, NY. This was the first time that I have presented on this great feast! How grateful I am to Father Rendell Torres, the pastor, for having me come.
The Q & A that followed showed an intense interest in the mercy of God, especially as the Great Apostle both modeled and taught it.
With God’s help, I can bring “Visit” to other churches, on this significant feast in the coming years!
CONNECTICUT – Again!
I’m very pleased to report that I performed at Our Lady of Peace in Stratford, CT., on April 8th, Palm Sunday. Immediately preceding that performance, was a Lenten soup supper in the newly renovated Parish hall. What a great way to prepare for Holy Week! I’m so grateful to Father Nick Pavia, who invited us back for the second time.
Sharon, was in attendance for the second time, and was very enthusiastic about St Paul. She couldn’t wait to tell us that together with her pastor, they’re trying to launch a Catholic podcast. Its name? “Romans 8!” (this great Pauline chapter supplies my script with no less than five citations).
We pray that Sharon’s and Father Pavia’s New Evangelization outreach will blossom and grow in the power of the Holy Spirit!
I performed at St. John the Baptist Church in Valatie, on April 2. The parish, especially Regina Boyce, made a great effort to promote the event. It paid off with a great turnout! There were no less than five different Christian denominations represented that afternoon. Thanks so much, Regina!
St. Paul must have been pleased!
On March 5, at 2 PM, I appeared (for the third time) at St. John the Evangelist, in Schenectady, NY. The Confirmation class was front and center, and the whole parish was invited. Over 150 people came out on a Sunday afternoon -thanks to the vigorous promotion of Dianne Galarneau. “Visit” is truly beneficial for most ages!
On March 7, St. Paul visited with students from 4th to the 8th grade and their teachers of St. Mary’s Institute in Amsterdam. Here are some of the comments that Jean Allen, their Religion teacher, heard after the event;
“It was very realistic!”
“Entertaining, funny and interesting!”
“I felt like I was with St. Paul.”
“Creative and smart!”
SPECIAL NOTE: If you are a teacher or parent of a student in a Catholic elementary school or high school, who is interested in bringing my one-man performance to students, then please contact me (518 355-4843). In the meantime, please read about some of the school performances I have done ( immediately below)
I returned for a second performance at Catholic Central H.S. in Troy, NY., on the feast of “The Conversion of St. Paul,” January 25. I did it for the eight grade. Their theology teacher, Ann Pawlik loved what I did. Sorry to say, I have no photos to post, but there are many photos in other reports below.
I performed on November 13, at St. Joseph’s Church in Broadalbin, right after their last Sunday Mass.
In this photo below, St Paul interacts with a parishioner, who gladly “got into the act!”
St. Paul’s life and legacy continues to shine on the people of the Albany diocese… and beyond. Thanks be to God!!!
St. Mary’s of Ballston Spa, (10/9) the fine Catholic Church on Route 50, hosted me in the school auditorium. It was well received, and the hospitality committee did a nice job of feeding us before the Q&A. Thanks go out to them and to Deacon Ron Hogan, Bob Van Allstine and all who came out for the performance.
Deacon Ron Hogan looks on as I do Q & A
On August 24, I had the joy of presenting as St Paul at the Mariaville Presbyrterian church, known as the the Church of the Hills.
Spring Enrichment (May )is the annual gathering in the Albany Diocese for catechetical formation and ongoing faith formation for all the people of the diocese. I had a unique opportunity.
In addition to a brief performance, I took advantage of the Jubilee Year of Mercy to teach on the spiritual works of mercy.
On April 18, I returned to the parish where I once served on staff. I presented “A Visit with St Paul” at St. Thomas Church, Ann Arbor, MI. It was a well-attended performance, with a great Q&A session afterwards.
On the Friday before, I did two presentations for Gabriel Richard High School, in Ann Arbor. The theology classes of Sr. Sarah Burdick SGL, were extremely attentive. St. Paul visits with Sister Sarah and a student
The Catholic community of St. Jude’s in Wynantskill, NY got a double dose of “A Visit with St. Paul,” in late February. On Friday the 26th, grades 3- 6th, came into the church and were eager to meet and greet the Great Apostle.
After the performance, two outstanding things happened. One student, a 4th grader, asked, “How can we support your work?” You can imagine my surprise when I heard this. I simply told him, “You can pray for us.” My wife and and I smiled at each other, as he walked back to class. Another student, a girl in the same grade came up to us privately, and with a serious expression said, “I appreciated your message.” Such maturity- mixed with poise and gratitude- from such young people! Now Maeve and I better understand Jesus, who taught, “Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a little child, will never enter it.” -Luke 18:17
Two days later, there was a fine turnout for the Sunday afternoon parish performance. Father Ligato, the pastor of St. Jude’s Church, even volunteered to deliver Paul’s letter to the Phillippians. Now , that’s “going the extra mile!” And it gives you a taste of the interactive experience that is “Visit.”
St. Paul enjoyed his visit at St. Patrick’s Church in Ravena, NY, on February 21. The Columbiettes of the parish organized the event as a fund-raiser, and the turnout was excellent! What a beautiful church to perform in! As the Great Apostle, I felt such unity with those in attendance. At the Q & A, not only was more light shed on the life and legacy of St. Paul, but there was much laughter as well. I didn’t want to stop. Thanks Deacon Steve, for seeing that we didn’t go on forever.
Many thanks go out to Lois Young and her husband, Deacon Steve, for having me come to St Patrick’s, and to all the Columbiettes, for the warm reception they gave us.
One postscript; it’s amazing how things happen in God’s time, not ours. Over five years ago, a couple approached me after seeing me perform in Schenectady. They asked me if I would like to come to Ravena. Of course, I said “yes.” Well, after much prayer, and in God’s good time, it did finally happen. They were there for the event.
Now, maybe St Paul will get a chance to visit the sister parish, St Mary’s in Coxsackie! Again… in God’s good time.
“The Bible in Music”
I was part of a musical, “The Bible in Music,” which was staged at the GE Theater in Proctor’s, in December, 2015. This production by a local director, and assorted local talent, was staged three times and was very well-received. As the Great Apostle, I had to condense my normal hour performance into eight minutes! With God’s help, I did it, and it was a very fine experience to be part of a talented and committed group of people.
On November 1, I performed as St. Paul for the parish of that name in Ramsey, NJ. Thanks go out to Donna Schifano, for helping to make it happen.
Father Stefano was so kind and affirming in his remarks after the performance. May God bless him, his ministry and all the people of St. Paul’s Church! The next day, in the same church, St. Paul visited the Academy of St Paul, grades 4th through 8th.
These students were very attentive during the performance, and at the Q & A asked good questions. I always find it delightful to perform for grade schools, and the students are never bored. On the contrary, the exciting life of St. Paul keeps them riveted!
THE GREAT APOSTLE VISITS CONNECTICUT….again
In late October, we were welcomed at a high school and a youth group. First, the youth group at St. Elizabeth Seton parish in Ridgefield, CT, opened their doors… St. Paul loves youth, and the feeling is mutual The next day, the Sophomore class at Immaculate High School in Danbury, filled the chapel and heard stories from the Great Apostle. Their Religion teacher, Ms. Gina Donnarummo, and the chaplain, Deacon Jeff Font were a model of collaboration, helping make this event a very exciting and fruitful one.
Comments from students while back in class;
“After the performance, he was no longer Saint Paul; he was himself when he answered our questions.”
“It was a fun and neat representation of the life of Saint Paul.”
And perhaps the highest praise of all… “It was cool.” We agree, dude! And we look forward to returning there one day should God allow.
PRESENTING FOR THOSE WHO SERVE THE INCARCERATED
On Sept. 14, I presented “Visit” at the annual conference of New York State Prison Chaplains. What a privilege it was to perform for the priests, deacons and laity who serve the incarcerated!
Also in attendance was Bishop Dominick Lagonegro, who serves as an auxiliary in the New York Archdiocese. His response to the performance was enthusiastic, and he spoke to me of performing for the young adult fellowship in the Newburgh area, where he lives and serves.
Many thanks to Kathleen Gallagher of the New York State Catholic Conference for making this possible!
(For the article that appeared in “The Evangelist,” detailing my performance at Coxsackie Correctional Facility, see my post entitled, “St Paul Visits Prison.”)
St. Paul sees the light!
It was a beautiful spring day, but a number of people showed up, not only from the parish, but from surrounding parishes as well. I want to thank everyone who attended, and was especially touched by the generosity of the free will offering. As a result, $600 will be split between Family Promise of Albany and to the Sisters of the Good Shepherd who make Sr. Pam’s apostolate possible in East Asia.
ST. PAUL DELIVERS THE SERMON AT CHRIST CHURCH
On May 31, as part of their Sunday services, I “was the sermon,” performing as St. Paul, for Christ Church Episcopal, in Schenectady. This was a “first.” Maeve and I were so impressed with the hospitality and the warmth of the pastor, Fr. Brad Jones, his wife, the deacons, and the people we met from the congregation.
Special thanks to Father Brad for allowing “A Visit with St Paul” to be the sermon that day. It was a mutually rewarding experience!
IN LONG ISLAND WITH OUR LUTHERAN FRIENDS
May 16th marked my first performance at a Lutheran church. At the invitation of Pastor Ray Lorthoir, I presented the life of the Great Apostle to a great audience of people representing not only Trinity Lutheran Church of West Hempstead, but also folks from at least three other traditions. “How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!” — Psalm 133:1
After the Q & A, which was lively and fun, Pastor Ray commented how righteousness is shared with other believers, which is what St. Paul demonstrated in such an exemplary fashion.
I look forward to performing in other Christian churches, so that we may live out this exhortation of St. Paul’s: “Make every effort to preserve the unity that has the Spirit as its origin and peace as its binding force.” –Eph. 4:3
Wells Nursing Home, Johnstown, NY On April 8, Easter Wednesday, St. Paul visited his very first nursing home. Thanks to a volunteer named Mary Ann, who had seen me in her home parish, Holy Trinity, and to the activities director, Lisa Egan, I performed for about twenty-five residents.
What a joy to proclaim the Gospel to God’s oldest children! In fact, one of them, Carmella, told me that she was 103 years old! I never would have guessed it- she was so alert and cheerful. At one point in the script, I ask my audience, all of whom are my “visitors in Rome,” this question; “Did any of you know Jesus while he walked the earth?” One man raised his hand! How is that for a witness, eh? Thanks to all the staff at Wells, who made it possible for so many of the residents to come for the event. May God bless them, Lisa and all the volunteers in their important service. Our fervent hope is that Wells is not the last nursing home to welcome a “Visit with St Paul.
” Diocesan Lent Retreat for the Bridgeport Diocese, March 28th
I was invited by Gina Donnarummo, director for Faith Formation, to present for their annual retreat. Father Nick Pavia, the pastor of Our Lady of Peace in Stratford, CT, welcomed us with open arms.
This performance was the first time I was invited to present for a retreat. Gina had a wonderful program worked out, where retreatants were invited to reflect on the life of the apostle.
Near the end of the retreat, everyone was invited to do lectio divina using the story of Saul’s conversion. Afterwards, the faith sharing was very rich. Here are some comments that were emailed to Gina;
“Wow, what a great great retreat! Loved Loved Loved the play– One of the BEST retreats I have ever been to…” – Nancy
“It was a beautiful and very inspiring retreat today. St. Paul will be with me in such a different way now. Thank you!” – Mickey
“I hope that this retreat will be repeated in all the parishes of our diocese!” – Maria
Many thanks to Gina, to Father Nick, and to all who participated, for this was a truly Spirit-filled day.
HOLY APOSTLES SEMINARY, CROMWELL, CT. March 27th
How excited I was for this opportunity to perform for men in priestly formation. This was my first such opportunity. Men from over ten nations, and sisters from Asia, as well as some faculty members attended.
When the rector of the seminary, Father Douglas Mosey OSB , got up at the end, he expressed sincere gratitude for the performance which he said was a great preparation for Holy Week.
MERCY CHAPEL, ALBANY, NY – March 24th
Regina Boyce is a Mercy Associate with the Sisters of Mercy. Having seen me perform last year, she took the initiative, along with Sister Kathleen Pritty RSM, to invite me to her spiritual home.
Retired Sisters, Sisters in active ministry and Mercy Associates, as well as members of the larger community were in the audience.
ST, JOSEPH’S CHURCH, STUYVESANT FALLS, NY -March 22
When Angelique Hebert, the Faith Formation director of three linked parishes, called me to have “Visit” come to them, I wondered where Stuyvesant Falls was! Well, we found out that they have the pleasure of residing in a lovely area, and an historic one as well. You can even visit the home of Benedict Arnold if you’d like!
When we arrived at the parish, this is the sign that greeted us
When it came time for the actual performance, the people were ready to hear the Great Apostle share his stories from his days as a powerful missionary.
Much thanks to Angelique for this event, and all the hard work she did to make it happen. We also appreciated the presence that day, of Frs. Fleming and Quinn, who together serve the three linked parishes with great zeal.
THE CHURCH UNIVERSAL – New Opportunities
I thank God for being given the chance to present “A Visit with St Paul” on all these occasions in March. For it is a privilege to present to the laity, priests and seminarians, and the Mercy Sisters and their Associates, a wonderful group of women who have served the Church faithfully for so many years. As the Spirit continues to move, our hope is that we can reach many more of the faithful- which includes our brothers and sisters from other faith traditions.
GREAT WEEKEND AT ST. MATTHEW’S IN VOORHEESVILLE
On March 7 & 8th, I did St Paul for the Family Faith Formation program. At both events, there was a great turnout, from those in the program and from other parishioners. (see photos below) As usual, the questions and answers from both adults and children shed more light on the life and legacy of St Paul. There were a few good laughs, too. Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to Ellen Doolin, the interim director of the program, and to her family(below), who all chipped in to make both events go as well as they did. Also, our thanks goes out to the pastor, Fr. Chris DeGiovine, who welcomed us so warmly, and who wrote to us after the event; “Your deeply felt, well researched, and powerful performance of the great apostle is a blessing to our parish, our diocese and to any fortunate enough to encounter you and your ministry. Thanks so very much for bringing to life the great evangelizer. May God continue to bless your ministry abundantly and for years and years to come. “ Blessings to you, too, Father Chris! Here are some more photos;
Afterwards, a chat with Tom about the Great Apostle As a sidebar, something wonderful happened before and after the Sunday performance. It was during the Q & A on Saturday, that I mentioned my conversion experience in 1976. Two of the women there took note of that. One of them came back Sunday morning, and just before the event, she came with her daughter. They asked me to share what my conversion was like, which I was glad to do. Much to my surprise, after the performance, another mother came, with her young adult daughter and asked me to share the same testimony! In both instances, these paraphrased words of St Paul, which are part of my show, came true. “Do the work of an evangelist. Give your testimony to whomever will listen.” Thanks go out to our Good Lord, who made it possible for me to do this very thing with those two mothers and their respective daughters!
ANOTHER RECENT PERFORMANCE
We want to thank Fr. Jim Spenard, pastor of St. Augustine’s Church in Troy, where I performed on Feb. 21. Despite the snowy weather, it was a good turnout. Special appreciation goes out to Donna and Mike Phipps who worked so hard to promote the event. They make great soup, too!
A LOCAL STORY TELLER WRITES ABOUT “VISIT”
Last month, I performed at Holy Trinity parish in Cohoes. Here is what Marni Gillard, a local professional story teller, had to say about what she saw that night;
“EVERY Christian needs to see this. I am so so much more open to Paul’s words and even to his conversion tale which I’ve always loved reading. I could go on, but won’t. Thank you. Thank you, for continuing this ministry you are clearly CALLED to. Your portrayal of Paul was worth my wait! Bless you…. ”
” Jesus and Paul; The Mystery Revealed” -E-zine article.
” One Man Show Gets to the Heart of St Paul.” -The Brooklyn Tablet, Jan. 2014
” St. Paul Visits Prison” – The Evangelist, December, 2014
“All things work together for good for those who love God and who are called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28