Today is the Feast of the Shipwreck of St Paul.

Before today, I’d never heard of this feast. (Universalis strikes again!) I think this gives Paul an edge over Peter in the feast day stakes. They share one feast day, as co-founders of the Church in Rome. Peter also has the Chair of St Peter. Paul has the feast of his conversion and now, I learn, the feast of his Maltese shipwreck!

According to the sources (that is, the Acts of the Apostles), in the year 59, after two years in a Caesarean prison, St Paul exercised his right as a Roman citizen to “appeal unto Caesar.” But Paul’s voyage to Rome was prolonged by a shipwreck off the coast of Malta, just off St Paul’s Bay which probably went by a different name back then! While the ship was mended, Paul worked many miracles and effectively founded the Church in Malta.

In Malta today’s feast is a major celebration. It is, after all, the birthday of the Church in Malta. Here’s a neat video of the festivities:

Until I saw this video, I never had any desire to visit Malta. But now I am determined to make a pilgrimage to Valletta and celebrate the Shipwreck of St Paul!

In the meantime, I can mark the feast more soberly by praying for the Church in Malta, and for “the Maltese diaspora.” Since WWII, there has always been at least one seminarian of Maltese extraction studying at Corpus Christi College. Presently there are, I think, two seminarians with a Maltese background. (One and a half, if you want to get technical.) Happy feast day brothers!