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Paul's Missionary Journeys

About this article

Saint Paul's Feast Day is June 29. This activity about Paul's Missionary Journeys is from the leader's guide for Scripture Sessions on the New Testament. Based on Paul's journeys, students imagine their own missionary journey.

Preparation

  • Gather the following items:
    • pens or pencils
    • copies of The Catholic Youth Bible® or another Bible, one for each participant
    • maps of Paul's journeys (See maps 7 and 8 from the Study Aids section in the back of The Catholic Youth Bibleor maps provided in other Bibles.)
    • newsprint and markers
  • Create a missionary display for this session by arranging a knapsack, a pair of sandals, a walking stick, a bottle of water, and a Bible in the center of the room where everyone can easily see the items.

    1. Begin the session by having a volunteer read aloud the following article, "The Journeys of Paul," which is also on page 27 in chapter 5 of the Scripture Sessions on the New Testamentparticipant's workbook:
        According to most interpretations of Acts, Paul made three missionary journeys over a ten-year period to spread the Gospel message. The details of his first journey are covered in chapters 13-14. The second journey is reported in chapters 16-18. The third journey is described in chapters 19-21. Paul himself may have seen these not as three separate journeys but as one continuous missionary activity. On these journeys, Paul made converts and started Christian communities. On the second and third journeys, he also visited established communities to give them guidance and support. Paul's third journey landed him back in Jerusalem, where some Jews had him arrested. On the basis of his Roman citizenship, Paul appealed to the emperor. So he was transported to Rome (this trip is referred to as his fourth journey). He probably died there as a martyr around AD 65. Some traditions say that Paul wasn't martyred there but went on to evangelize in Spain. (
    The Catholic Youth Bible
      , near Acts, chapters 13-21)
    Have the participants form three teams, and assign one of Paul's first three missionary journeys to each team for study. Tell them that as they read their assigned chapters, they are to also examine the maps. Instruct the groups to prepare a presentation that is based on their study and that includes the following points:
    • the various places Paul went on that journey
    • about how many miles he traveled
    • special events or highlights that happened
    2. After the presentations tell the young people they have the opportunity to plan a missionary trip of their own. Working with their teams, they are to decide where they would like to travel and give witness to their own faith and relationship with Jesus Christ. They should choose five cities, towns, or localities from one particular region. Their plan should include the reason why they chose those places, what particular purpose or group of people they will address, their mode of travel, their length of stay, and how they will gain entrance or be welcomed by the people they will visit. Instruct each group to record the details about their missionary journey plan on newsprint.

    3. Give them about 10 minutes to plan their journey. Then ask the teams to each present the details of their journey to the whole group. Allow the rest of the class to ask questions after each presentation to help clarify the plans. Conclude the session by asking the young people to gather around the missionary display. Then proclaim Luke 9:1-6. After the reading, invite the participants to pray the following prayer, "Help Us Evangelize," which is also on page 28 in chapter 5 of the participant's workbook:
        O God, how I admire Paul! I too want to share your Good News with my generation. So let your Holy Spirit bless me with the gift of evangelization. Help me reach out to other young people no matter what clique or group they belong to. Help me to bring out the best in our culture and to challenge that which is wrong or misleading. Give me courage to speak fearlessly about my faith in Jesus when it is right to do so. And let me be your instrument in building communities of faith, hope, and love. Amen. (Adapted from
    The Catholic Youth Bible,
      near Acts, chapter 17)

Acknowledgments

(This activity is taken from the leader's guide for Scripture Sessions on the New Testament. Copyright © 2006 by Saint Mary's Press. Permission is granted for this activity to be used for classroom or campus ministry purposes. This activity may not be republished in any form without written permission from Saint Mary's Press. To order this book, contact Saint Mary's Press at 800-533-8095, or visit our online catalog at www.smp.org/catalog.cfm.)

Published May 27, 2008.