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American Civic Life

January 22, 2021

Dear Friends on the Journey,

Growing up in a very Catholic environment, we were always reminding one another in the tribe: “You know, Perry Como is a Catholic.” “You know, Kobe Bryant is a Catholic!” “You know, Stephen Colbert is a Catholic!” And on and on. When you’re a minority, you want to say, “one of us has ‘made it’!”

What brought this to mind was watching Wednesday’s Inauguration. It was spectacularly beautiful in so many ways. And then I began counting the Catholics. In addition to the overwhelming majority of the Supreme Court (including Justice Sonia Sotomayor who swore in Vice President Harris), consider these Catholics: President Joe Biden, Lady Gaga (most beautiful rendition of our national anthem I’ve ever heard), Jennifer Lopez, Amanda Gorman (the scene-stilling, stunning poet who, with her lips and fingers, traced miracles in the air), and so many others. Now, it seems, not only can we Catholics play in the big leagues…we are the big leagues.

What’s my point? For years, our Paulist Founder, Isaac Hecker, claimed that one’s Catholicism can be a resource to be a better American and that one’s American citizenship can contribute to being a better Catholic. Perhaps our American experiment has, in humility, something to teach our international Church.

This happened, to some degree, at the Second Vatican Council (1963-65) when American Church leaders claimed, to great advantage, that the separation of Church and state is good for the Church! And that our experience of living in a religiously pluralistic country showed the wisdom of going beyond religious tolerance to embracing religious differences and respect for the other. Boston’s own Cardinal Cushing’s experience of having a Jewish brother-in-law, with whom he shared Sunday dinners with his sister, was the grist that brought a realistic experience to the theoretical, theological considerations at the Council.

So now that we Catholics are in the Big Leagues, what do you think we have to contribute to our American experience, our American civic life?

I think Cardinal Seán has suggested some particularly Catholic issues (e.g., immigration, racism, economic justice and opportunity for all) about which we may have something to say.

What do you think?

I like this prayer as a way of being realistic about our contribution:

“I Want To Be Available”

Holy and perfect God,
you know I want to be available.
Help that desire sink deeply enough into my being
for me to actually change
and to say “no” to at least one worthy, but not urgent, task today.
Give me the ability to be open to the life I am leading;
not the one I am planning to lead.
Author unknown

Lots of Paulist Fathers’ News this Week:

  1. This weekend (January 23 and 24), local Paulist Father John Geaney will be preaching at both weekend Masses for the Annual Paulist Appeal. See this link as well.
  2. On Monday night, January 25th, 8:30pm, the Paulist Fathers will offer a livestreamed 40-minute, national expression of the Annual Paulist Appeal. This will include a marvelous homily by Paulist Father Jack Collins (that’s what he told me) and a testimony from two local Paulist Center members. Here’s the link.
  3. Our Paulist Associates will be joining their fellow associates around the country on a Renewal of their Promises on Sunday, January 24th, 5pm. Here’s the link.

Paulist Center Pastoral Council Election. We are a bit behind in our Pastoral Council election this year, but here’s the ballot (for Paulist Center members only): Please vote/affirm these three candidates, one new and two renewing members. Happily we have the same number of candidates as there are slots, so no losers this time. They are all wonderful! Here’s the link.

Worshiping In-Person at the Paulist Center Chapel
(imperative if you will be worshiping with us)…

How to reserve a place?

Please call the Center (617.742.4460) Wednesday through Friday during business hours (10am-5pm). Sal, our receptionist, will take your name and contact information (either email or phone number. We need this information so that we can contact you should we become aware, after the liturgy, of a person with Covid who attended your Mass).

1) For the 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Sunday, January 24th, Live-Streamed Liturgy/Mass from the Chapel, at 10am (available as recording at same link after 11:15am): Here’s the YouTube Link:

2) Paulist Center Families’ Third Sunday Liturgy of the Word, 10am, Sunday, January 24th:
See Fr. Mike’s Email Missive for the link details.

3) Paulist Center Rosary Circle. 7:30pm every Monday.
Here’s the Zoom Link:
Meeting ID: 487 503 158; Passcode: 021078

4) All are welcome to a half-hour prayer gathering with/from the Paulist Center’s Lay Reflector’s group next Wednesday, 7pm. See Fr. Michael’s email missive for the url.

Ways of Giving:

Our “Community Gift” is the Paulist Center’s tradition of giving away 5% of our weekend offerings, averaged out over the whole year, to a group outside of ourselves. This week, we lift up the Paulist Fathers in their Annual Paulist Appeal. Every year we devote one Sunday’s “Community Gift” to the Paulist Fathers’ needs: care for the older fathers, formation for the students, and our missions. Many of you will receive a mailing this coming week about how you can directly give to this appeal.. Thank you so much for your generosity!

We are so very grateful for your support during this time of uncertainly and financial peril. Here are two ways to give:

  1. To make a one-time or recurring donation using your bank account or credit card, click on the following link:
    Giving by text: Text 844-899-7511 with the amount you would like to donate (whole dollars only). Donations collected this way will be designated as part of the “Weekend Offering.”
  2. Giving by text: Text a whole dollar donation amount to 844-899-7511; this will be designated as your “Weekend Offering.”

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I conclude now with the Prophet Micah 6:8:

Our Faithful God has told you, O mortal, what is good;
   and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, to love kindness,
   and to walk humbly with your God?

And let us pray for/with one another.
Michael McGarry, C.S.P.
Director, the Paulist Center

Along with Patty, Chuck, Susan, Peter, Dorothy, John, Barbara, Rob, Alvaro, and Sal. Please feel free to call upon your Pastoral Ministers if you wish.

I will be sending out something every Thursday or Friday as the “shut down” continues.