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Conventional Thinking

August 28, 2020

Dear Friends on the Journey,

Well, I wanted to avoid it, but a few emails to me and the thunderous catcalling and judgmental shouting over the internet about the high-profile Catholic presence at both Democratic and Republican National Conventions (e.g, Fr. James Martin, SJ, Sr. Simone Campbell, SSS, and Timothy Cardinal Dolan, among many others) leads me to offer this modest thought-piece. It is a reflection from Fr. Jim Martin (who offered a prayer at the DNC):
I am pro life. That means that I’m also pro social justice. That means that I am not only for the dignity of the human being from the moment of conception, but also for the dignity of the human being until the natural end of life. For life does not end with birth. A person who is truly pro life is pro all life, pro every stage of life, pro every stage of life for every person. For all life is sacred, because all life is created by God. That means that I support anything that helps a person live a full, healthy, and satisfying life, in every part of the world. So I am for care of the poor, for a living wage, for affordable health care, for adequate housing, for a human work environment, for equal pay for women, for generous childcare, for the support of the aged and the infirm. That means I support caring for the marginalized among us: the refugee, the migrant, the displaced person, the homeless, the unemployed, the person with disabilities, the single mother, women who are abused, minorities of every kind who are persecuted, and all those who feel left out, mocked, lonely, ignored or frightened. That means that I am against torture, because it is an affront to human dignity. I am against the death penalty, the most serious affront to an adult life. I am against abuse and mistreatment in prisons. I am against war as a way to solve problems. That means I respect the lives of all creatures, and am therefore for the care of the world in which we live, for the environment in the broadest sense. That means I am pro peace, pro justice and pro reconciliation.
The longer I am a Jesuit, the longer I am a priest, the longer I live, the more I pray and listen and observe, the more convinced I am of the sanctity and beauty of life. So, yes, I am pro life. Pro all life. I hope you are too.
What do you think?
As we look to the fall and we continue our mostly stay-in-place Paulist Center Community life, the Adult Education Committee is preparing an opportunity for us prayerfully to ask the question, How does a Catholic of conscience approach the coming national elections? Stay tuned.
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A Few Reentry Items (imperative if you will be worshiping with us) …

We continue our “slow roll” reentry into the Paulist Center Chapel. For the Masses on August 29 and 30, please reserve a place for either the 5pm Mass on Saturday or the 10am on Sunday.

How to reserve a place?

Call the Center (617.742.4460) during business hours (10am-5pm) Wednesday through noontime Friday. 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).

Again, please read the Procedures carefully and watch the video [both links below]).  Of special note:

  • The doors open 10 minutes before the service.
  • Masks must be worn at all times in the Chapel.
  • Please follow the directions of the hospitality ministers when entering, exiting, and at communion.
  • Once seated, please stay in place.
  • We invite you to hum along with the songs (no singing).


1) Here are the expectations and requirements: Procedures
2) A wonderful YouTube Video:

Because of people’s changing plans and unexpected calls to out-of-town places, a few of our Ministers of Hospitality temporarily had to step aside. So if you can assist with welcoming, seating, and directing people into and out of the Chapel, we would love to hear from you! If you are not in a vulnerable group with regard to COVID-19 and are willing and able to assist in this very important ministry, please contact Peter Ghiloni at

1) 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, August 30th, Live Streamed Liturgy/Mass from the Chapel, at 10am:
Here’s the link:

2) Paulist Center Families Prayer Service, 10 am, Sunday
New Zoom meeting ID.  See the emailed weekly Missive from Fr. Mike McGarry for the link.
Please note that this service – to which all are invited – is only live. That is, you can join only at 10am. The recording of the live-streamed Mass can be viewed anytime: “live” at 10am or recorded any time after 11:15am, same link.


Ways of Giving:

Our “Community Gift” is our 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 Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC). CAC seeks to empower individuals to live out their sacred soul-tasks in service to the world through contemplative programs and resources.

(In addition, perhaps some would like to give directly to help our brothers and sisters in Lebanon. I recommend Catholic Near East Welfare Association. Go to their website, to donate.)

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.”
An idea: Recently a few folks have made special contributions to help cover expenses for our live-streaming equipment. How thoughtful, how generous. What a great idea!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I conclude with the wise words of St. Teresa of Avila:

Nothing can trouble,
nothing can frighten.
Those who seek God shall
never go wanting.
Nothing can trouble,
nothing can frighten.
God alone fills us.

And let us pray for/with one another.

Michael McGarry, C.S.P.
Director, the Paulist Center

Along with Patty, Chuck, Susan, Peter, Dorothy, 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.