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Easter Greetings, with a Festive “Alleluia!”

Fr Rich AndreFr. Rich Andre, CSP
April 8, 2023

Alleluia! Christ is risen! Whether this is your first time or your four-thousandth time worshipping at the Paulist Center, we are glad that you are with us today. Welcome!

Some people are embarrassed to admit that they don’t find the Easter gospel stories as compelling as the earlier accounts of Jesus’ teachings and actions. Such a feeling is understandable: the Easter stories focus not on Jesus, but on how other people react to Jesus’ resurrection. It’s rather odd that on this, the holiest day of the Church year, we celebrate… divine absence. Our joy springs from an empty tomb.

If we react to Jesus’ resurrection with questions and doubts, we’re in good company. In John’s gospel, Mary Magdalene, Peter, the beloved disciple, and Thomas did not initially understand what was going on, either. Nevertheless, Jesus and the other disciples stayed in relationship with them even as they worked through their questions and doubts.

The Paulist Center is a truly special place. This is a community where all are welcome at Mass, not only devout Catholics committed to the work of justice, but also those who are unfamiliar with the Church’s teachings and those who question some of the teachings. We journey together as we each search for answers to our questions!

The people of the Paulist Center Community follow in the footsteps Servant of God Isaac Hecker (1819-1888). Hecker grew up as a spiritual seeker, feeling called by God to do something extraordinary with his life, but he did not understand to what God was calling him. Hecker worked in his brothers’ business, dabbled in New York politics, and lived in Boston-area Transcendentalist communes before discerning the Holy Spirit’s invitation to become a Catholic. He later banded with four other men who were initially raised in other Christian traditions to form the Paulist Fathers, the first community of Catholic priests founded in the United States.

The Paulist Center is one of the experimental ways that the Paulist Fathers have endeavored to make the Catholic faith relevant. In the 1950s and 60s, people flocked here on their lunch breaks to learn about the Catholic faith, and then were baptized here and joined our worshipping community. The Paulist Center continues to be a place of innovative evangelization. It was among the first Catholic communities in the world to minister to certain marginalized groups, including divorced and separated people, women yearning for larger leadership roles within the Church, and LGBTQ+ persons. Our community is filled with passionate people dedicated to issues of charity and justice. For over 50 years, our Wednesday Night Supper Club has provided dignified, sit-down, community-building meals for our neighbors in need. Project Bread, one of the largest non-profit fundraisers in Boston, was originally founded by our members to support the Supper Club. (Support our Walk For Hunger team on May 7 at!) At any given time, at least a half-dozen justice and advocacy groups work to bring forth the reign of God here and now.

You are always welcome to join us for our liturgies, programs, and initiatives, even as you continue to ask questions about the faith. It was good enough for Mary Magdalene, Peter, the beloved disciple, and Thomas! We warmly welcome you to the Paulist Center. If we stay connected to one another even as we express our doubts, perhaps we, like Thomas, will also come to a more robust faith. Please check out the rest of the bulletin for a variety of ways to connect with us.

We wish you a happy Easter, of course, but we’ll intensify that greeting by turning it once again into a statement of faith: Alleluia! Christ is risen!