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Jesus says, “Do it in secret!”

March 4, 2022

Dear Companions on the Journey,

I recently sent an email to some really great Paulist Center members (I know: that’s redundant!). But it was a difficult message for me to send because it contained a word that is sometimes painful to say: “no.” After I wrote it, I thought that I would share some of its contents as we embark on another Lenten voyage.

Ash Wednesday‘s gospel passage beckons us to what I call the “big three”: prayer, almsgiving, and fasting. All three are directly concerned with Christian outreach. When I said a “reluctant ‘no'” to some Community members, I observed that the Paulist Center’s bandwidth for another organization or membership or cause is about full.

Then I enumerated those issues and actions we are committed to, either as a community or as committees within the Community. And this is what I included:

The Paulist Center Community is committed to Immigration Justice (including working in coalition with groups like MCAN, MIRA, and the Coalition for Sanctuary); the Back Bay Ministers forum; the Walk for Hunger and other initiatives of Project Bread (the Paulist Center began the Walk for Hunger more than 50 years ago and is, even today, the group participants with the highest amount); Prison Reform through its St. Dismas Committee (including Catholic Mobilization against the Death Penalty); a very robust response to the George Floyd killing and the emergence of a very fine action committee working against racism (see its Lenten book club initiative here); LGBTQ Issues (including International AIDS day and Pride Weekend); numerous downtown groups working on housing, and advocacy for the unhoused in downtown Boston (including working on the Mass/Cass issue). We have an ongoing commitment to Casa Vieja, our sister parish in El Salvador; ad hoc outreach initiatives (the teens’ gather spare change, shoes for folks on the border, and the Jesse Tree); to say nothing of the Wednesday Night Supper Club – which is struggling even now to have enough cooks every week – and our weekly food pantry; the Care for Creation community eagerly and competently challenges us all to address that issue as well; See its Lenten series here in our bulletin.

And then remember that every week, we give 5% of our weekend collection to groups outside of ourselves, most of which embody the corporal works of mercy. Wow, 52 groups who count on us for support.

I mention this to all of you, not to pat ourselves on the back or to toot our own horn (Jesus says, “Do it in secret!”), but rather to underscore how incredibly important our community is, not only in our worship and centering of Jesus Christ in our lives (as if that weren’t enough), but also in our working for justice and direct service in our local community.

Which is another important reason why, when the time is right for each person, we recommit to worship bodily in our beautiful chapel, to share in the Sacred Banquet, to invide new people to enliven out community, and to strengthen ourselves over the long haul to these very important issues.

What do you think? How do you feel?

During Lent, The Paulist Center Prays Together…

Our LGBTQ+ Ministry invites us, every Wednesday, 7-7:30pm, to Lenten Prayer. Here’s the Zoom Link. All are welcome.

Daily Devotional for Lent…

We offer this booklet of daily meditations for Lent. You may download this devotional and read day by day (we purchased the license for the Paulist Center Community). Tell us what you think!

What, again, is “Lent”? Here it is in three minutes!

Afghan Refugee Resettlement: What’s Happening; Why We Care; What’s Next. Thursday, March 10th, 7pm. Learn about Afghan resettlement on this Zoom event co-sponsored by the Paulist Center’s Immigrant Advocacy Group and the Adult Education Committee. Here’s the link. For more information, go here.

God’s Plan(et); Heal our Common Home and Respond to the Cry of the Poor, 11am-12:30pm, Saturday, March 12th. Learn ways how your Catholic faith will help to promote environmental justice. For details and to register, go here.

Hope for the Future Campaign Moving Right Along

Everyone should have received a “Campaign Packet” in the mail over the last two weeks. Volunteers will be reaching out individually to members of our community. Remember, while the letter you received from Fr. Eric includes a financial request, it is not an expectation. It is an invitation. I invite you to pray about this campaign. And, as always, thank you! (If you didn’t receive the packet, please contact me at

March is “Women’s History Month.” Learn about four great Catholic women (Doctors of the Church Thérèse of Lisieux, Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Siena, and Hildegard von Bingen). Tuesday, March 8th, 3pm. Here’s the link for registration. About a day after, it will be available in recorded form.


The Sunday bulletin is online at the Paulist Center website. We hope that you will open it with these links to see more about what is happening now at the Paulist Center Community.

We conclude 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, Norm, Dorothy, Barbara, Rob, Alvaro, and Sal.
Please feel free to call upon your Pastoral Ministers if you wish.