Rising After Some Falls
Rich Andre, CSP
August 5, 2022
Rich Andre, CSP
August 5, 2022
A lot happened in July.
In my first month here, I completed a review of the roles of our pastoral staff. To be honest, this excellent team – Norm, Susan, and Patty – have been carrying very heavy burdens for a long time. A lot of organizational structures at the Paulist Center that had been honed over the decades before March 2020 have fallen by the wayside during the pandemic, leaving each member of the pastoral staff with more administrative tasks, repetitive jobs, and last-minute deadline stress. One of my most important and immediate tasks is to find them some relief so that they can concentrate on the responsibilities for which they are uniquely qualified to do.
Meanwhile, at the St. Thomas More Newman Center of the Ohio State University, the Paulist Fathers concluded 66 years as chaplains. Bishop Fernandes – only installed on May 31 – has a very different vision for campus ministry, a vision at odds with how the Paulists developed and nurtured the Newman Center community. You can read more about it in The Columbus Dispatch, The National Catholic Reporter, and other places. Please pray for everyone in Columbus affected by these drastic changes, including the Paulists who were ministering there.
Back here in the Boston Paulists’ residence, we don’t have many updates on Chuck’s health yet. Nevertheless, now that he has taken a leave of absence, we are shocked to discover how many things “Father Detail” did to care for the resident Paulists!
It’s a lot to take in. But after a crucifixion, there’s always an opportunity for a resurrection. These setbacks can and will lead to new opportunities.
First of all, the recent director of the Newman Center in Columbus, Ed Nowak, will become the new associate director at the Paulist Center and the new superior of the local Boston Paulist community! Ed will be moving here in a few weeks, but it will take him a while to come up to speed on everything, especially considering the emotional roller coaster he’s been on in the past two months. I’m thrilled that we’ll have Ed here with us, but I hope that all the native Bostonians of Irish heritage at the Paulist Center can handle working alongside two priests of Eastern-European heritage from the South Hills of Pittsburgh, PA! (The name Nowak – pronounced “NOE-vak” — is Polish. My last name – which I pronounce “AND-ray” – is Hungarian.)
The complete turnover of Paulist personnel in a little over a month gives us a natural opportunity to ask questions about how we’re doing things. And when things change, there can be a sense of energy and excitement. In a 2-week period last month, we received more requests for new memberships to the Paulist Center than we have in any other 14-day period in 5 years. There’s a sense that, even if we have another surge of Covid-19 infections this fall, some long-time members are feeling ready to re-invest, re-invent, and re-invigorate ministries and systems that haven’t functioned to their full potential since March 2020. We’ll start rolling out lots of opportunities for ministries and volunteering in the next few weeks, so stay tuned.
Me? I will continue to be overwhelmed for the next month or so. Here are some specific things that you can do to help relieve the burden unexpectedly placed on me last week:
Thanks for your prayers and support. With the grace of the Holy Spirit, and with our awareness of belonging to the one Body of Christ, we will pull through this difficult time, even better equipped to carry out our mission!