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Season of Waiting

November 27, 2020

Dear Friends on the Journey,

This week, we begin, as a Christian community, observing the Season of Advent. (For a quick refresher, see BustedHalo’s two-minute explanation of just what the Season of Advent means here.)

Advent is the season of waiting, of anticipating, of preparing, of hoping for the coming of Jesus, our gracious God’s expression of love for us.

A few years ago, I related this story of Ernest Hemingway. Injured in World War I while working as an ambulance driver, Hemingway found that recovering from doctors’ pulling 237 shrapnel pieces from his body required six months in a hospital ward. He “became fascinated by how differently [other patients in the hospital ward] waited through the seemingly endless days of recovery. Some distracted themselves with small entertainments, others cried out in lament, and still others pondered the depths of their lives.” Reflecting later on this experience, Hemingway concluded that “the waiting does not break us; it reveals us.”

Our pandemic isolation is certainly revealing for many of us our capacity for waiting, for whatever: for a vaccine, for Spring, for when we can hug our grandchild again, for when we can get back in the classroom, for when we can travel, for when we can work again, for when we can have that elusive “normal” we yearn for.

This year, Advent waiting does not require a lot of imagination.

We pray that our waiting not break us, but rather reveal something glorious in us, and through us to one another.

What do you think?


(Speaking of Christmas, in next week’s Missive I will describe our Christmas plans for the Paulist Center. As I saw at one Church, this year Christmas will be the same. Just everything around it will be different.)


Advent at the Paulist Center…

At the recommendation and with the help of the Paulist Center’s Pastoral Council, here are some Advent Resources you may find helpful in your preparation for Christmas. See this link.


Our marvelous Family “Zoom Church Community” is celebrating Advent. See this link for how you can join them. NB that their Sunday Liturgy of the Word is open to everyone (see link below), but this link will tell you how to join them. All are welcome!


Reserve Tuesday, December 15th, 7-8pm for “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord,” an Advent retreat experience offered by local Paulist Father Tom Ryan. More information next week, including Zoom link.


f you missed it, the Paulist Fathers’ “Thanksgiving Parade of Gratitude” is available at this link for about a week (about 40 minutes). The Paulist Center’s own Maria Cataldo-Cunniff offered the reflection for this very special service.


2020’s Virtual Jesse Tree

Every Advent at the Paulist Center, we host a Jesse Tree in our Mary Alcove. The Jesse Tree is a way of preparing for the coming of Jesus on Christmas Day. Jesse was the father of King David. The Jesse Tree is named from the scripture passage from the book of Isaiah. [Isaiah 11:1-10] Typically, community members take a symbol or tag off the tree to purchase a gift or gift card for the agencies and/or the individuals and families with whom they work (SS Francis & Therese Catholic Worker House, The Agape Community, and CrossRoads Family Shelter). This year we are hosting a virtual Jesse Tree. For sake of safety, we just cannot take in and deliver the amount of gifts we typically do each year. Instead we are asking that you send in or drop off a gift card if you feel so moved. Our agencies have identified the following gift cards that would benefit their work, individuals and/or families: MasterCard/Visa/Amex gift cards, Target, Star Market, Trader Joes, Dunkin Donuts, Amazon and Market Basket cards. Most popular are MasterCard/Visa/Amex because they offer people the flexibility to purchase in lots of different places. If you would like to support the Jesse Tree this year, you can drop off gifts at our front desk during the week from 10:30-4:30 or mail to:
Paulist Center
Attn: Jesse Tree
5 Park Street
Boston, MA 02108
If you have questions, please contact Susan Rutkowski at or 617-948-2426.


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

We have re-entered our Paulist Center Chapel. 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) Wednesday through noontime 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).

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

  • The doors open 10 minutes before the service;
  • Please follow the directions of the hospitality ministers when entering, exiting, and at communion;
  • Once seated, please stay in that place;
  • Since there is no singing, we invite you to hum along with the songs.


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


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


Linked In Prayer Opportunities with Your Community:

1) For the First Sunday of Advent, November 29th, Live-Streamed Liturgy/Mass from the Chapel, at 10am (available as recording at same link after 11:15am):

Here is 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.
NB: Pictures of those who have fallen asleep in the Lord will be played at this liturgy AND the 10am Livestreamed liturgy.

3)  Rosary Group: 7:30 pm, Monday.
Join Zoom Meeting at this link:
Meeting ID: 487 503 158
Passcode: 021078

4) All are welcome to a half-hour prayer gathering this week led by members of our Struggling to Remain Catholic group: next Wednesday, December 2nd, 7pm,   All are welcome!
See the emailed weekly Missive from Fr. Mike McGarry for the link.


Spreading the Wealth:

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 Retired Sisters Fund. This is our opportunity to support the great women who, in a real sense, built the American Catholic Church. As you know, the majority of sisters in the United States are now of retirement age (although more than a few are engaged in very active ministries) and we take this opportunity to support them. Thank you!
As we prepare for Christmas, note that you may donate to help with expenses for decorating our Sanctuary. Go to #1 below and note the “Flowers” category.

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.