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Some Words to Us

October 22, 2021

Dear Companions on the Journey,

Last Sunday was a glorious afternoon on the Boston Common, made even more so by the presence of so many members of the Paulist Center Community and the exquisite music (thank you Norm Gouin, Julie Zigo, and Fadi Kanaan) and leadership (thank you Patty Simpson and Susan Rutkowski). For those of you who could not be with us, these are some of Susan’s words to us:

This pandemic has stretched us all in ways we could not have anticipated two years ago. While the staff knew that our community was bearing suffering like the rest of the world, it was a heavy blow to read the responses to our survey: many of you have suffered great loss and have indicated, like the prophet, Jeremiah, that your joy is gone and grief is upon you. We want to be here for you. For, indeed, the wounds of our community members are our hearts wounded.

Together, we are a community grieving individual and communal losses: loved ones who have died, those who have had and are still facing serious illness, the loss of employment, the inability to connect with friends, family or other community members, the grief of missing special events and milestones, as well as experiencing drastic changes to daily routines and ways of life that typically bring us comfort…

You children, in particular, have dealt with so much: the loss of routines, such as going to school and playing with friends, the challenges of remote schooling, missing playdates and parties, and the stress of the overuse of technology. We know that at times, isolation and withdrawal were a heavy burden for you.

For sure, this pandemic has led to a series of losses: from our sense of safety to our social connections to our financial security to our personal freedoms, and going forward, we grieve the experience of new losses we can’t yet predict. We are in the middle of this collective grief. As the pandemic stretches on, we are all losing something now. What is especially challenging is that we are talking about grieving a living loss — one that keeps going and going…

And, so, today, on this gorgeous, chilly, Sunday, out in God’s beautiful creation, right across from our beloved chapel, we grieve our losses together as a faith community. We weep for our individual losses and communal losses during the pandemic, and for all the injustice in the world that this community has recognized and wept over for so many years. We have all invested our time, talent, and treasure in this precious community. We have worked hard, we have loved each other, supported one another, as well as frustrated one another out of pure passion for this spiritual home we have all created together. As a community we value goodness to each person, love, care, compassion, and trust. It is appropriate then, that today, we weep together in a safe and sacred time and place to share in our losses and hold each other up. Let us not deny our feelings of loss, but embrace them and move through them to new growth.

What do you think?

(Next week: a new way of being Church. How the the Church listen better to all its members and those who have drifted away? On the parish level, on the diocesan level, on the global level.)

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