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The Appeal of the Paulist Fathers

Dear Companions on the Journey,

This weekend, we welcome Paulist Fr. Dave Dwyer, host of BustedHalo which is part of the Paulist Fathers’ outreach to young adults.  He will be preaching at all the Masses, telling us of his and the Paulist Fathers’ mission, and how we can all be part of it.

Founded in 1858 by Fr. Isaac Hecker, the Paulist Fathers were the first American men’s religious community.  A convert himself, Fr. Hecker believed passionately in the power of the Holy Spirit to invite others to be a follower of Jesus in the Catholic Church – in a real sense, he was a missionary to his own country.  Hecker thought that being a good American would strengthen his Catholicism, and he thought that being a good Catholic would be an invaluable contribution to our country.  This conviction emerged at a time when there was considerable prejudice, indeed hatred, towards Catholics and the Catholic Church in the United States.

Through the years from that first small band of priest-converts (originally from the Redemptorist Community), the Missionary Society of St. Paul the Apostle – “Paulist Fathers” – have pioneered in a number of apostolates.  These include publications, parish missions, parishes, downtown information centers, campus ministries at secular universities, radio, television, and (as Father Dwyer exemplifies) innovative use of social media.  I invite you to graze around <> to get a feel for his very creative outreach ministry.

Someone once said, “The Paulist Fathers are those priests who serve their God by serving those outside their faith.”  Today, Paulists carry on that general mission in three directions:  sharing the faith with those who have no faith (evangelization), reaching out in understanding and welcome to those who have left our Catholic family (reconciliation), and working both for unity with other Christians and for understanding with Jews, Muslims, and those of other faith traditions (ecumenical and interfaith dialogue).  Certainly this is a tall order, so we Paulists are so very grateful to those who support our ministry.  As our development office puts it, “We couldn’t do it without you!”

Lastly, over the last twenty years, a new expression of Paulist spirituality has emerged:  our Paulist Associates.  Led locally by Mary Sullivan, the Paulist Associates are lay people who associate themselves with the Paulist spirituality and charism by making a commitment to embody the ideals of the Paulists in their daily living. (See to learn more).

Thank you so much for your generosity this weekend and throughout the year.

What do you think?

And let us pray for/with one another.