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The Paulist Fathers’ mission…

Director’s Reflection

Dear Companions on the Journey,

This weekend, we welcome back Paulist Fr. Charlie Donahue, formerly in residence here and now campus minister at The Ohio State University. Preaching at all the Masses, he will tell us of 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, Fr. Hecker believed passionately in the power of the Holy Spirit to invite others to follow 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, in the United States, there was considerable prejudice, indeed hatred, towards Catholics and the Catholic Church.

Through the years from that first small band of priest-converts, the Missionary Society of St. Paul the Apostle – “Paulist Fathers” – have engaged in a number of apostolates.These include publishing, parish missions, parishes, downtown information centers, campus ministries at secular universities, radio, television, and innovative use of social media.

Someone once remarked, “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 Barbara Lapinskas, 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 one another,
Michael McGarry, C.S.P.