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The Paulists: Some History & Some News

Fr Rich AndreFr. Rich Andre, CSP
January 12, 2024

Next weekend, we welcome back Fr. Ed Nowak, CSP! Ed served on the Paulist Center staff 2022-2023, and he will be preaching the Annual Paulist Appeal. The APA helps the Paulist Fathers prepare students for priesthood, sustain national ministries, and care for senior priests. Just as importantly, the APA build connections between the Paulist Center in Boston and the larger Paulist community. You’ll likely receive an APA brochure next week, but if you’d like to watch a brief video or make an early donation, you can do it at Even if you can’t make a donation at this time, please submit a prayer request on that same page.

For those relatively new to the Paulist Fathers and the Paulist Center, we’ll share a brief version of our origin story below. We’ll conclude with some recent Paulist news.

The Paulists were founded in 1858 by the first 5 American-born priests in the Redemptorist Order, including Isaac Hecker. Unlike the European-born Redemptorists who were focused on ministering to German-speaking Catholics in the United States, these 5 were interested in explaining Catholicism to their English- and German-speaking Protestant neighbors.

The Paulists have had significant influence on the American Church through the creative ways they’ve expressed the Gospel. They came to Boston in 1945 to establish 1 of their 7 innovative “information centers” in North America where people could learn more about the Catholic faith. With their home base at St. Ann’s Parish in Back Bay, they also served as campus chaplains to Boston University, Brandeis, Harvard & Radcliffe, MIT, Northeastern, and Tufts. Cardinal Cushing built the present building at 5 Park Street for the Paulists in 1956-57.

For the next 12 years, Paulist Center Boston staff welcomed thousands of people for weekly inquiry classes about the faith. Before presbyteral ordination, every Paulist deacon came to Boston for a year of pastoral training at either the Paulist Center, a campus ministry, or St. Ann’s. Today’s Paulist Center Community has its roots in the intentional Sunday worshipping community founded in 1969. As a brand-new community in an established worship space, led by two priests ordained that very year, it was among the Catholic communities in the world best equipped to quickly implement the reforms of Vatican II.

Some recent updates:

  • The Paulists recently began publishing a weekly e-newsletter. You can check out previous issues and sign up for the mailing list at Be sure to check your spam folder, as you may already be receiving the newsletter.
  • In September, Paulist students Dan Macalinao and Chris Lawton were ordained as transitional deacons in Washington, DC. All are welcome to attend their presbyteral ordination in New York City at 10 am on May 18, 2024!
  • In October, Andrew Ouma became the newest Paulist novice. He is originally from Kenya but has worked for the last several years teaching English in Brazil.
  • In November, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops voted to forward Isaac Hecker’s cause for canonization to the Vatican.