Latest Posts

Post Library

This week is Thanksgiving

November 20, 2020

Dear Friends on the Journey,

Well, this week is Thanksgiving. For some of us, the most we will be able to muster will be “I thank God this year is almost over! I just want to get through the next eight weeks.” I get that.

At the same time, if “just getting through” Thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas is all we can whip up, we may well be missing two opportunities: one, to be verbally and explicitly grateful for blessings we have received (some admittedly coming in disguise), and two, to be ready to receive blessings our gracious God and those who love us wish to bestow on us.

With regard to the first, I sometimes get irritated by the clamor on the Boston Common (my bedroom faces the Common). The noise ranges from loud, wild demonstrations to early morning leaf blowers. In my better moments, when people are loudly demonstrating, I catch myself and give thanks that I live in a country where such demonstrations are allowed. When city workers are blasting leaves away with leaf-blowers, I am grateful that someone else is cleaning “my front yard.” (You don’t want to know what I am thinking in my not-so-generous moments!) What are some of your blessings in disguise from the last six months?

With regard to the second, I fully believe that our Gracious God has marvelous things planned for all in our Paulist Center Community this Thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas. If I have shut down my “antenna for God’s grace” (i.e., “let me just get through this”), I may miss what our Gracious God has in store for me, for us.

And now, a third: Both points above speak about receiving, how I am being affected by my situation. Neither asks the more “Jesus-question”: How may I be a blessing for others?

Robert Brault bluntly observes, “There is no such thing as grati-tude unexpressed. If it is unexpressed, it is plain, old-fashioned ingratitude.” A bit harsh? You be the judge. But my “take away” about saying thanks this week is to say it out loud.

So think of someone for whom you are grateful. Say it out loud: “I am grateful to you for [must be explicit, more than ‘I am grateful for you’].” And to our gracious God…I am grateful for [be explicit, concrete].

“I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you.” (Philippians 1:4)

What do you think?


Some Great News:

Sr. Joan Chittister, O.S.B., is the Recipient of the 2019 (Yes!) Isaac Hecker Award for Social Justice

Finally…after a very long wait, we are thrilled to announce the recipient of the 2019 Isaac Hecker Award for Social Justice: Sr. Joan Chittister! On Saturday, March 6, from 7-8:15 pm, Sr. Joan will zoom in live to our community to accept our award and speak to us about her work. The nominating committee thought that Sr. Joan is not only the embodiment of all that Fr. Isaac Hecker stood for, but as one of the foremost Catholic thinkers, theologians, and moral leaders of our time, she has been a role model and inspiration for so many of us on a personal level. Her message has universal appeal and resonates with the larger Paulist Center community and beyond. Her compelling writing, which reflects her unwavering commitment to social justice, serves as a catalyst for change within our hearts and a call to act in accord-ance with the tenets of our faith. She cares deeply about the poor and marginalized in our society, and demands that we attend to the injustices in our world that have contributed to so much human suffering. She focuses her attention now to the plight of immigrants fleeing violence and persecution, rampant social and economic inequality, and the perils of climate change – issues of special concern to the Paulist Center community as well. Sister Joan’s latest book, The Time is Now: A Call to Uncommon Courage, reflects the urgent need for definitive action if we are to have any chance of success in changing the course of our society’s current downward spiral. We look forward to celebrating our treasured award with Sr. Joan on March 6. Please look for the Zoom link closer to the date…and thank you for your patience around this event.

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.

Important Bullet Points:

  • Join us in our Special Paulist Center Thanksgiving Eve half-hour of prayer at 7pm Wednesday link (same as below)
  • If that isn’t enough, join the national Paulist Fathers for Thanksgiving Prayer at here See also link here The event is available after 8:30pm Wednesday and through the weekend.
  • Please hold in your prayers the following whom Fr. Brian McHugh, our Local Archdiocesan Vicar, confirmed last week: Yocelyn Ramos, Paula Auden, Danielle Aurite, Alexa Aurite, Drazen Doutlik, Gediminas Leikus, Camille Walter, Arisbel Henriquez, Alicia Hurley, Jonny Aquino. Congratulations!
  • Please hold in your prayers the repose of the soul of Thomas Walsh, father of Ann Walsh of our community.


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.
  • Masks must be worn at all times in the Chapel.
  • Please follow the directions of the hospitality ministers when entering, exiting, and at communion.
  • Because central Boston is now in the “Red Zone,” we will be taking the temperature of everyone who enters the Chapel. Thank you for your understanding;
  • Once seated, please stay in place.
  • We invite you to hum along with the songs (no singing).


1) Here are the expectations and requirements: Procedures
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 Feast of the Reign of Christ, November 22nd, 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 for members of the Paulist Center Community next Wednesday, November 18th, 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 Angel Flight. Angel Flight coordinates free air and ground transporta- tion for medical patients whose financial resources would not otherwise enable them to receive treatment or diagnosis, or who live in rural areas without access to commercial airlines.  Thank you!

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.