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Welcome To Those Visiting On Ash Wednesday!

Fr Rich AndreRich Andre, CSP
February 17, 2023

Dear friends,

Whether this is your first time or your four-thousandth time worshipping in Holy Spirit Chapel at the Paulist Center, welcome! We’re glad you’re with us!

There’s really no other public ritual in the Western world like Ash Wednesday. It’s a day to publicly acknowledge that we are imperfect people in need of God’s love, grace, and mercy. It’s not just a ritual for Catholics: people of other Christian denominations, other faith traditions, and people with no religious affiliation are welcome to participate, too!

Since its creation, the Paulist Center has been a place for Catholics and non-Catholics alike. It began 1945 to 1969 as an Information Center for people interested in learning about the Catholic faith. Thousands of Bostonians came here over the years on their lunch breaks to take classes, and many of them went on to become active Catholics. With the reforms of the Church after Vatican II in 1969 and onward, the Paulist Center became one of the most prominent Catholic communities in the world for reading “the signs of the times” and responding with acts of social justice. Today, we are well-known for our advocacy for women having leadership positions in the Church and for divorced and LGBTQ+ people being embraced with full dignity. We endeavor to build a world that is more just and equitable with our outreach to the hungry, our care for creation, and our advocacy for racial equity and immigration reform. And while we are a Roman Catholic community, people of other religious beliefs — and people who question some Catholic teachings — are integral members of our community.

Something led you through the doorway to the Paulist Center today — be it curiosity, a sense of obligation, or a desire to start again. In 1842, a young baker from New York City named Isaac Hecker came to Boston to live in a Transcendentalist commune at the promptings of what his friends Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, and Bronson Alcott called “the Oversoul.” Hecker, who eventually founded the Paulist Fathers, over time recognized the promptings as originating from the Holy Spirit. Maybe that’s the case for you, too.

No matter what brought you here, please know that this is a place where you are always welcome to question, to grow, to contribute, and to belong. We welcome you, as you are. None of us are perfect, and we don’t expect you to be, either! Check out the bulletin and the insert about some special activities we have going on this Lent. Come as you are, whenever you are available, and if you feel comfortable doing so, introduce yourself to the people around you. We look forward to growing with you and learn from one another!