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What’s the Word?

January 8, 2021

Dear Friends on the Journey,

I begin, as for many months I concluded, with the words of St. Teresa of Avila:

Nothing can trouble,
nothing can frighten.
Those who seek God shall
never go wanting.
Nothing can trouble,
nothing can frighten.
God alone fills us.

“What’s the word?” I kept asking myself. What’s the word that captures my feelings and thoughts during these days after our Capitol was attacked by thugs, rioters, and revolutionists?

Heartbreaking. That’s the word. It may not say everything, but it’s the one word that captures my feelings now.

Other times in my life, I have felt such heartache: in 1968 when Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy were assassinated and when, at the Democratic National Convention, the streets of Chicago ran red with blood. In 2001 when terrorists attacked our republic in New York and Washington.

And now rioters have occupied the seat of our republic.

We Catholics are Christians who express our faith with our fingers, with symbols, through our senses and through our bodies. So the assault on our Capitol broke my heart because its ragged and brutal images traveled through my Catholic sensibility for symbol: Dozens of people hanging, laughing on the ledges of the building from the outside and carrying a Confederate flag on the inside. Symbols, signs, mockery, violence, death, terror (amid much bravery and resolve). Those images broke my heart.
And in addition, I saw among those who invaded the Capitol’s sacred space a variety of Christian symbols (this is Christian?) and antisemitic symbols as well. Yes, symbols can be distorted, twisted, and manipulated.

How does one respond (in addition to gathering for prayer on Wednesday; see link below)?

More than two centuries back, Isaac Hecker, founder of the Paulist Fathers, articulated a novel idea about Catholicism in the United States. He claimed that being a Catholic can help to make one a better American, and, similarly, being an American can contribute to a robust Catholicism. So soaked in my Paulist genes is both an imagination and a commitment to be faithful to my country which I love and my faith which is the bedrock of who I am.

So the words of Bp Mariann Budde of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington seem like a fitting conclusion to this reflection from a broken heart:

God of ages, in your sight nations rise and fall and pass through times of peril. Now when our land is troubled, be near to judge and to save. May leaders be led by your wisdom; may they search for your will and see it clearly. In any ways we have turned from your way, help us to reverse them. Give us your light and your truth to guide us; through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of this world, and our Savior. Amen.

For Cardinal Sean’s Statement on the Assault on the Capitol, go here.

Postponed for One Week: Four Hecker Award Winners cite what gets them through this Pandemic experience.

Thank you to those who supported our colorful flower and environment enhancements for the Christmas Season. Please pray for those to whom their gifts were dedicated. Go here to see their names.

Martin Luther King Day Reflection Night- 7-8:30pm, Monday, January 18. As part of our Paulist Center’s Commitment to Racial Justice, join the Young Adult ministry in commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and ideals. We will have the opportunity to gather virtually in prayer, watch some less-known clips of Dr. King himself, and have a chance to discuss how his words can guide us into the new year. We will also have some time to meditate and reflect on his life and legacy.

Please RSVP using this Google Form. After you RSVP you will be emailed a Zoom link the day of the event that will allow you to access the meeting.

For his graduate research, a BU student is in search of Catholics who have watched mass on TV or online during the pandemic and are willing to be interviewed over Zoom (30-45 minutes). See the attached flier; the link to sign up. .

Paulist Father Dat Tran will be hosting a Virtual Priestly-Vocation Discernment Retreat on Saturday, January 16th, 10am-8:30pm. This retreat is designed for young men discerning priesthood, diocesan or religious, at any stage in their journey. Here is the poster and here is the Video Link for more information:

Last call for Nominations for the 2020 Isaac Hecker award! Deadline is January 13th. Submission guidelines can be found on the website at www. or contact Susan Rutkowski at

Hold This Date: A 45-Minute Virtual Prayer Service for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Led by Paulist Fr Tom Ryan, this ecumenical service will originate from the Paulist Center Chapel at 7pm, Thursday, January 21st. Link to come next week.

Worshiping In-Person at the Paulist Center Chapel
(imperative if you will be worshiping with us)…

For the Masses on January 9th and 10th (Epiphany), please reserve a place for either the 5pm Mass on Saturday or the 10am on Sunday.

How to reserve a place?

Please call the Center (617.742.4460) Wednesday through 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).

1) For the Baptism of the Lord, January 10th, Live-Streamed Liturgy/Mass from the Chapel, at 10am (available as recording at same link after 11:15am):
Here’s the YouTube Link:

2) Paulist Center Families’ Baptism of Jesus Liturgy of the Word, 10am, Sunday, January 10th:
See Fr. Mike’s Email Missive for the link details.

3) Paulist Center Rosary Circle. 7:30pm every Monday.
Here’s the Zoom Link:
Meeting ID: 487 503 158; Passcode: 021078

4) All are welcome to a half-hour prayer gathering with/from the Paulist Center’s Lay Reflectors led prayer next Wednesday, 7pm. See Fr. Michael’s email missive for the url.

Ways of Giving:

Our “Community Gift” is the Paulist Center’s 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 old friends of the Paulist Center: Bridge Over Troubled Waters. Located just off Boston Common, Bridge provides effective and innovative service to runaway, homeless, and high-risk youth. Bridge was started by Sisters of St Joseph Barbara Scanlan and Barbara Whelan who later the Paulist Center honored with the Isaac Hecker Award for Social Justice. Thank you so much for your generosity!

Jesse Tree: thank you! In the past month, PC members have contributed over $5,000 in gift cards to Amazon, Target, Star Market, Market Basket, Trader Joes as well as Mastercard and Visa gift cards. These cards were sent to support guests and families at SS Therese and Francis Catholic Worker House in Worcester, The Agape Community in Ware, and the CrossRoads Family Shelter in East Boston. We thank everyone for their generosity in helping those in need during these terribly difficult times.

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.