This weekend we take up the Annual Paulist Appeal. First of all I want to thank all of you for your support of the Paulists by means of your donations and your prayers. THANK YOU!
The Paulists are a small order in the Church. We always have been. We serve only in the United States and Canada, and the church for American Catholics, Santa Susana, in Rome. Unlike most orders – Jesuits, Dominicans, Franciscans, Benedictines, Sacred Heart Fathers and Brothers, which cover the globe – we are pretty much confined to North America. While our small numbers and limited range limits the impact the Paulists can make, in our chosen area of North America we have had an impact greater than what our numbers would suggest.
This is because we have been able to attract talented men of the caliber of Steven Bell, of Dat Tran who was here a few years ago and was ordained last May, and of Tom Gibbons who was here just two years ago and will be ordained a priest this coming May. The Paulists have always been about quality, not quantity.
Because our numbers are small we rely greatly on you, the lay people in the foundations where Paulists serve, to be our partners in mission. First and foremost we rely on your prayers. “Neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who causes the growth.” (1 Cor 3:7) Without the Lord’s help none of our efforts will count for anything. So your continued prayers are very important. Pray especially for more vocations to the Paulists.
Secondly, we Paulists rely on your active participation in the mission of Evangelization, Reconciliation and Ecumenism. Obviously we Paulists by ourselves can only reach out to a few people. We rely on you to take the message to your family, your work place or school, the market place, the civic forum, to all levels of society. By your way of life, the way you deal with difficulties and blessings, the witness you give to compassion, charity and honesty, says more about the power of the Gospel than all the homilies all Paulists preach. So your witness is vital to the Paulist Mission.
And we rely on your generous donations. Fr. Steven and I earn a salary from the parish, as do most Paulists. But this does not come close to all the costs associated with caring for our elderly members, like Frs. Bob Scott, CSP and Bob Michele, CSP, and the very expensive proposition of educating our seminarians. That is why we have this Annual Appeal which we take up this weekend. THANK YOU!
Finally, if you know of some young (I leave it to you to define that term) man who you think has the intelligence, zeal and commitment to become a missionary to North America, in other words to be a Paulist, then I ask you to pray for him AND to ask him if he has ever thought about priesthood or religious life. An invitation (or several) is very important in the process of someone taking the risk to try out this way of life. An invitation is a wonderful help to man thinking about priesthood.
Fr Chuck is away this week on a retreat/pilgrimage in Central America. To see what he is up to, go to www.maryknollpilgrimage.org.