the paulist mission: restated

The Paulist Fathers, the religious order that stewards the University Catholic Center, has recently restated their mission.
Previously, they stated their mission in a long “Mission Directive Statement”. The MDS, while fully inclusive, required someone to have some idea of what words like “evangelization” and “reconciliation” meant in their context. While good, it wasn’t something that every lay person could read and could understand what it meant.
The new statement does not replace the MDS, only retools it to be more accessible. Personally, I like the poetic nature of it.

We give the Word of God a voice in pulpits and print, on radio and television, on the web and the wide screen. Our tradition is Catholic, our outreach is to all.
We labor in and with God’s Spirit to light the way to God with the fire of truth. We search out those who have no church home, and welcome home those who have been away. We share the passion of St. Paul for unity in faith and solidarity in mission among all the baptized in the body of Christ. We build bridges of respect and collaboration with people of other world religions. In our parish and campus worshipping communities, we welcome people of diverse racial and cultural backgrounds.
The gospel we preach calls for all the children of God to be treated with dignity and justice. We claim Isaac Hecker as our founder, the Holy Spirit as our primary guide, St. Paul as our patron, and laity as our valued partners in mission. We are Paulists. Missionaries to North America.

assembly day one: mission direction statement

After prayer, we opened the Paulist Pre-Assembly with a look at the Paulist Mission Direction Statement (MDS). The MDS, in short, covers four main points of direction for the Paulists:

  1. Evangelization
  2. Christian Unity
  3. Reconciliation
  4. Interreligious Relations

There was a good conversation about it and a strong desire to find some other way to word it. The document, as seen linked above, is long and “churchy” as one person in my group mentioned. There seemed to be a clear suggestion to form something that is more concise and simple to be intended for the public. Internally, the current MDS is great.
One idea from my group was something to the effect of:
Founded by five converts,
we affirm the universal human need to search,
immersed in the messiness of the world,
while being at home in an Eucharistic community,
dedicated to spreading our openess to God’s love
believing that all of this is God’s work.
We also looked at the Paulist National Ministries and discussed what they’re doing.
The retreat center we’re in has only one Internet-enabled Ethernet cable. Last night, we took turns using it. Tonight, Fr. Larry Rice, CSP from Ohio State University installed a wireless router and now I’m sitting with five Paulists all checking their e-mail.
That’s all I have for tonight.

traveling to paulist pre-assembly

On Tuesday, I flew from Ausin to New York CIty (LGA). I haven’t flown much and so far, every place I have traveled to included a direct flight. American, my airline of choice, doesn’t fly to LGA direct so I had to connect at DFW.
I arrive in DFW after an uneventful, on time flght from AUS. I check the departure board in the C Terminal of DFW. If you haven’t been, they’re large flat-screen monitors. Very classy. Anyhow, the 11:39 a.m. DFW-LGA is on time at gate C22.
I walk five feet and my cell phone buzzes.
It’s a text message from American. My flight is cancelled.
Confused, I went back to the departure board I was just at. It says on time still. I stare at it. ON TIME fades to CANCELLED.
Luckly, I called American at the number they sent with the text message. The ticket agent was extremely nice and put me onto a plane that left earlier- which I didn’t mind at all since I was already at the gate.
On the plane, we are delayed due to a broken part and then have to circle LGA for awhile. I end up arriving a bit before schedule.
I was told to take a taxi to get to the retreat house but I decided that I didn’t like that option. I find the Q33 bus and take that to a transfer station on 74th in Queens. I make my way to the F train and ride it to the end. After a nice two-block walk uphill, I’ve arrived at the Bishop Molloy Retreat Center.

New York, New York

May 16-22, 2006, I will be in New York City attending the Paulist Fathers Pre-Assembly and Ordinations. The Paulist Fathers, the religious order that the Diocese entrusts with campus ministry at The University of Texas at Austin, has an “assembly” every four years where priest-delegates determine the direction of the order for the following four years. Prior to this assembly, they hold a “pre-assembly” where every Paulist, and recently, a lay delegate from each foundation is invited to share their thoughts and ideas so the priest-delegates will have a more informed idea of the thought of the Order prior to getting together.

For the University Catholic Center, I am being sent. As both a student and a staff member, I am unique in my position and able to see directly the results that come from the ministry the Paulists have engaged in over the past 98 years and am charged with helping it continue, strengthen and grow.

Over the next few weeks, I plan on inviting other student feedback regarding the Paulist Fathers and how to implement their Mission Directive Statement (MDS).

As part of my trip to NYC, I will attend the 2006 Paulist Ordinations. I don’t know anyone who is being ordained, but I’ve also never been to an ordination. More to come…