The Associates World: June 2016

June 30, 2016

Issue No. 8, June 2016
A Monthly Newsletter for Paulist Associates

The Associates World is the newsletter of the Paulist Associates. You can download a copy of this newsletter in PDF format (excellent for printing), or scroll down to read it on the Web.

Table of Contents

Paulist Associates in Rome —and from Around the World

By Pat McCormick

The Paulist Associates in Rome are a small group of people who come from all over the world and who have lived and worked in many different countries…. Egypt (Cairo), Canada, the Ivory Coast, the Caribbean (Trinidad) and the USA (Milwaukee & Chicago). All of us speak at least two languages and some even more. We are now all permanent residents of Rome but we have had members who lived here temporarily.

For many years we studied the life and virtues of Fr. Isaac Hecker. Right now we are taking turns reporting about the special people who are Paulist patrons. Some of them are Catholic saints and some were not Cathollc but embodied the ideals of Fr. Hecker in their courageous and spirit-filled lives. We have already studied the following in depth: St. Patrick, St. Isaac Jogues, Mother Elizabeth Seton, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King, Jr., St. Francis De Sales and St. Philip Neri.

We are blessed in living in Rome where we renew our Paulist Associate promises at the Papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, the place of burial of St. Paul. We have Mass in a chapel there on a Saturday in late January near the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. In this Jubilee Year of Mercy we also received a Plenary Indulgence after walking through the Holy Door of St. Paul’s.

We usually meet every 2 weeks in the office of the Catholic American community in Rome, Santa Susanna, where pastoral care for American pilgrims and Americans resident in Rome was entrusted to the Paulist Fathers by Pope Benedict XV in 1922 Some of us were Tour Guides at Santa Susanna and took turns guiding pilgrims and parishioners around this historic church, one of the 25 oldest churches in Rome. Until it was closed in 2013 it also served as a “Station Church” during Lent, one of the 44 where Mass is celebrated on a rotating basis in English, Italian and German.

Whether one lives in Rome permanently or just for a time, long or short, being a Paulist Associate is a good way to become acquainted with the legacy of Fr. Hecker as well as the truly special people who are the Paulist priests. They give us so much, from the leaders of our small group to the pastors responsible for caring for all of us in the many needs of an active parish. They are able to combine the day-to-day activities of American Catholics with the international events we sponsor such as our annual charity gala and dinner dance where money is raised to benefit 9 Roman charities.

In the past when one Pope died and another was elected, our priests were asked to communicate on the media with the English-speaking world waiting expectantly for every bit of news! One Paulist advisor to our Associates group took us on pilgrimage to the Holy Land and then later all over Turkey in the steps of St. Paul.

We Paulist Associates in Rome are truly very blessed to be a part of all this and to help in a small way with our presence and our prayers. I believe we receive much more than we give It is great to be part of the Paulist family and be encouraged to listen to the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Santa Susanna American Community in Rome

Visit the Santa Susanna American Community in Rome web site at

This website is filled with wonderful information about the American Catholic community in Rome as well as great travel tips for pilgrims to the Eternal City. You will find a form to request tickets to the Papal audience.

In particular, check out how to receive a copy of their guide, As Romans Do. This recently updated version is a superb 100-page resource for those who will visit Rome and Vatican City during the Holy Year of Mercy.

Since the church is temporarily closed, check for the new Mass schedule with times and locations.

Reflections on the West Coast Retreat



On the weekend of June 3rd to 5th, Fr. Frank Desiderio, CSP and Fr. Joe Scott, CSP led a retreat for Paulist Associates at the Serra Retreat Center in the Santa Monica Mountains overlooking the Pacific Ocean. While the majority of the 20 Associates who partook in this retreat hailed from St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Community near UCLA in Westwood, there were also Associates from Boston, Houston, and Tucson who made the journey to southern California. These retreatants sought spiritual growth, especially looking for a deeper understanding of Paulist spirituality and the mission Paulist founder, Isaac Hecker, established as part of our daily living. In addition, the goal to foster fellowship with the great Paulist Associates community was achieved.

Fr. Frank gathered folks together after Friday evening’s dinner for a session entitled “The Holy Spirit and Fr. Hecker.” On Saturday morning Fr. Joe presented materials on the theology of the Holy Spirit based in Scripture. Later that day, the retreatants assembled to reflect on the gifts of the Holy Spirit in a session led by Fr. Frank. The final time together on Sunday, considering the “Charisms of the Paulist Associates”, was followed by Mass and lunch. These talks and reflections were interspersed with time for morning and evening prayer, exploring the beautiful retreat house ground, social hours, time for personal reflections, and a Friday night movie, too.

After 17 Years, the Importance of Retreats For Me

By Kenny Lombino



As we all found our rooms on Friday, there was excitement in the air, not only for the beautiful location, but more importantly, the peace and serenity we were to experience during this weekend.

At six that evening we gathered for a social hour, enjoying snacks, wine, and soda, as well as an opportunity to meet each other. This was followed by dinner, and then the first of our discussion sessions given by Fr. Frank entitled “The Holy Spirit and Fr. Hecker”. Evening prayer followed, and then Fr. Frank screened a film, The Scarlet and the Black, starring Gregory Peck.

As Day Two unfolded, many took short hikes before breakfast, then joined together for morning prayer. Fr. Joe offered an understanding for the Holy Spirit in Scripture. He has a wonderful way of presenting information and did a splendid job facilitating the question and answer portion of this session. After some time for meditation, we then regrouped for a look at the gifts of the Holy Spirit, in another session led by Fr. Frank. We continued with a balance of learning, praying, and meditating on these various topics with meals and break times. We ended the afternoon with a session entitled “The Qualities for the Paulists and Paulist Associates.” We assembled for Mass, which was followed by another social hour, evening prayer, and dinner. Saturday evening was a time to do as you wished, and some of us went back to movie night since we didn’t finish watching it on Friday.

P1020292Sunday was a beautiful morning to wake up to. After breakfast was served, we checked out of our rooms, had morning prayer, and the last of our sessions: “The Charisms of the Paulist Associates”. This was followed by Mass, lunch, and the retreat then came to its close, and we said our good byes.

These retreats are something I look forward to every year, I know my fellow Associates feel the same. If you have not yet experienced one for yourself, I strongly urge you to try and make it next year. Fr. Frank has such a great way of putting these retreats together, and we all are so grateful for the work he does to make them happen.

I started studying to become an Associate back in 1999, and it has been one of the best experiences of my life. God Bless you all, and I look forward to seeing you again as we continue our journey.

Affirmed in Our Commitment

By Nora Masterson



P1020320The setting at Serra provides ample spaces for solitude and reflection, surrounded by trees, flowers, inspirational statuary, and a viewpoint of the Pacific Ocean that is striking even in the typical “June gloom” of the Santa Monica Mountains, with overcast mornings that segued into sunny afternoons.

Following a “get acquainted” social hour and dinner, Friday night’s session focused on “how are we attentive to the Holy Spirit?” We took an in-depth look at the life of Isaac Hecker and the ideals that made him flourish — namely a zeal for souls, personal perfection, and values that came from his time with the Transcendentalists. The evening wrapped up with popcorn and beverages and the viewing of “The Scarlet and the Black”, a powerful and classic World War II movie starring Gregory Peck as a Bishop who helps rescue Prisoners of War from the clutches of a Nazi Commander played by Christopher Plummer.

Fr. Joe provided everyone with a comprehensive handout and presentation on the gifts of the Holy Spirit in our opening session on Saturday. We broke into groups to discuss each gift and how it impacts us, and how these gifts are a charism, anointed from outside of us. I was struck by the words “Think with the mind of God, feel with the heart of God, so that we can practice the gifts of wisdom and understanding.” Fr. Frank presented a second morning session about the mission of the Paulist Fathers, and the qualities they embody. We celebrated Mass together before our evening meal on Saturday, and finished up the evening with the cliffhanger conclusion of “The Scarlett and the Black.”

P1020283For homework, we were given a handout from Fr. Frank which listed quotes from Isaac Hecker. We were asked to pick one that we identified with the most, and be prepared to discuss it as group on Sunday morning. For me, “individuality” was the one that resonated with my journey, “One of the signs of the true Paulist is that that he would prefer to suffer from excesses of liberty rather than from the arbitrary actions of tyranny.” Fr. Hecker believed that the Holy Spirit dwells in each individual and the movement of the spirit within each person’s soul is to be honored. Hearing each associate share their choice was a perfect way to end this retreat.

At our final liturgy, Fr. Frank used the readings about the conversion of St. Paul and invited each of us to leave with an openness to the invitation of conversion by the Holy Spirit, whether it be a “radical” conversion such at St. Paul, or a “gradual” conversion.” A retreat experience is individual, but I feel each one of us was re-affirmed in our commitment to being a Paulist Associate and renewed in our energy to carry out the mission of the Paulist Fathers.

Proposed Program for July

Pope Pius IX

(This is a suggested format; each group may select another outline or topic.)

Theme: “the bright side as well as the dark of the American character”

Opening Prayer: The Paulist Prayer Book, select the day on which you meet

Reading (in advance of the meeting):

From a letter from Isaac Hecker to the American Fathers, dated Rome, December 22, 1857

To-day at half-past 12 I had an audience with His Holiness the Pope. … I replied that he might have the goodness to examine the purpose of my coming to Rome, since it regarded the conversion of my fellow countrymen.

“Nothing can be done,” he replied, “till Monsignor Bizari, who is engaged in examining your affairs, makes his report; then I will give my opinion and my decision.”

“Your decision, Most Holy Father,” I answered, “is God’s decision, and willingly and humbly I will submit to it, whatever it may be.” This seemed to give him pleasure.

“The conversion of the Americans would be very difficult,” he continued; “they are so engrossed in worldly pursuits and in getting money; and these things are not favorable; it is not I who say it, but our Lord in the Gospel.”

“The United States, your Holiness, is in its youth, and is like the young father of a family, who is furnishing his house–while this is going on he must be busy; but the American people do not make money to hoard. They are not avaricious or miserly.”

“No, no; they are willing to give when they have riches; the Bishops tell me that they are generous in aiding the building of churches, etc. You see I know also the bright side as well as the dark of the American character. But in the United States there exists too unrestricted liberty; all the refugees and revolutionaries gather there and are in full liberty.”

Conversation Catalysts

1. How is religious freedom related to liberty in the US society? When are they in conflict? How do you resolve such conflicts
in your mind, heart, soul?

2. In which ways are you “engrossed in worldly pursuits and in getting money”?

Closing Prayer

Excerpt from Independence Day Prayer

O God of all nations, on this day we rejoice in the favor You have graciously given us. We thank You for the blessings of liberty, for this generation and for the generations to come. We thank You for our independence, peace and for all those who have bravely given their lives in the defense of freedom and justice. We thank You that Your gracious and provident hand has given us so much. Yet as a nation and people we have not always chosen the right way. We ask You to forgive us for these times. On this day we commit ourselves to wholeheartedly honoring and serving You. With everything that we are, we lay our lives before You. Make us a generous people, a holy nation, a people set aside to love You forever, for the sake of the land of the brave and free, and the peoples and nations of this world. We ask all this in the wonderful name of Jesus, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit. One God, now and forever. Amen.

Isaac Says

We are left in entire liberty to act in the future as God and our intelligence shall point the way. Let us be thankful to God, humble towards each other and everyone else, and more than ever in earnest to do the work God demands at our hands.

From a letter to the American Fathers, March 11, 1858

Incorporating the New Brand and Look of the Paulist Fathers

Incorporating the New Brand and Look of the Paulist Fathers

This month’s issue of The Associates World is slightly reformatted in keeping with the recent rebranding of the Paulists. You will see similar fonts, colors, and styles on the Paulist Fathers’ website and in other materials produced by the Paulists and affiliated groups in the near future.

The Paulist Associates page on the Paulist website is also updated:

The website is a valuable tool for all Associates to stay in touch and for others to learn about us. Please let any member of the Board know if you have any updates or suggestion for our web pages.

Copies of current and past editions of The Associates World, in a web format as well as a PDF version for easy printing are there for your convenience.

Those who are interested in learning more about the Paulist Associates or wishing to become one will be connected to Fr. Frank via email.

Our formation talks are accessible for those in formation — and for anyone wishing to know more about Paulist history, ministry, mission, and spirituality.

The site includes an “Events: Paulist Associates”. If you wish to have something posted here, please contact Fr. Frank.

A list of locations of existing Paulist Associates groups is available as well as a list of the current Board members.



Paulist Associates Web Site:

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Paulist Associates National Director

Frank Desiderio, CSP
Paulist General Office
New York, NY 10023

Board Members

Angie Barbieri
Toronto, ON, Canada

Paula Cuozzo
Boston, MA

Cathy Hoekstra
Grand Rapids, MI

Mike Kallock, CSP

Terry Modica
Tampa, FL

Paul Robichaud, CSP


Paulist Associate Promise:

I believe that I am drawn by the Holy Spirit to the spirituality and qualities of the Paulist Community. I have discerned both by prayer and study that God calls me to become associated with the Paulists. I promise that I will pray for the works of the Paulist Society, meet with others, who are also members of the Paulist Associates, for spiritual sharing and formation; and I seek to embody the apostolic qualities of the Paulists in my daily life.

Attentive to the Holy Spirit and faithful to the example of St. Paul and the charism of Father Isaac Hecker, I commit myself for one year of membership in the Paulist Associates.