October 31, 2015
The Board Addresses the Needs of the Associates Angela Barbieri Fr. Frank Desiderio, CSP Cathy Hoekstra Fr. Mike Kallock, CSP Terry Modica Proposed Program for November Upcoming Events Contacts
In this edition and the next, you will hear from various Board members about the history and more importantly about the current and future work of the Paulist Associates National Advisory Board. Fr. Frank Desiderio, CSP is the Director of the Paulist Associates (nationally). He convenes the Board members on a monthly basis to conduct the business of the Paulist Associates Board. Angela Barbieri of Toronto, Paula Cuozzo of Boston, Cathy Hoekstra of Grand Rapids, and Terry Modica of Tampa were elected by all Associates as representatives to the Board earlier this year. In addition, Fr. Mike Kallock, CSP and Fr. Paul Robichaud, CSP are Paulists who also serve on the Board. All members of the Board are seeking feedback from groups and individuals on: insights about being an Associate; increasing communication among the various groups and nurturing community at retreats and other events; strengthening relationships with the Paulists and embodying the mission in daily living; and requests for prayerful support and direction.
I am a Paulist Associate who lives and works in Toronto, Canada. For the past 13 years I have worked in the not-for-profit sector, specializing in communications and development for various and diverse fundraising programs in health, education, and social services. I serve on the Paulist Associates Board communications sub-committee. The sub-committee’s goal is to increase communications to the various Paulist Associates communities via social media and the Associates newsletter. My primary responsibility is updating the Paulist Associates Facebook page with posts that are meant to inform, educate, inspire and build community within the Paulist Associates community. I am very honored to be elected to the Paulist Associates Board and am motivated to forge stronger relationships among our associates’ communities. I am also a member on the Pastoral Council at St. Peter’s Church in the Annex neighbourhood of Toronto.
As Director of the Paulist Associates, at the risk of being redundant, my work is to give direction to the Paulist Associates. What that means to me, primarily, is to keep the vision clear. That is, to articulate the founding vision of the Associates and to rearticulate the vision as the Associates evolve. Practically, this year, I have reconvened the national board of the Paulist Associates. This consisted of calling for candidates and overseeing the election process. Now that the board is functioning effectively I facilitate our monthly meetings. A major task of the board this year is revising the Paulist Associates handbook. I will present this revision to the Paulist pastors and superiors in November for comments and the Paulist General Council in December for their approval. After that, we will send it to all of the Associates for their consideration and put it on our new website. Speaking of the web, we’ve made a real effort this year to bring up to date the address list for the Associates e-mail list serve. This is an ongoing process of we gain and loose Associates and people’s e-mail address changes. With the help of the Communications Committee of the Board we have revamped our social media presence especially through Facebook and revised the Associates web page.
As a member of the Paulist Associate National Board I have been involved in the revision of the Paulist Associate Handbook, especially the section on formation and application. We learned that not all groups have a formation process for new members and that not all formation covered the same topics; some did not follow the application process as outlined in the handbook. The revisions in the handbook will standardize the content for formation while allowing individual groups to use a process and time period that fits for them. The application process has also been made clearer with the applicant not being able to make promises until the process has been completed and the applicant has been accepted by the Paulist Presidential Board. This past June I was able to be in Toronto the weekend that the Paulist Fathers ended their ministry in Toronto and in Canada. It was important to show support for the Associates who would no longer have a Paulist presence in their parish. The Paulist Associate group in Toronto plans to continue, and there are discussions underway as to how we can support them and other groups with no Paulist presence in their communities. Five board members were present for all or part of the retreat at Lake George and we had a “listening session” with the Associates who were there to hear to their concerns and answer any questions they had. Currently, I am involved in planning the Midwest Regional Retreat which will be held April 29-May 1, 2016 in Kalamazoo, MI. A committee of members of the Allendale and Grand Rapids Associates has been busy laying the ground work for the retreat. Fr. Mike Kallock CSP will be the presenter with the theme being “In the Realm of the Holy Spirit”.
I am delighted to be on the Paulist Associates National Advisory Board in helping our Associates movement to continue to grow and deepen, locally and nationally. It is now over 17 years that the 1998 Paulist General Assembly approved the establishment of the Paulist Associates. Paulist President Frank DeSiano, who was so instrumental in creation of the Paulist Associates, after that Assembly gave me a major role in the growing of the Paulist Associates. I would to do that as part of my eight years on the Presidential Board — during the last term of Father Frank and the first term of Father John Duffy. Some of what I have been doing on our Associates National Board has been serving on a subcommittee with Cathy Hoekstra in addressing the formation of our the Associate members, as the Board revises our Associates Handbook. We are about improving and setting a high quality standard and process of formation that all of us would experience. I also will be playing a role in our future regional and national retreats. At our recent national retreat at Lake George retreat I presented a segment on Pope Francis’ Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home. Pope Francis, I believe, is calling all humanity to a deeper awareness and attentiveness to the earth — an ecological spirituality that recognizes the earth as a gift from God. I am also looking forward to be leading the Regional Retreat in Kalamazoo the weekend of April 29 – May 1, 2016. The theme will be: In the Realm of the Holy Spirit.
Serving on the National Board of the Paulist Associates gives me a wider perspective of the community to which I belong – to which we all belong. It’s challenging to feel connected to the other Paulist Associates when we rarely or never see each other. But we are connected! During our monthly Skype meetings, I get to see the other Board members, which is a blessing. Even better, I get to hear what other groups are doing. It’s great to feel connected and learn new ideas from each other. On the Board, I’ve been spearheading a subcommittee that’s fine-tuning the Paulist Associates member handbook. We’ve been examining it and making suggestions for improvement or clarification, then we go over it again with the entire Board. It’s a document worth using as a discussion generator for Associates meetings. In fact, my Tampa group did exactly that, and I listened to the comments with an ear toward how it might be improved. Have you visited the Associates Facebook page? Have you noticed some changes? This is one of the results of Board analysis and discussion. I’ve been using Facebook as a community-gathering tool for my own ministry (Good News Ministries of gnm.org), and what I’ve learned from that experience has been helpful to Board decisions. Even though our Board meetings usually take place at the end of a busy workday, and I’m tired and wondering why I committed to this, as soon as we greet one another, I feel energized by the idea of serving the Lord with such a great group of Paulist priests and Associates.
(This is a suggested format; each group may select another outline or topic.)
- Theme: Let Us Be Saints
- Opening Prayer: The Paulist Prayer Book, select the day on which you meet
Reading (in advance of the meeting): From Fr. Isaac Hecker’s 1854 Spiritual Notebook God would have us be saints, would make us saints but our selfishness prevents God from making us such. We conduct ourselves as though we were better, wiser, and more powerful than Almighty God. We cannot make a hair on our heads black or white or add an inch to our stature, yet we act and speak as though the world’s destiny depended on us… God’s dwelling place is in our soul; but we turn God out by our selfishness. For we shall never become holy without action for God gives us the ability to act in order to love and serve Him. It is the misdirection we give to our wills through our selfishness that is the origin of evil. As Saint Denis (the Belgian mystic, Denis the Carthusian, 1402-1471) says, the corruption of souls comes from giving false direction to our actions. We plan, we project, we speculate as if the world was on our shoulders and God was totally gone. Our misfortune is that in acting in this way we lose God instead of finding him. The wisest thing we can do is meditate on the folly of the world and above all on our own doings… Our actions must assist and cooperate with the grace of God or it is good for nothing else. A Response from Father Paul Robichaud, C.S.P.: Today Servant of God Isaac Thomas Hecker reminds us that our actions must assist and cooperate with the grace of God. God gives us the ability to act in order to love and serve God. God has given us life and the various elements of our life such as our intelligence, our freedom, our material blessings and our health in order that they may be used in the service of God. Father Hecker paints a beautiful image of how when our actions cooperate with grace, how God comes to dwell in our soul. God would have us be saints says Hecker. And sadly, the reverse is true as well. When our actions are governed by selfishness and apathy, God leaves us. … (W)e are invited to examine our lives and open our hearts to God’s renewing grace; it is a season of conversion and reconciliation. We are the children of God our Father and the adopted brothers and sisters of Jesus. As members of God’s family we are to be about the “family business.” We forgive seven times seventy times; we give our coat as well as our shirt; we walk the extra mile and turn the other cheek. Why do we do these things? Because God does them, and as the children of God we are to do what the Father does. Jesus our brother is the model of how we are to act. If we want to know how God wants us to act; then look upon Jesus who is the image of the Father and follow his actions. So let us be saints. Let us celebrate by allowing God’s grace to renew us and invite God to come and dwell within us.
- Conversation Catalysts
- What are the characteristics of saints you most admire?
- In what ways can you overcome selfishness?
Closing Prayer: Generous and steadfast God, help me acknowledge your grace and live in accordance with your Holy Spirit. Keep before me the wisdom and love you have made known in Jesus, our brother, our model, and our savior. Amen.
Regional Retreat in Kalamazoo, MI: Friday, April 29 to Sunday, May 1, 2016 Regional Retreat in Malibu, CA: Friday, June 3 to Sunday, June 5, 2016
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Paulist Associates National Director
Frank Desiderio, CSP
Paulist General Office
New York, NY 10023
Toronto, ON, Canada
Grand Rapids, MI
Mike Kallock, CSP
Paul Robichaud, CSP
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.