The Associates World: September 2017

September 5, 2017

Issue No. 21, September 2017
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 in your Web browser.

Table of Contents

Back from Hiatus

During the past couple of months, The Associates World took a break, because we weren’t receiving enough items for the newsletter. Hoping that some individuals were willing to come forward to support keeping this monthly newsletter going, we’re glad to report that several individuals offered to prepare articles and send photos for future issues; and some are willing to coordinate and encourage submissions from others in their local group.

In addition, in a meeting of those who attended the retreat at Lake George and some of the Board members, these Associates indicated that they were most interested in articles written by other Associates about their groups, ministries, and events at their parish. Most were not reading the excerpt from Paulist sermons, the “Isaac Says” quotes, and the Fr. Hecker Abstracts. So, we are no longer running these as regular features.

If you have any suggestions for The Associates World, please feel free to send an email to Fr. Frank Desiderio, CSP at or Paula Cuozzo at

We look forward to receiving your articles and photos as well as ideas for regular features.

Adirondack Ways

by Fr. Tom Holahan, CSP — Associate Pastor, The Church of St. Paul the Apostle, New York


The tall thin trees of the Adirondacks
tell of logging times when
the best of them fell
but also the falling of lesser ones
in wind and soaking rains and lightning —
a glacial moraine is tricky for roots
as well as boot.

And it is peculiarly spongy in the woods,
you walk as on a loamy bed, trudging to the pillow,
springing on the cellulose of ferns and grass and
fetid branches.

Everything is melting away and
Everything is growing — swelling with the rain
or starting from nothing
like that forest of five-inch pines,
masked for years
just beneath the leaves.

Nothing is left unwrapped, especially the rocks.
In one year, a softening layer of dust
produces moss, glinting with splashes of lichen
and fungi, glossy as a pelt, as if Pollack
had recently come to paint.

Camino Dream Comes TRUE

by Carol Wagner Williams, Associate in Tucson

The Preparation

camino_1In 2013, during the Paulist Associates National Retreat at Lake George, I saw the Paulist film, The Way. While viewing the film, I made the decision that I would to walk the Camino de Santiago [The Way of St. James] when I retired. The Way of St. James refers to different routes pilgrims take. The scalloped shell is a metaphor for hiking the Camino because the lines represent the various routes that pilgrims travel to reach the tomb of St James in Santiago. Shell with an arrow underneath it [both yellow] mark the trail and points in the direction that one should go.

In the early days, pilgrims on their way to Santiago wore the scalloped shell attached to their backpacks or hats. It was more than a pilgrim badge or symbol; it was a practical need. The pilgrims could use the bowl of the shell to hold their food or drink.

In order to prepare myself for the Camino, I researched the Camino on line and learned people either walk the Camino for religious or cultural reasons. I decided that I would do it to become a better Christian and figure out what I was going to do with my life after retirement. The only thing I knew for sure was that I was moving to Arizona, because I have always wanted to live in the southwestern United States.

I had thought I would retire during 2015; however, things did not work out so I continued working and during the winter of 2016, I found an article in The Catholic Times that stated a church group was going to be walking the Camino in October of 2016. This schedule fit with my plans for retirement and walking the Camino. So, I contacted the trip coordinator and arranged to attend a Central Ohio Camino Meeting. People were helpful and informative, suggesting the type gear required for the Camino and the best place to purchase it. They provided information on flights and how to go about making hotel arrangements. We were not going to stay in hostels, for which you cannot make reservations. We planned to stay in hotels or guest houses, and our luggage would be transported from hotel to hotel. Group members planned to carry only a small backpack with things needed for the day.

I knew that I needed to get ready to walk the number of required miles each day. I struggled to walk three miles during the first week of training. My training partner and friends gave me the support I needed to increase my mileage. Each day I would walk from where I lived south on High Street and then turn around and walk back. My goal was to reach Lane Avenue where the St. Thomas More Newman Center was located [21 miles round trip from my condo].

In addition to these practical measures, my preparation for the Camino included praying daily. The training time was a wonderful opportunity — because it provided much thinking and praying time — mostly praying I would be able to keep pace with others on the Camino. About two weeks before I was scheduled to leave for Spain, I walked 21 miles in a relatively short amount of time, so I felt confident that I could walk the 114 mile portion of the Camino with the group.

Walking the Camino

camino_2Each day on the Camino, there were new people to meet and time to focus on my life and prayer. Some days, the time walking was long but it provided much opportunity to think about what I would do with my life. Many thoughts went through my mind.

I still was unsure what I was going to do with all my retirement “free” time when I left the Camino, which brings to mind what the late Fr, Dave O’Brien, CSP, former director of the St. Thomas Newman Center. He would say, “Paulist Associates should just be”. [Note: I am still just being but have been becoming acclimated to my new state of residence!]

For me, highlights of walking the Camino were:

  • visiting churches along the trails and saying a prayer in them
  • seeing people working in their gardens and fields
  • taking in mountain views and rainbows
  • meeting new people
  • participating in daily mass with Fr. Dave Sizemore
  • saying the rosary as a group while walking and
  • realizing that if one is determined enough one can do what he/she wants to do

camino_3Fr. Joe Ciccone, CSP said hiking the Camino would forever change me, and he was right!

We ended at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, amazing due to its design and elaborate gold altar (that was then under renovation.) Since it was the Year of Mercy, the Holy Door was open and we were able to walk through it. [This door is opened only during the Holy Years when it converts into a symbolic entrance way that represents the passage from sin to divine graces.]

The Tomb of St. James the Great and two of his followers are behind the main altar.

In addition, there are several chapels in the church, and we celebrated Mass at one of them.

The cathedral is known as a model of pilgrim churches for Christians. The botafumerio [censor] is one of the most popular symbols of the cathedral and is used to purify the air during the Pilgrim Mass. Some claim that this tradition developed in response to the lack of hygiene of early pilgrims on their rugged journeys.

During the Pilgrim Mass, it was amazing seeing the pilgrims of many faiths and from various parts of the world praying together. The Camino appeared to have a calming effect on people who came together to worship God in their own way.


camino_4As I look back over the experience of walking these 114 miles, I am thrilled that I have good health and the strength for this pilgrimage. I’m in awe that I walked the same trail St. James the Great and other pilgrims walked. I feel an elation that cannot be put into words, similar to how one feels after receiving the Eucharist, knowing something so wonderful has occurred.

Walking the Camino has changed me as a person because I feel like I am more serious about my prayer times, daily. If I do not plan enough time it makes me feel like I have not done what I need to do. [This is a self-imposed need.] It has made me more appreciative of the small things in life. Some days I feel like I need to pinch myself to make sure things are real because I am happy and enjoying the mountains, blue skies, rainbows, nature, meeting people, spending time with friends, going to new places and life in general. I continue to hike and some days I am in awe that I was able to hike on the historical Way of St. James. Some days I think, I could do the entire 540 miles of the Camino!!!!

Proposed Program for October

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

Theme:The Needs of the Times

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

Reading (in advance of the meeting):
Isaac Hecker on the External Mission of the Paulist Community, found in The Paulist Vocation

The needs of the times call for virtues among Catholics which shall display the personal force of Catholic life no less than that which is organic.

The light the age requires for its renewal can only come from the same source, the cultivation of the Holy Spirit in the individual soul. The renewal of the age depends on the renewal of religion. The renewal of religion depends upon the greater effusion of the creative and renewing power of the Holy Spirit. The greater effusion of the Holy Spirit depends on the giving of increased attention to His movements and inspirations in the soul. The radical and adequate remedy for all the evils of our age, and the source of all true progress, consist in increased attention and fidelity to the action of the Holy Spirit in the soul. “Thou shalt send forth Thy Spirit, and they shall be created: and Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.”

An exposition of Christianity showing the union of its internal with its external notes of credibility, is calculated to produce a more enlightened and intense conviction of its divine truth in the faithful, to stimulate them to a more energetic personal action; and, what is more, it would open the door to many straying children, for their return to the fold of the Church. The increased action of the Holy Spirit, with a more vigorous co-operation on the part of the faithful, which is in process of realization, will elevate the human personality to an intensity of force and grandeur productive of a new era in the Church and to society; an era difficult for the imagination to grasp, and still more difficult to describe in words, unless we have recourse to the prophetic language of the inspired Scriptures.

I am in favor of no sudden changes, but am in favor of that liberty which will leave the way open to the application of these principles as the case may demand and the Providence of God direct. That many important changes will be required is a fact that I do not wish to conceal. Such, at least, is my opinion.

Conversation Catalyst

  • I am particularly moved by the line ….
  • How does your local faith community discern the needs of the times? Give particular examples of new initiatives (within the last 2 years).
  • Discuss how you are hospitable to visitors and new members of your church community? How does your local Paulist Associates group remain open and inviting individuals to become Paulist Associates? Be specific.
  • In what ways do we encourage one another to remain attentive to the action of the Holy Spirit in our souls? How
    is that inspiration taking hold in your life today?
  • How do you cultivate virtue in your own life and in the life of your faith community?


Closing Prayer

holy_spiritO Holy Spirit,
bestow upon us Your seven holy gifts.
Enlighten our understanding that we may know You.
Give us wisdom that Your will may be clear to us
and that we may accept it.
Grant us the gift of counsel
that we may always perceive what is right.
Fortify us that we may always be capable
of fulfilling Your Divine Will.
Inspire us with the spirit of learning
that we may be able to penetrate more deeply
into the truths that You have revealed.
Let our hearts be steeped in the spirit of childlikeness
that we may bring You joy.
Let us have proper awe of God
that we may never wander from the path of goodness.
Give us the fullness of Your gifts
that we may glorify You.

Save the Date

A Kingdom of Unlikely Followers
A Paulist Retreat with Fr. Steven Bell, CSP, Fr. John Collins, CSP, and Fr. Tom Gibbons, CSP
Marble Falls, TX — November 11-12, 2017

Upcoming Journeys with Paulist Pilgrimages

Rest In Peace


Please pray for Carol Marie Murphy, beloved Paulist Associate from Boston, who passed away on June 29, 2017. We ask that you keep Carol’s family and many friends in prayer as well as all the Associates in Boston who mourn her loss. You may read the full obituary notice at

Book Review: The Gethsemani Encounter, A Dialogue on the Spiritual Life by Buddhist and Christian Monastics

Edited by Donald W. Mitchell & James Wiseman, OSB

review by Jane Kelsey – Associate from Columbus

In 1997, after many years of consultation, meditation, and prayer, Buddhist and Christian monastics gathered at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky for dialogue on the spiritual life. The first part of the book consists of talks presented by monastics during the course of the week. Part two contains chapters on dialogue and reflection among the practitioners.

While I found the Buddhist talks to be difficult to read and understand, I came away with greater respect for their practices and their approach to pain and suffering. The Christian talks enhanced and reinforced my understanding of my own faith tradition. The chapters featuring dialogue and reflection I found to be more interesting. Most impressive was the fact that so many of the monastics mentioned how meaningful and fruitful were the times of silence that they shared together.

I recommend the book for its contribution to interreligious dialogue. Though the conference was 20 years ago, it still has relevance for today.

© 1997 by Monastic Interreligious Dialogue. Published by Continuum Publishing Company. 297 pages.

Reflection on Luke 7:11-17 — 09/20/13

by Ana Berrios – Associate from Columbus




A sight of sorrow and death
Reminding you of your losses
My loss…
Jesus’ mercy, without a request
Drying your life left in tears
My tears…
“Weep not”, strange command!
Cutting deep into your womb
My listening…

 Faithful hope in a simple touch
Rising young words
My companions…
Your son returned to your arms
Reminding me of God’s love
My receiving
God visiting you, his people
Retelling the story
My Nain

Prayer for the Intercession of Father Isaac T. Hecker

hecker-prayer-for-intercessionHeavenly Father, you called your servant Isaac Thomas Hecker to preach the Gospel to the people of North America and through his teaching, to know the peace and the power of your indwelling Spirit. He walked in the footsteps of Saint Paul the Apostle, and like Paul spoke your Word with a zeal for souls and a burning love for all who came to him in need.

Look upon us this day, with compassion and hope. Hear our prayer. We ask that through the intercession of Father Hecker your servant, you might grant us (state the request).

We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, Your Son, Our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit. One God, forever and ever. Amen.

When you pray this prayer, and if you believe that you have received any favors through Hecker’s intercession, please contact the Office of the Cause for Canonization of Servant of God, Isaac Hecker at Visit the web site: to learn more about his life and the cause for his canonization.

Fr. Hecker Abstracts

Some Associates are looking for additional resources for a more in-depth reflection on the life and works of Servant of God and founder of the Paulists, Isaac Hecker. For the next several months, we will feature a book, article, web site, or other resource to consider for further study by individuals and perhaps by the local groups.

Your recommendations are welcome. Please send your suggestions to Paula Cuozzo at

Isaac Thomas Hecker: Spiritual Pilgrim
by John J. Behnke, CSP

Recently released by Paulist Press, Fr. John Behnke who is the Vice President of the Paulists, provides us with a fresh look at the biography of the Paulist founder. He traces Hecker’s encounters with Transcendentalism and various Protestant denominations during his spiritual quest, which eventually guided him to the Catholic Church, priesthood, and founding of he first religious order of men in the United States.

This portrait of Hecker does not confine itself to the 19th century; it also leads us to the work of the Paulists today and an account of the cause for Hecker’s canonization.

This paperback book is available online at Paulist Press as well as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


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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

Katherine Murphy Mertzlufft
Columbus, OH

Joe Scott, CSP


Paulist Associates 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.