Paulists to withdraw from St. Mark's University Parish
THE PAULIST FATHERS, the once truly great and uniquely American congregation of missionary priests founded by convert, Father Isaac Hecker, have announced that they will no longer staff St. Mark's University Parish in Goleta (Santa Barbara).
Since their founding in 1858, the Paulists have always been a comparatively small congregation of priests. But in recent years the Missionary Society of St. Paul the Apostle (official name) has suffered a virtual implosion with few new vocations and the inevitable loss of members due to death and defection.
At their recent "extraordinary general council" the Paulist leadership had to make hard decisions with respect to abandoning certain foundations (e.g., Newman Centers, parishes) which had been staffed by Paulists in some cases for decades. Among those that got the ax, so to speak, was St. Mark's.
This is a good thing. In Santa Barbara, as elsewhere (e.g., HERE, HERE, and HERE), the Paulists are doing more harm than good. This is because the Paulists as a society of priests has gone the way of the Jesuits and countless other great religious orders and congregations by its open dissent from the Magisterium of the Church.
In a letter published in St. Mark's bulletin, Paulist president, Father John Duffy, CSP, wrote:
Sounds like the perfect job for a clone of the dynamic duo, Sister Susie and Father 'Lacky.'
"Last week, in an extraordinary painful decision, our General Council determined that to continue to utilize effectively our limited Paulist resources to accomplish our ongoing objectives, the Paulist Fathers will be required to reduce some commitments and withdraw from others. With great regret, the Paulist ministries at the University of California, Santa Barbara and Saint Mark's are among those from which we must withdraw ...
The Paulists who minister at Saint Mark's and I will do all that we can to ensure a smooth transition. Under the direction of Cardinal Mahony and his Regional Vicar, Bishop Thomas Curry, new pastoral leadership for this congregation will be found at some point between now and June 30th of 2006."
My only concern is: who's going to help Clay celebrate his birthday?