This Sunday in New York at the Church of St. Paul the Apostle, the cause for the canonization of Father Hecker was opened at a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Edward Egan. Hecker is the founder of the Paulists Fathers, an order dedicated to missionary work, reconciliation and ecumenicism in North America. The Paulist Fathers originated in Hecker’s belief that Catholicism and the American democratic ideals were in fact compatible. Like many great American Catholics Hecker converted to the faith. Prior to his conversion he was involved in the great philosophical movements of the day such as Transcendentalism and was friends with people like Henry David Thoreau. All these experiences helped inform a uniquely American approach to Catholicism and a lifelong effort as a spiritual seeker.
I’m very excited and inspired that Hecker’s cause for canonization is begun. I am aquainted with Hecker and the Paulist Fathers through my involvement with the Paulist Center community here in Boston. It also starts off the 150th anniversary celebrations of the Paulist Fathers. I was fortunate to hear Jon Fuller, S.J., M.D. speak on Saturday night as he received the Isaac Hecker Award “for his lifelong devotion and dedication to the service of a marginalized population through his work with HIV/AIDS treatment and research.”
To learn more about Fr. Isaac Hecker and his cause for canonization, visit the official Paulist Fathers website.
For more coverage on Sunday’s event, visit the following links:
- Whispers in the Loggia: American Missionary… “Americanist” Saint (1/14/08) and Cause on the Move (1/29/08).
- Paulist Father’s press release.
- Maior autem his est caritas: Fr. Hecker, Servant of God (1/27/08).
- BustedHalo: The Patron Saint of Spiritual Seekers.
- Baptized Pagan promises to write about this topic soon as well.
- This is an older piece from the Boston Globe, but I neglected to post it earlier and it ties in well with the Paulist Father’s mission for reconciliation: Slow Healing in the Catholic Church (1/1/08) by Robert Bordone and Robert Bowers.