Fr. John Kenny, CSP (1932- ) is a native of Chicago. He earned an M.A. in Religion at the Paulist seminary in Washington, D.C. and an M.A. in French at the University of Maryland. He was ordained in 1958.
He served as Professor of French at the Paulist junior college in Baltimore; Catholic Chaplain and professor at Boston University; Pastor of St. John’s University Parish (West Virginia University); Pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas University Parish (University of Colorado); and parish and university pastor Clemson, South Carolina. He was director of the Catholic Information Center in Grand Rapids (1970 to 1978).
Fr. John completed sabbaticals at the Institut Catholique de Paris, the Catholic University of America in Washington, the Tantur Ecumenical Institute in Jerusalem, and the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium. He returned to Grand Rapids in 2000 to rejoin the staff of the Catholic Information Center. He is now retired and living in Vero Beach, Florida
Fr. Joseph Gallagher, CSP (1923-2007) was born and raised in New York. He received his bachelors degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1942 and served as a Navy commander during World War II. He earned a law degree from Fordham University and practiced maritime law until he joined the Paulist Fathers. He was ordained in 1961.
He served at the Catholic Information Center in Boston; directed the Paulist Institute for Religious Research in New York; pastor of St. Paul the Apostle Parishes in New York and in Los Angeles; Director of the Catholic Information Center, Grand Rapids (1978-82); served as vice-president, then president of the Paulist Fathers and returned to serve at the Catholic Information Center in Grand Rapids until his death (1994-2007).
As President of the Paulist Fathers, Father Joe guided the Paulists to adopt a new mission direction statement that determined the Paulist mission around three major priorities: evangelization, ecumenism and reconciliation. He fostered a resurgence of interest in the spirituality of the Paulist Founder, Father Isaac Thomas Hecker. Fr. Joe was a strong advocate of the influence of the Holy Spirit in our lives and worked tirelessly in advocating a deepening role for the laity in ministry. He believed in and supported ministries that reached beyond local churches into the marketplace at the nexus of culture and faith.
Named for the Paulist Fathers patron saint, Teresa of Avila, the Avila Room is a more intimate living room style setting, ideal for support groups and small group discussions. The room has soft lighting and cozy seating. It also showcases one of the beautiful stained glass windows from the Catholic Information Center’s Chapel of St. Paul. The Chapel closed in 2008 when we moved to our new location here in the Cathedral Square Building.
St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) was born in Spain and she entered the Carmelite Order at the age of eighteen. She was appalled by the posh, worldly life style of convents during that era. St. Teresa was called deeply to prayer and she frequently experienced ecstasies and visions. She suffered from poor health throughout her life. St. Teresa was a reformer of the Carmelite order and established many convents devoted to prayer and simplicity. She was canonized in 1622 and proclaimed a doctor of the Church by Pope Paul VI in 1970. Teresa of Avila is one of the patron saints of the Paulist Fathers.
There are also two conference rooms used for small group discussions, presentations and meetings. The Hecker Room is named for Paulist Fathers founder, Fr. Isaac Hecker, CSP. This room features a collapsible wall that makes the Gallagher Room a larger classroom.
Fr. Isaac Thomas Hecker, CSP (1819-1888) was born in New York. He was a spiritual seeker and wandering soul who converted to Catholicism (1844) and was ordained a Redemptorist priest (1849). He founded the Missionary Society of St. Paul the Apostle (1858), the first community of Catholic priests founded in the United States. The society was established to evangelize both believers and non-believers in order to convert North America to the Roman Catholic Church. He sought to evangelize Americans using the popular means of his day, primarily preaching, the public lecture circuit and the printing press. Father Hecker’s spirituality centered on the action of the Holy Spirit upon the soul and the need to remain attentive to the prompting of the Spirit in the great and small moments of life. On January 27, 2008, a cause for his sainthood was opened.
The beautiful Seton conference room also showcases a piece of the stained glass from the former Chapel of St. Paul. This room is named after the Paulist Fathers patron saint, Elizabeth Ann Seton.
Seton Conference Room
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774 -1821) was the first United States American born saint (canonized, September 14, 1975). A wife and mother of five children, she was widowed when the children were still very young. She was a convert to Roman Catholicism and founded the American Sisters of Charity, the first sisterhood native to the United States. Elizabeth Seton opened the first free Catholic school for girls in the country, this school is known as the ‘cradle’ of Catholic schools in the USA. She is one of the patron saints of the Paulist Fathers.