“Beloved, I beseech you as aliens and exiles …”
So St. Peter wrote to the Catholic Church of his generation (1 Peter 2:11). And those words never get timeworn, because the Church is always on pilgrimage toward its heavenly goal. We’re always on the move.
In the first ten years of our marriage, Kimberly and I moved eleven times! We moved for school. We moved for work. We moved for pastoral assignments. Each time we packed boxes and loaded a truck. What we could not see was that the relocation was just an outward sign of the deeper ways that God was moving us — toward his Church, toward full communion, to his kingdom.
Now the St. Paul Center is taking its turn. As you read this, we’re packing boxes and loading trucks. Our apostolate has not moved nearly as often as my household. This is only our second move in more than a dozen years.
We started out, in 2001, on the first floor of a little house just around the corner from my family home. But we outgrew that tiny space almost immediately and moved to an office park on the other side of town. The office was still pretty small, but we’ve made do, even as we added new staff and new programs. Though our apostolate has grown many times over since our last move, we’ve learned to work among stacks of boxes. It’s a good thing we enjoy each other’s company, because there’s been no avoiding it!
We’re companions, but now we’re reminded that we’re companions on a journey — aliens and exiles. God is leading us to a better place.
A few months back we received word that our office complex had been sold and would soon be vacated. Yet we never had time to worry. Nearby Franciscan University offered us spacious quarters on campus — a place that could accommodate offices and meetings and even a studio for media production. Working on campus, we would also gain direct access to the nation’s largest pool of theology students — faithful, highly motivated, and apostolically minded young men and women. We can train them to lead Bible studies. We can equip them to take our programs — and take the Gospel — to a much wider world.
Centuries ago, Ben Franklin complained that moving house was “worse than a fire” for the havoc it brought to a family’s life. And we will certainly encounter some bumps along the way to campus.
But when I remember the marvels the Lord has done — when I recall what he has worked through so many “moves” in my life — I get excited about what lies ahead for the St. Paul Center. We’re making a short move, a little more than a mile from one place to the next, but I know it’s a big move.
I’m pleased that we’re taking you with us! You have supported us with encouragement, prayers, and donations, and in return we will continue to offer our work for you and for your intentions. We pray for you before the Blessed Sacrament. We know your presence and your care as we prepare each Bible study for publication, as we put the fine points on our Spanish translations, as we plan our next conferences, and as we film videos for our growing YouTube channel.
We are pilgrims, exiles, aliens, strangers, sojourners, but none of us is alone in this good work. You have made that clear to us, and I am deeply grateful.