By Scott Hahn
Scott Hahn, Founder and President of the St. Paul Center, is author of over forty books. Understanding "Our Father": Biblical Reflections on the Lord's Prayer is one of his most popular works, going step by step through the powerful prayer we often take for granted.
It is with great joy that I share that we at the St. Paul Center have completed our Fifteenth Anniversary Stewards of the Mysteries Campaign.
In the New Testament, a steward is someone who has been entrusted with the task of caretaking. In Jesus’ parables it usually refers to the principal administrator in service of a ruler or landowner (see Matthew 20:8, Luke 16:1).
In the Church, stewardship is something universally held. “As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace” (1 Peter 4:10). We are called to generously share the gifts we have freely received from God.
If we are Christians, we are stewards. We show our gratitude for the gifts God has given us is by imitating him and sharing these gifts generously. It was my own meditation on this truth that led us, in 2016, to choose “Stewards of the Mysteries” as the theme of the St. Paul Center’s capital campaign.
Our goals seemed impossibly ambitious. We wanted to extend the Center’s reach and influence. We wanted to break into new media. We wanted to expand our publishing apostolate into markets that had often seemed off-limits to Catholic tradition.
Some friends thought we were aiming far beyond the reach of a small apostolate. Biblical theology is hardly a crowd-pleaser in today’s society, and the number and net worth of its enthusiasts can sometimes seem tiny.
I’m here to share what I consider a miracle. Despite a pandemic—in spite of a worldwide economic downturn—we have not only met our goals, we’ve exceeded them . . . by more than a million dollars!
The donations began as we were beginning several large projects that focused on the Mass. For years, my colleagues and I have been intensely concerned about the apparent decline in Eucharistic piety among Catholics. Much of the money we raised we applied to programs to remedy this situation. We produced video studies on the Mass that could be streamed to the homes of people around the world.
We increased the production of our publishing arm, Emmaus Road, and added a new imprint, Emmaus Academic, to serve scholars and influence seminaries. We initiated annual (and then semi-annual) retreats for priests on the east and west coasts of the United States.
By publishing “lost” works of St. Thomas Aquinas and Matthias Joseph Scheeben, Emmaus Academic has already outproduced our expectations and made a lasting contribution to scholarship in the English-speaking world.
It’s as if God had a plan for this campaign, and his plan was greater than our hopes. It’s as if—with the help of many generous friends—the St. Paul Center produced responses to situations that had not yet arisen. We did not know, for example, that we were producing video to educate a world in quarantine. But apparently, we were. We did not know that a Pew Research Study would confirm our suspicions about the weakness of Eucharistic faith—but unfortunately it did.
This campaign is already impacting the Church around the world. I beg you not to let up on your prayers and other support.
Here are just a few things we’ve accomplished together thanks to this campaign:
- In 2019, people from around the world watched over 200,000 hours of Genesis to Jesus.
- We have created five groundbreaking studies: The Bible and the Sacraments, The Bible and the Virgin Mary, The Bible and the Church Fathers, Genesis to Jesus, and The Eucharist in Scripture, with more forthcoming.
- The Eucharistic focus of our studies came at a perfect time. In August of 2019, a study by the Pew Research Center showed that 70% of Catholics do not believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. A few days later, we released The Eucharist in Scripture!
- In 2017, 200 priests attended our July Priest Conference at Oglebay, West Virginia. Just three years later, the number of attendees has doubled, and we have added a second conference in California for West Coast priests.
- With the creation of Emmaus Academic, the Center is influencing Catholic higher education. We have already published two textbooks by Dr. Lawrence Feingold that have become go-to resources for seminarians. By publishing the greatest minds in Church history like Matthias Joseph Scheeben, St. Thomas Aquinas, and Fr. Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P., for the first time in English, we will help shape generations of seminarians and theologians.
All of this is thanks to your generous support. On behalf of the St. Paul Center, I offer my sincere thanks. And I look forward to what we will accomplish together next.