Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The St. Paul House of Prayer will be a center for Doug Gonzales and a few other men to live in an informal religious community. This is an unusual development for a Catholic parish so here are answers to some Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Is the hermit ordained as a deacon or priest?

A: No. He is a layman consecrated by the bishop for this unusual calling.

Q: What does a Hermit do all day?

A: He prays. He will lead the members of the St. Paul House of Prayer in Morning and Evening Prayer (Lauds and Vespers) in the Lower Church. Once the times are decided, parishioners can also attend.

He will also attend daily Mass and may assist with sacristan duties. In addition to public Lauds and Vespers the hermit will also say Mid-Day Prayer and Night Prayer and observe his own disciplines of extra devotions like the Holy Rosary, the Divine Mercy chaplet and holy reading and contemplation.

Q: How is the Hermit supported?

A: He is not dependent on the parish for financial support. He has his own means and depends on alms. He does not receive a salary from the parish or diocese, but may receive gifts and payment for small bits of work he performs in agreement with those who need his help.

Q: Will the hermit be involved in parish social life and ministry?

A: No. He is called to the solitary life of silence and prayer.

Q: Can I knock on his door to seek his counsel?

A: No. The hermit is not a counselor. He will welcome written prayer requests and may choose to work as a spiritual director for some men, but not women. He may also work with the pastor to develop and foster the life of prayer for the parish through speaking and writing.

Q: Isn’t this a waste of a good man when we have so many needy people and people who need good catechesis?

A: All the work we do in sharing the faith needs to be supported by prayer. If it is not, then it is just empty good works. The hermit’s life is a witness to the power of prayer.

Your Pastor,

Fr. Longenecker