The Face of the Good News

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a poster in Fr. Paul Nourie’s room is worth an infinite number of words.

The poster was given to Fr. Paul by his parishioners at Most Precious Blood Parish in Chula Vista, California. It was presented to him during a celebration of his 50th Anniversary as a Missionary Oblate priest.

In the poster, hundreds of photos of friends and parishioners of Fr. Paul form a collage over an image of the priest. At the bottom is a quote from St. Eugene de Mazenod, founder of the Missionary Oblates: “We must act as if success depends on our ability, and to put in God all our confidence.”

For more than 60 years as a Missionary Oblate, Fr. Paul has accomplished many successes because of his abilities as a priest, mentor and friend, and he has done it always with confidence in God.

Father Paul was born in Massachusetts and grew up in a family that was active in their parish. After learning about the missionary work of the Oblates, Fr. Paul joined the community and was ordained in 1964.

Father Paul’s first assignment took him far away from his Massachusetts hometown. He was assigned to a high school in southern California where he taught everything from religion to typing. Except for a few years in vocation ministry, he would spend most of his priestly life in California.

In Oakland, Fr. Paul was Pastor at St. Mary’s Parish. Located downtown in one of the poorest sections of the city, Fr. Paul led efforts to get more than 100 housing units built for senior citizens. He also created an extensive soup kitchen program serving hundreds of meals every day.

Father Paul would later serve eight years at St. Ferdinand Parish in San Fernando and another eight years at Most Precious Blood Parish in Chula Vista. He would also serve as Provincial for the Oblates in the western part of the United States.

At Most Precious Blood Fr. Paul was at the forefront of the energy conservation movement. He had 260 solar panels installed on four roofs in the church complex. The monthly electric bills at the parish were running about $1,500. After the panels were installed, the monthly electric bill was just $12.

In 2018 Fr. Paul retired to the Oblate Madonna Residence in San Antonio, Texas. Today he helps with daily Mass and is always available to talk with visitors who come by seeking a friend with a listening heart.

And occasionally he looks at that poster in his room and is reminded of the countless lives that he has touched over the years.