Rev Fr Paul Allan Reynolds

Rev Fr Paul Allan Reynolds

Winthrop, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
Death 24 Jul 2013 (aged 56)
Everett, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
Burial Winthrop, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
Memorial ID 115755962 · View Source
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Rev. Paul A. Reynolds C.S.P. of Temple Ave., Winthrop passed away suddenly at the Whidden Hospital in Everett on July 24, 2013. He was 56 years old. Born in Boston, he was the beloved son of the late Florence (Vincente) and Paul A. Reynolds, Sr.. A lifetime resident of Winthrop,Paul worked for The Globe as did his father for 50 years. He received his Bachelor's degree from Salem State, majoring in Philosophy, and worked for several years as an operating room technician in the open heart surgery units at Deaconess and Mt. Auburn Hospitals.

In 1988 he entered the Paulist novitiate and a year later began a four year course of study at the Paulist seminary, St. Paul's College, Washington. He was awarded a Master of Divinity degree from Catholic University for America, Washington, DC and was ordained a deacon in 1993 while administering at Immaculate Conception Church, Knoxville, TN. He was ordained a Catholic priest on May 14, 1994.

Father Reynolds served at Saint John's University Parish in Morgantown, West Virginia, from 1994 to 1997, and then as a chaplain at M.I.T. from 1997 to 2006. He also served on occasion at St. John the Evangelist Church in Winthrop. He recently graduated from Regis College with a degree in nursing and also had his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Philosophy and Psychology.

He was the beloved son of the late Florence (Vincente) and Paul A. Reynolds, Sr.. He was the dear brother of Jean Dion of Winthrop, Nancy Levesque of Wolfboro, New Hampshire and the late Carol Reynolds. He was the cherished uncle of Robert, Matthew, Andrew and Nicole.


Father Reynolds' funeral Mass took place at St. John the Evangelist Church in Winthrop on July 30, 2013. Father Gilbert Martinez, CSP, presided. This is the homily preached by Father Eric Andrews, CSP:

On behalf of Fr. Paul's family, I want to welcome everyone once again to St. John the Evangelist Church, Paul's home parish. Special thanks to Msgr. Charlie Bourke, the pastor, for his most gracious hospitality. I am blessed to be with my brother Paulists who are here, the priests and deacons of the Archdiocese who have joined us today, and most importantly Paul's sisters Jean and Nancy, his brother-in-law Bob, his nephews Robby, Matt, and Drew, his niece Nicole, Auntie Jo, and all the rest of the clan and dear friends. Paul loved you so much and would be happy and overwhelmed that all of you have come to be with him both yesterday and today.

I am going to start by saying something provocative and upsetting. It isn't the fact that I am a Yankee fan (groans from crowd). No, it is something deeper, if possible. I am here to state that I was Paul Reynolds' best friend. Now, I don't want to pick a fight, but I want to know, by a show of hands, who else in this Church believed the same (about 40-50 people raise their hands). That's what I thought. I wasn't alone. Paul's great spirit of welcome and hospitality made us all feel so special, like we were the only one in his life--his best friend. A friend of his remarked: "I'll never forget the first time I met him. It was as if we'd known each other forever. He had that ability…"

Watching all those who came last night at the wake, it was clear to me what a deep impact Paul had. Folks came from all parts of his life. People wanted to stay and talk. There was much laughter in the room, and tears too. The way he was laid out, like the Pope, with that knowing smirk on his face, we all hoped he'd hop up and start preaching, like he often did in that very same spot here at St. John's. I know Paul and others would say that this should be a celebration and a joyous occasion and so forth, but I also know Paul loved watching melodramatic movies on LIFETIME and HALLMARK that gave him the opportunity to "shed a tear." So don't worry, laugh or cry, it's okay, be yourself, do what you need to do… Paul would want that for you at this moment. That's the kind of friend Paul was!

What I will miss in particular was the laughter we shared together… Paul was the most fun, irreverent, and crazy guy I've ever known in my life. He always had ants in his pants… Come to find out, it has always been that way. His Scout leader was here last night and with a chuckle reported what a pain in the neck Paul was in the troop, always misbehaving! I can't imagine what he was like as an altar boy. The thought makes me shutter. The stories from his young adult days are legendary—and can't be repeated here. The times I was most comfortable with Paul in Church was when he was saying the Mass, not only because he had a good preacher, but also because I knew he couldn't goof off.

There were special things in life that would always capture his attention: Nuns, tacky Christmas decorations, former drinking spots, men with toupees, etc, etc. He always enjoyed a good ice cream challenge with his beloved niece and nephews. Matter of fact, Matt just discovered a classic video he took of Paul on his phone during one of these challenges. While munching on a soft serve cone, Paul observed that while others in their middle age find they eat less, he testified that he "hasn't found that to be the case…"

I wouldn't have survived seminary without him. How often he would whisper something inappropriate in my ear at the worst times or make faces at the sanctimonious seminarian, knowing that person had a lot to learn about life. He would relieve the tensions of religious formation by screaming down the main stairwell, a scream so loud and blood curdling that I am sure it was heard all the way to the White House. I'll never forget the time we played Robin Hood. One of our friends was resigning from the seminary, and he didn't have much to set up an apartment. So Paul and I decided he needed one of the old mattresses that were stacked up and forgotten in a storage room. Of course we didn't ask anyone. Off we go, sneaking the mattress to the U-Haul truck. We were almost home free as the elevator approached the basement. As the door opened, we heard, to our dismay, the jovial voice of the Rector of the Seminary coming in from the parking lot… I panicked. What do we do? Close the door? Make up an excuse? Not Paul. "Let's roll!" he said. And we walked out, right past him, with a hardy "Hi Mick!" It was a formation hat trick: doing a good deed, nearly get kicked out for doing it, and having a good laugh all at the same time.

Of course I can go on with funny anecdotes, there is way too much material… But that would only be a part of the story, for Paul was also an awesome Priest, Missionary, and Healer. What changed the direction and focus of Paul's life was the tragic death of his 16-year-old cousin Kelly, a death that could have been averted. It shook Paul and his family to the core. The outcome of that horrific experience was Paul's hearing God's call to change his life and serve others. Much like Matthew the tax collector in the Gospel, Paul responded decisively and followed Jesus. Even though he might have been considered the least likely candidate for the priesthood, he would become among the most effective, because of his big heart and common touch. As a Paulist, he served in far-flung places for a guy from Winthrop: Morgantown, West Virginia, Knoxville Tennessee, La Jolla, California, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He had a way of reaching people in all walks of life. He treated everyone as an adult who had an important faith story to tell. He could talk to world-renowned scientists and not be intimidated because he knew that everyone puts on their pants one leg at a time, and what he may have lacked in academic prowess, he made up for with his emotional intelligence and faith. Even after his time as a chaplain and pastor, we was always available to others: with co-workers at the cafeteria at MIT, friends at coffee shops all over town, and the many he sponsored in 12 step recovery.

Funny story: on the day Paul died, one of his sponsees called Paul's cell phone. The person was clearly drunk when he asked for Paul. Paul's Brother-in-law Bob, who was fielding calls, said: I am sorry to tell you that Paul passed today. To which the man replied: "He passed? Oh. Well, tell Paul I'll call him back tomorrow…" Paul would have roared with laughter. This was the type of person Paul always had time for; a modern example of what Jesus did in the Gospel, sharing a table with sinners and tax collectors to the chagrin of the self righteous.

Paul has always been in the healing business, having worked in hospitals all of his adult life; first as a surgical tech, then as a priest anointing the sick, and finally as a registered nurse. Not only did he know the medical cause of someone's illness, he also knew the psychic pain we humans have to endure. He affirmed the goodness and worth of everyone he met and had an amazing empathy for all who suffered. He was particularly gifted to those in crisis. An intuitive listener, he knew the right thing to say and when to say it. Because Paul had been there so many times himself, he could assure others that on the darkest of days, when all hope seemed lost, that the sun would rise again… that the love of Christ would overcome the darkness. For people who felt unloved and lost, this was the powerful message that Paul preached in word and in deed, modeled after Jesus, who told the Pharisees: "Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' I did not come to call the righteous but sinners."

Ultimately, Paul applied these words to his own life. He knew he had his own wounds that needed tending and that he needed to be here in Boston with you, his circle of support, to do that. He needed to live and work in places that nurtured him and most importantly kept him sane, healthy and sober. Perhaps the way to say it is that his vocation grew and changed over the years. The Holy Spirit had led him in new directions, and Paul followed, letting the chips fall where they may. His way may have been unorthodox, but then again, was Paul ever orthodox or conventional?

Yet, he always was, and died, a Paulist Father. He lived the Paulist charism of reconciliation and believed that all the strands of his life would somehow come together and he never stopped lobbying his superiors to share his expansive vision. His life ended too soon to settle some things and there were people who Paul was at odds with… But knowing Paul like you and I do, we know in the length of days Paul would have found a way to make all things come together, to the glory of God.

For now, we take comfort that Paul is on his way to be with the communion of saints, to be with his cousin Kelly, with his Mom and Dad, and all those others who have gone before us, marked with the sign of faith. We rejoice that he is looking after us from a more influential spot, waiting for us to join him at the heavenly banquet, where there will be laughs for all eternity. In the meantime, we are called to do as he would have wanted: to laugh heartily, care for each other compassionately, and walk humbly with our God. His spirit is among us! So on those days when his absence is most powerfully felt, remember this musical thought about Paul and our God, at whose altar Paul loved to serve:

I'll be seeing you, in all the old familiar places, that this heart of mine embraces, all day through.

In that small café, the church basement across the way, the Revere Multiplex, the breakfast spot, the Dairy Queen…

I'll be seeing you in every lovely summer's day. Everything that's light and gay, I'll always think of you that way.

I'll find you in the morning sun, and when the night is new, I'll be looking at the moon, but I'll be seeing you.

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  • Created by: Paulist Archives
  • Added: 19 Aug 2013
  • Find a Grave Memorial 115755962
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Rev Fr Paul Allan Reynolds (22 Oct 1956–24 Jul 2013), Find a Grave Memorial no. 115755962, citing Winthrop Cemetery, Winthrop, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by Paulist Archives (contributor 47227615) .