Servant of God Fr. Paul Wattson, SA, had such a particular zeal for spreading the Good News, as well as pure trust in God’s plan, that he was able to reach even the most downtrodden and give them the hope that comes only through Christ. He was a devoted, selfless, and kind Friar; this we know for certain. As the 80th anniversary of his death approaches this year, the Friars of the Atonement remember his persistence in his personal walk with Christ and his pursuit of unity in the Body of Christ. 

Fr. Paul’s leadership ability relied on his ability to surrender, to listen more than he spoke, and to keep his heart pure of the love of money. While the world commends a cunning attitude and aggressive ambition, Fr. Paul was a gentle leader who fixed his eyes on the Holy Trinity and the Blessed Mother. He saw the unity in the Holy Trinity, as well as the Communion of Saints, as signs of what earthly unity should resemble. 

Not only did Fr. Paul unite disciples of Jesus from various Christian traditions, he also united the active and contemplative approaches to faith. He spent hours in quiet solitude and prayer. Yet, he also made his service to others a prayer. Those who find themselves serving others, whether that work is paid or takes place in the home, can learn so much from Fr. Paul’s example. Contemplative prayer strengthens the spirit and gives a Christian confidence in God. That Christian is then able to let go of their earthly concerns or “cares of the flesh,” and be a light to those living in darkness. 

In the eulogy of Fr. Paul, Fr. Ignatius Smith, OP, said this:

“He was almost prophetic in his vision of the future. It is difficult not to believe that he received special enlightenment from the Holy Ghost in most of his projects. They proved to be loaded with the wisdom of another world while the wise of this thought them foolish. He had a confidence in God that could come only from a mind thoroughly illuminated by the light of an extraordinary faith. We have known that from his earliest days he was passionately devoted to the salvation of souls of [all people] and to the unity of all Christians. Out of these passions grew his love for the Church of Jesus Christ and his restless, ceaseless, soul exhausting efforts for the preservation and propagation of the faith.” 

As we approach February 8, 2020, the 80th anniversary of Fr. Paul’s death, may each of us contemplate the deep and true unity of God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit. May we recall Fr. Paul’s commitment to At-One-Ment, through the intercession of Our Lady of the Atonement, and may we consistently live out the call to honor God by serving others joyfully.

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