Need some good news?
Here you go.
Father Paul is returning home.
The Rev. Paul McDonnell, former beloved pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish, Pittston, and former rector of the Oblates of St. Joseph Seminary, Laflin, will assume the position of Director of Oblates of St. Joseph Religious Residence in Laflin on July 1.
"We are no longer using the term ‘seminary' since it is not being used for that purpose any longer," McDonnell said in an email explaining his new role. He said his new role will include directing the Chapel of St. Joseph and "living in community with the Rev. Jackson Pinhero, OSJ; the Rev. Joe Sibilano, OSJ; the Rev. Alvaro DeOliveira, OSJ (returning to Brazil permanently in September); and, the Rev. Raymond Tabon, OSJ."
McDonnell said he will not be assigned to any specific parish in the area, but will make himself available for extra assistance to the parishes around the diocese.
Ordained in 1991 by the late Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo at St. Anthony's Church, Exeter, his home parish, McDonnell, 55, became administrator of St. Joseph Marello Parish, Granite Bay, California, in January 2013. He was later named first provincial superior of the USA Province of the Oblates of St. Joseph, a position he held until 2019. He has also been director of the Shrine of St. Joseph, Santa Cruz, California, from 2013. A graduate of Wyoming Area High School, McDonnell graduated from King's College in 1986 and studied in Rome, Italy, from 1986 through 1991. He speaks fluent Italian.
"I am grateful to all of the many people of Greater Pittston who have prayed and supported me since my departure in January of 2013," McDonnell said. "I never forgot their love and kindness to me over these past 7 years. Many stayed in touch with me through their joys and sorrows of life. Pittston and our many traditions and customs, as well as the people, were the subject of many of my sermons out here in California. I was always proud of my hometown and the amazing people of all faith backgrounds. ... It has been an amazing experience understanding and living the West Coast culture and getting to know the wonderful people. I am amazed by the rich Catholic culture in the Santa Cruz area, people of all ages on fire for the faith. Many of my presuppositions about California were shot down as my life and ministry intersected with the faithful of the shrine community and beyond."
McDonnell said his goal will be to "spiritually build up the ministries specific to the Oblates of St. Joseph Congregation by utilizing the facility in Laflin for conferences, retreats and possibly consider other future needs or development such as hospice, senior living, etc."
McDonnell plans to drive across the country, arriving in Pittston by July 1.
"I look upon everyone in Greater Pittston as my extended family," McDonnell said. "It's great to come home."