By Socorro M. Manzanilla
Father Paul was our good shepherd for almost a decade. Fr. Paul ‘s vision of raising up the retreat center focused on getting to know all his parishioners, youth and greater community, as well as our Vietnamese brothers and sisters. He was open about sharing accounts of his journey from Vietnam to the United States and grateful to be a Salesian priest and devout follower of Jesus Christ. His dynamic personality, kindness, listening ear, and open outward approach accented his understanding and ability to address community needs.
He was extremely resourceful and knew how to tap and guide people’s strengths while solving the needs of others.
Led by Fr. Paul, parishioners,
retreatants, youth, the homeless, all were welcomed at St. Josephs’ and felt the sense of family as their personal needs were met. He knew most, if not all by name. I will miss his texts letting me know what was happening at St. Joseph’s or in the community.
Father was a visionary.
The following are just a few ways that his ideas were manifested:
— I recall his first dinner fundraiser which yielded almost immediate funds and results to repave and paint our parking lot.
US flags were placed in the garden to commemorate our Veterans.
— Crosses honored our deceased during November for All Souls.
— Fresh flowers were continuously abundant in our Chapel and at Our Blessed Mothers Grotto.
— He expressed other projects and I sincerely hope we can accomplish some in his memory.
On a personal note, I will forever be thankful for Father helping my sister when she asked for confession prior to her surgery after being diagnosed with breast cancer and prayers for my recovery after surviving a heart attack. During the Covid pandemic, he was open to going to Resurrection Cemetery to bless my friend’s aunt prior to her burial. He agreed to house Net Missionaries who delivered a Confirmation retreat at St. Anthony.
I am very blessed and thankful to God for having Father Paul in my life and having been a part of Father Paul’s flock at St. Joseph’s.
Rest in peace Father.