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Assumption Spotlights > Assumption Spotlights June 2017



Assumption Spotlights June 2017



By Janien Stantis

If you have attended a Mass presided by Fr. Paul Gins, one of Assumption’s Sunday helpers, you will have noticed his thoughtful homilies, his tendency to sing and the exuberance that reminds us that Mass is a celebration.

That spirit is in his DNA, he comes from a close family of educated extroverts. According to Fr. Paul, he, his parents and five siblings, which include a twin brother, all have the same personality. Give any of them a task and it will be achieved because they “understand organization, are well-read, driven and motivated” Traits that have served Fr. Paul well in both his early life and his career as a priest.

Born in Jersey City, his family later moved to Carteret, New Jersey where he was introduced to the Servite Order. After attending five grammar schools in three states, including a stint in Chicago, he and his twin followed their older brother into the Servite Seminary of Hillsdale, IL for high school. After graduating there he attended St. Louis University where he earned a BA in history with minors in philosophy and education.

While his brothers ended up with different callings, Fr. Paul continued in religious life and was ordained at Our Lady of Sorrows in 1975, the same month he received his Master of Divinity from the Catholic Theological Union in Hyde Park. He became and has stayed a Servite because he was both drawn to their progressive theological education and their small community allows him to get to know everyone.

Priests serve in many capacities and Fr. Paul has served in most. He was an associate pastor in several parishes before becoming pastor at Chicago’s Annunciata for six years. He also served as pastor at parishes in New Jersey, Missouri and California. He has worked with the Knights of Columbus in Illinois, Florida, Missouri, New Jersey and California. His sabbatical year was spent writing a booklet on the history of Servites in the U.S.  Fr. Paul has been a vocation director, a chaplain, a fundraiser, and in 1996 finally got the opportunity to teach at a Servite High School in Anaheim.

Fr. Paul also racked up over 350 career wins coaching boys’ and girls’ basketball on both the middle and high school levels. It was basketball that led him to what he feels was the most important work of his career. While keeping score at a tournament he started chatting with the director who invited him to become a chaplain with the Anaheim Police Department. He has the honor of having the longest background check in the history of the department due to his many moves around the country!

Wearing a uniform and badge, Fr. Paul looked like the other officers. He did ride-alongs, wore body armor and was even shot at! While he did not carry a gun himself, he did need to know how to use one in case he was in a situation where it was warranted. Among his duties as police chaplain, Fr. Paul assisted in death notifications, assisted and counseled victims and acted as a counseling resource for officers and their families. He feels he learned more about human nature and social issues as a chaplain than in all his years in a parish.

After a few other stops, in 2016 Fr. Paul came back to the parish where he was ordained. At Our Lady of Sorrows he is working on archiving and preserving documents of a historical nature to make them available to those doing research on the Servites.

While he spends much of his time reading books and databases, he is at Assumption helping us out on Tuesdays and Sundays. When you see him, stop and chat, you will be glad you did.

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By Susan Gold

Lynne and Paul were featured in Spotlights last Fall as they embarked on a major road trip in their new RV to see the California missions.  We wanted to do “on the road with Lynne & Paul” series but it didn’t work out but we wanted to share some of their wonderful photos with everyone now that they are back at Assumption.