A picture of Representative Gerald E. Connolly
Gerald C.
Democrat VA 11

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  • In Honor of Father Paul Wynants

    by Representative Gerald E. Connolly

    Posted on 2015-12-18

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    CONNOLLY of virginia in the house of representatives Friday, December 18, 2015 Mr. CONNOLLY. Mr. Speaker, I rise to express my respect and admiration for Father Paul Wynants. Father Wynants has been a true spiritual leader, providing guidance and comfort to thousands since first being ordained 64 years ago.

    Father Paul G. Wynants was born on August 2, 1925, in Heverlee, Belgium. He entered the Missionhurst Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1944 and was ordained on July 29, 1951. He departed for his mission assignments in the United States in 1953.

    Father Wynants served as assistant pastor at Christ the King Church in Norfolk from 1954-55; professor at Maryhill Seminary in Pinesville, LA., from 1955-58; assistant pastor at St. Dominic Parish in Columbus, Ohio, from 1958-59; and assistant pastor at St. Patrick Church in Detroit, Mich., from 1959-62. In 1964, Father Wynants was appointed spiritual director and rector for the Missionhurst Seminary in Washington, DC.

    In 1975, he was assigned as director of vocations for the U.S. Province. Residing at Missionhurst in Arlington, he also served as rector there until 1981. Under his guidance, Missionhurst evolved into the Missionhurst Mission Center, where he served as coordinator until 1982.

    Father Wynants served as the Catholic chaplain at Fairfax Hospital from 1982-2005, and priest at St. Ambrose Church in Annandale, VA. During those years, Father Wynants was always available to provide for the spiritual needs of the ill and their families. Regardless of the time of day, or the treacherous weather, he would unfailingly travel to the hospital and provide comfort and support to those in grief.

    On September 12, 1991, Father Wynants proudly served as Chaplain for a day in the United States Senate. Senator Max Baucus sponsored him for this honor, and he was introduced by Senator Robert Byrd. Father Wynants never forgot this honor. Sometime later, a staff member in Senator Baucus' office became seriously ill and was recuperating at Fairfax Hospital when Father Wynants walked into her room announcing that the DCCC had sent him to check in on her. This brightened her day and she would talk about his act of kindness for long afterwards.

    In 1992, Father Wynants took up residence at Mount Tabor Community in Vienna, a house of prayer and a Christian community established in 1975 by Missionhurst Father Arthur Verstraete. With the help of Father Wynants, Mount Tabor has continued to grow with an ever-increasing number of members, retreatants, and activities.

    Sadly, Father Wynants is gravely ill. Family members have travelled to the United States from Belgium to be with him during this time.

    Mr. Speaker, I ask that my colleagues join me in a prayer for Father Wynants and his family, and in celebration of his life of dedication to his Church, his faith, his family, and our community.


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