Fr. Francesco DePuydt
Fr. Francesco DePuydt
A missionary religious community that emerged from an Eastern European Cold War lay movement is sending two priests and two sisters to serve at St. Henry Parish in Gresham.

The Family of Mary began in 1968 at the request of Pope Paul VI. Led by Bishop Paul Maria Hnilica, a Jesuit from Slovakia, the group aimed to support Catholics being persecuted under Soviet rule in Eastern Europe. Young people who joined sought a life consecrated to God and dedicated to spreading the Gospel; the Family of Mary now includes priests, brothers and sisters.

Members of the community serve in various ways, including parish work, teaching, caring for children and tending to elders. The new United States community adds to an apostolate already underway in Italy, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, the Netherlands, Kazakhstan, Russia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Uruguay.

In 1995, the Pontifical Council for the Laity raised the Family of Mary to an association of pontifical right and approved the statutes in 2004. In 2008, the Congregation for the Clergy established a linked international public clerical association of pontifical right. The name of the priestly association is Work of Jesus the High Priest. The Latin initials are OJSS.

In addition to priests and brothers, the Family of Mary community has women religious who strive for a deep life of prayer and ministry.

The training and formation period for the Apostolic Sisters in the Motherhouse in Slovakia lasts at least three years. During that time, the women seek to deepen their spirituality to gain a mature missionary perspective.

Despite the various juridical structures, the men’s and women’s communities live the same spirituality so that the Work of Jesus the High Priest and the Family of Mary form a single work. The common spirituality is shaped by love of Mary, a eucharistic-priestly spirit and fidelity to the pope.

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