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A Living Faith

Rev. Paul Novak, OSM

MDiv ’95

Head of School,
De la Salle Institute

Very early on in his ministry as a Catholic priest, Father Paul Novak knew he wanted to be involved in education. “I was attracted to high school education because I felt those were very formative years for a young person. To be able to help them on their journey of spirituality, and help them to understand the gift that Christ brings to a person’s life, would be satisfying for me and hopefully for them, as well.”


Father Novak, a priest of the Servites, one of the founding orders at Catholic Theological Union, finds that the kind of teaching and learning he saw modeled on a daily basis as a student at CTU continues to inspire him in his work at De La Salle. “The way in which leadership in the school community happened at CTU was that the faculty empowered us to take ownership of our education, as well as, our worship together. I think that that role modeling and example took root in all of us and has helped us to empower others.”


CTU, with its robust commitment to dialogue, was an ideal preparation for leading such a diverse school. “I am so proud of my alma mater in terms of our ability to bring together Jew and Christian and Muslim, and to enter into that dialogue together. In the world in which we live, it is so vastly important for us to continue the dialog of conversation and understanding, and of being able to enter into the perspectives of each other.”


Father Novak has worked at De La Salle Institute in one capacity or another, since 1994, and in that time has had the privilege to witness a great variety of transformational life-moments from students and alumni of the school. “Sister Simone Campbell says when you touch the pain of the world, a living faith blossoms. She is absolutely right [that] when you touch that, what you are touching is the life of God and the faith of God in others. You are helping them through, as we say, ‘The dark night of the soul,’ into the understanding of God’s love and compassion for those who are struggling. Now, in my work and education, and in the city in which we live, many of our students are struggling with the loss of loved ones because of violence. To be supportive to them and walk with them, and to carry the journey with them, through their grieving, and to show them that there is continued life and faith and hope—that is our mission and our ministry in the world.”

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