To the editor,

A few days before last Christmas I ran into Kristie Pauldine in Walmart. I’d met Kristie through her work to appeal the May 2019 decision of the Syracuse Roman Catholic Diocese to close the historic St. Mary’s Church in Oswego.

Knowing that Kristie and her husband, Jon, were the parents of five children, I assumed she was doing last minute shopping to make holiday preparations for her family.

No, she told me, while she still had a lot to do for the family, this cart was full of items for people served by St. Mary’s “Martha and Mary” program that assisted local families and individuals in need.

Wow, I thought, as Kristie continued down the grocery aisles on a mission to put others’ needs before her own, there is a young woman living her faith. There is the living, breathing profile of the Catholic church’s marketing effort to bring young people back to the church.

In the weeks and months following the May 2019 announcement that all the Catholic churches in Oswego would be closed, and the Catholic community consolidated with one worship site at the former St. Paul’s, Kristie Pauldine’s faith and determination to preserve St. Mary’s never faltered. She took on the leadership role in that effort.

I knew from viewing the St. Mary’s Facebook group that Kristie was the person who inspired and led teams of volunteers who, like her, wanted to see the church preserved. A young mother of five, with plenty already on her plate, Kristie had stepped quietly, determinedly, respectfully and whole-heartedly into the nitty-gritty of keeping St. Mary’s alive. Kristie rallied her all-volunteer troops to clean, repair, and restore the physical structure of the church. In addition, she organized a number of successful fundraisers to support this work. Her Facebook posts chronicling these efforts were consistently positive, respectful and expressed gratitude to those who followed her lead.

When Bishop Douglas Lucia announced in mid-May that St. Mary’s would remain open, those who marched with Kristie through the yearlong period of uncertainty, and who never wavered in their commitment to keep St. Mary’s alive, were finally rewarded for their efforts. Many who silently cheered them on from the sidelines rejoiced as well. It is clear, though, that St. Mary’s doors are open today because of the determined, dignified leadership of Kristie Pauldine. Whether you applaud the decision, decry the decision, or don’t care at all, hers is a lesson in leadership to be admired and emulated.

Ann Callaghan Allen

Oswego

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