June 20, 2019
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
This morning at 2 AM, our dear Father Paul Lehman, Pastor Emeritus of St Antoninus Church, began his final journey home to the Lord. Fr Paul lived a very full 91 years (almost), and faithfully and generously served the Lord and his people as a priest of Jesus Christ for just over 65 years.
Fr Paul was pastor of St Antoninus from 1989 to 1999, and he continued serving the parish while in residence until 2 years ago.
For many remarkable years, from 1996 to 2016, Fr Paul served as spiritual director of BLD Newark. He worked well into his late 80's ministering to young and old at retreats run by BLD. Fr Paul was also the spiritual director of Couples of Christ during the earlier time of the organization.
Fr Paul lived a holy, loving and fruitful life. We who had the privilege of knowing him and receiving the blessing of his ministry are eternally grateful for his selfless YES to the Lord and to God's people in faithful service. To know Fr Paul was to love him.
Today, on the final day of the Convocation of the Priests of the Archdiocese of Newark, Cardinal Tobin and some 400 priests offered the closing Mass for Fr Paul. How fitting that on the very day of his death, this humble and holy priest of God was prayed for at Mass by virtually all of the priests of the Archdiocese, including all four bishops.
Fr Paul was a gifted teacher and a wise spiritual director. He had been spiritual director for many priests, seminarians and lay people, including myself.
He was personally chosen by Fr Jim Ferry to be the pastor of St Antoninus to replace Fr Jim when he died. He was my pastor here when I said my first Mass at St A’s 27 years ago.
His sharp mind, his dry humor, his gentle loving presence, will be greatly missed by all who had the privilege of spending time in his company. We are sad for ourselves, but very happy for him, even as we promise to lift him up in our prayers.
Fr Paul, may you hear the words of Our Lord:
“Well done good and faithful servant, enter into your Heavenly Father’s joy.”
In Jesus thru Mary,
Eternal rest grant unto your servant, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon him!
May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen!