Father Paul Dumais
The "Time Out" feature will provide St. Joe's
followers with an opportunity to learn more about our athletes and
other individuals involved with athletics.
This week we will feature Saint Joseph's College Chaplain Father Paul Dumais, who is in his second year on the Saint Joseph's College campus.
Contributing writer Pat DeCola '09 conducted the following interview:
Pat DeCola: So, Father Paul, explain your long and winding path to Saint Joseph's.
Father Paul: Well I was ordained as a priest in 2004 and was sent to work at a group of parishes in the Waterville area for three years. The college has a contract with the Diocese of Portland, so after my time up north, Bishop Richard Malone assigned me here with an invitation from the president of the college. I never imagined it was even a possibility for me to be on a college campus. I actually almost fell out of my chair when I learned about my position, but I'm very grateful to be here.
PD: How about your sports
background? You seem to enjoy sports greatly since you're so
involved on campus.
FP: Yes, I do. Some of my happiest sports memories were back when I played little league baseball. I played baseball, soccer, ran track, and wrestled in high school. I actually started on the varsity soccer team as a freshman. I also started a pretty cool student cheering section at the basketball games called "The Zoo." We all painted our faces and even coordinated with the cheerleaders. I didn't play any varsity sports in college, but I played intramurals, which were very serious among the students. Then when I was in Waterville I entered two Catholic teams into an all-Protestant softball league. Let's just say it led to some healthy competition!
PD: Does the Catholic Church consider it a miracle that the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004? I know I do!
FP: (Laughs) It's under consideration. I'm a huge Sox fan. I was in Boston in 2003 when we lost. I remember my classmates the next day were mournfully silent. I still remember when I was 9 years old, I went to Fenway Park. The game was rained out but I managed to get Jim Rice's autograph, so that made it worth it.
PD: Which is your favorite sport on campus?
FP: I think I'm going to plead the fifth on that one. Wait, I'll just give the political answer in the spirit of the election. I cheer for excellence among all student athletes. There, that works.
PD: So tell me about this Outdoor Club you're advising.
FP: We've actually named ourselves "The Frassati Society" after the blessed Pier Giorgio Frasatti. This semester we're just focusing more on day hikes. We'd like to broaden this next semester though. We were thinking about maybe indoor rock climbing, midnight skiing, ice fishing, or really just whatever people want to do. The members of the club have all taken a pact to do charity work every day. It's intended to set students up for success.
PD: Our school mascot is the Monks. So, do you have any urge to don the brown robes, grow out a blue beard, and lead the cheers at the basketball games?
FP: Yes, I have wanted to ask Fr. John Tokaz, the former school chaplain, if I could borrow an old brown habit that he's not using anymore and a pair of sandals so I could get out there but I would still need a blue beard.
PD: What's the overall message you'd like to spread to Saint Joseph's athletes?
FP: Basically that sports are connected to life because sports can be a school for growth in virtue, leading toward excellence in friendship as well as faith.
PD: Do you have any specific goals that you're trying to accomplish during your time here at Saint Joseph's?
FP: Well when I arrived on campus, I sensed a strong athletic presence. I began thinking of ways that I could be supportive of this, so I spoke with Athletic Director Brian Curtin and thought long and hard about what I could do. Last year I asked two groups of students to participate in a pilot project to discuss sports and life. This summer I spent time spelling it out in more specific and practical terms. Now, Campus Ministry has a partnership with the Athletic Department and we developed the Cross Training program.
The purpose of the program is to connect sports and life for Saint Joseph's College student-athletes pursuing excellence in athletics, friendship and faith. Its slogan is to Compete to Win! Fight the Good Fight! and to Keep the Faith! I met with some coaches to discuss this program, and currently I'm working with Men's Basketball Coach Sanicola to organize the first basketball retreat. The program has a blog at SJCCROSSTRAINING.BLOGSPOT.COM. I'm really trying to describe to the students the way I approach athletics and the attitude I bring in support of the athletes.
PD: Is there a reason why there are the same number of stitches on a baseball (108) as there are beads on a rosary?
FP: I was not aware of this, but I presume that God knew and maybe there is some deep meaning to discover in this apparent coincidence.