Father Richard E. Paulissen, MM

Born: January 1, 1932
Ordained: June 8, 1963
Died: January 19, 2024

Father Richard E. Paulissen died on January 19, 2024 in the Assisted Living Unit at Maryknoll, New York.  He was 92 years old and a Maryknoll priest for 60 years.

Richard Edward Paulissen was born in Austin, Texas on New Year’s Day, 1932, to Walter and Gertrude Loges Paulissen. He was one of six children. He attended Newman Grammar School and graduated from St. Edwards University High School in Austin, Texas. Richard first heard of Maryknoll during his sophomore year at St. Edwards when a Maryknoll priest gave a vocation lecture. After high school, he worked as a salesman for a baker in Austin before joining the Army in March 1951. He served in the Army for two years and was honorably discharged with the rank of Corporal in the spring of 1953. His desire to become a Maryknoll missioner increased while he was in the Army, and his Army Chaplain arranged for him to meet a couple of Maryknoll priests while in Korea.

Richard entered Maryknoll at the Venard Junior Seminary in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania on September 8, 1953. In September 1954, he transferred to Maryknoll College in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy in June 1958. On June 8, 1963 Father Paulissen was ordained a priest at Maryknoll, New York, having at that time received both B.D. and M.R.E degrees.

After ordination, Father Paulissen was assigned to the Korea Region. He attended language school and was assigned first as Curate and then as Administrator in Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Pusan, before serving as an Assistant at the Cathedral in Inchon.

In July 1969, Father Paulissen was assigned to the United States Region and the Houston Development House. After serving in this capacity for three years, he worked in the Diocese of Galveston-Houston (Texas) as Director of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. In 1972 Father Paulissen founded The Catholic Charismatic Center in Houston and served as its Director until his retirement in 1999. In November 2000, Father Paulissen joined the Retirement Community (now known as the Senior Missioner Community) with residence in Houston, Texas, where he said Mass on Sundays in parishes and visited prisons during the week. In 2021, Father Paulissen left Houston and took up residence at the Maryknoll Society Center.

Father Paulissen often reflected that he had wanted to be a priest ever since he was nine years old and was joyful that he became a Maryknoll missioner. He said that, “Proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus is the only mission we have and sharing Jesus with all that we meet is the mission.”

Father Paulissen is survived by his nieces, nephews, and many great nieces and nephews. He was pre-deceased by his four brothers, Walter, John, Robert and Theodore, and his sister, Pauline.

Wake services were held on Thursday, January 25, 2024 at the Holy Spirit Chapel and the Queen of Apostles Chapel at the Maryknoll Society Center. Mass of Christian Burial followed at 11:00 a.m. and was concelebrated in the Queen of Apostles Chapel. Father Michael Kirwen was the Celebrant and Father John Gorski was homilist. Father James Najmowski read the biography and Father David Pfeiffer read the Oath. Burial followed in the Maryknoll Society Cemetery with Father James Lynch presiding at the graveside prayers.