Father Constanza will succeed Father Andrews, who served at St. John XXIII in Diocese of Knoxville
The Paulist Fathers have announced the election of Father René Constanza as the next president of the missionary society of Catholic priests. In June, he will succeed Paulist Father Eric Andrews, who is completing his second four-year term as president.
Father Constanza has served since 2018 as rector of the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Grand Rapids, Mich., as well as superior of the Paulist Fathers in that city. He also is director of the Catholic Information Center in Grand Rapids, a position he has held since 2016.
“I am deeply humbled and honored by the overwhelming support I have received from my Paulist brothers. Despite the challenging and exciting task ahead, I feel a pervading sense of peace knowing that the Holy Spirit is the one in charge of our community and its mission. It also is comforting to continue trusting in God, who has always placed wonderful and talented people around me in every leadership role I have had,” Father Constanza said in a message to his parishioners in Grand Rapids.
A native of Belize, Father Constanza is the son of Silvino Constanza Sr. and Dionicia Constanza Tillett.
He earned his undergraduate degree at Spalding University in Louisville, Ky., where he studied biology and secondary education. He holds a master’s degree in higher education administration from the University of Louisville, and a master of divinity degree from Catholic University of America.
Prior to joining the Paulist Fathers, he was founding principal of Bishop Martin High School in Orange Walk Town, Belize.
Father Constanza was ordained a priest on May 19, 2012. From 2012 to 2016, he was associate pastor of St. Austin Parish in Austin, Texas. Since 2018, he has been a Paulist General Council member.
Established in 1858, the Missionary Society of St. Paul the Apostle was the first society of Catholic priests founded in the United States.
Paulist Fathers serve in missions, media, campus ministries, parishes, downtown centers, the arts, and other areas spreading the Catholic faith. The society’s media ministries include:
- Paulist Press, the oldest Catholic publishing firm in the United States;
- Paulist Productions, an Emmy Award-winning creator of films and television programs;
- Busted Halo, a website and radio program on SiriusXM’s The Catholic Channel.
Paulist Fathers lead Catholic campus ministries at the University of California at Berkeley, the University of California at Los Angeles, Ohio State University, the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
In addition to Grand Rapids, the community leads parishes in New York City, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Rome, Austin, Horseshoe Bay, Texas, and at Immaculate Conception in Knoxville.