San Antonio's new auxiliary has a specialty in spiritual direction

by Elise Harris

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Opening Mass for the synod of bishops on the family Oct. 8, 2015. Credit: Mazue/catholicnews.org.uk.

On Monday, the Vatican announced that Msgr. Michael J. Boulette, founder of an organization dedicated entirely to giving spiritual direction and training spiritual directors, will now be an Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese of San Antonio.

Headed by Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, the Archdiocese of San Antonio hasn’t had an auxiliary bishop since 2013 when their previous auxiliary, Oscar Cantu, was named Bishop of Las Cruces.

Bishop-elect Boulette, 66, a member of the clergy of San Antonio, is the founder and director of the “Saint Peter upon the Water” center for spiritual direction and formation.

He launched the center in 2004 as place offering formation programs for priests who give spiritual direction, as well as opportunities for individuals to receive spiritual direction themselves. The center also publishes texts on spiritual topics and hosts speakers for parish retreats and missions.

Born June 4, 1950, in Hudson Falls, New York, Boulette and his family moved to Fredericksburg, Texas nine years later.

After getting his bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Saint Mary University in 1971, he went on to get his masters in the subject from Trinity University in San Antonio a year later.

In 1972, he began his ecclesiastical studies at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, finishing in 1975. Boulette then pursued a Doctorate of Ministry from the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, which he obtained in 1993.

The bishop-elect was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of San Antonio March 19, 1976, after which he carried out several assignments, including parochial vicar of St. James Parish in Gonzales and St. Ann Parish in San Antonio.

In 1983, he was named Director of Spiritual Formation at San Antonio’s Assumption Seminary, a role he would hold for nine years, until he re-entered parish life in 1992, serving as a parish priest until 2004.

Boulette went on to serve as parochial administrator of Notre Dame Parish in Kerrville from 2010-2016.

Other roles he maintains include “Vicar Forane,” meaning regional vicar, of San Antonio’s Fredericksburg Deanery since 1994; a member of the diocese’s College of Consultors since 1997; Chairman of San Antonio’s Council of Priests since 2009; and his role as founder and director of the Saint Peter upon the Water center since 2004.

He was given the title “Monsignor” in 2005, and speaks Spanish in addition to his native English.

Details regarding the new bishop-elect’s ordination have yet to be announced.

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