“Lead With Love”

John Palter had been a lifelong Catholic when he met Kathy — a Methodist since birth. Working together in the same Dallas law firm, the two young attorneys began dating and fell in love.

“John introduced me to the Catholic faith,” Kathy says. “He brought me to Holy Trinity, a Vincentian parish that’s been around since 1905 near downtown Dallas. It has a vibrant, multicultural, diverse community. Their motto is, ‘All Are Welcome.’ It is very Vincentian.”

As the couple looked ahead to marriage, Kathy went through RCIA to enter the Catholic Church. “I was confirmed at the Easter Vigil in 1990. John and I were married in 1992 by Father Dan Borlik (C.M.), who remains a close friend to this day.”

The couple never left Holy Trinity. Their two children attended the parish faith formation program and received all their sacraments. John and Kathy served in numerous ministries, deepening their ties with the Church and the Congregation of the Mission.

“Every Vincentian priest I’ve ever met has inspired me in some way,” Kathy says. “Their approach that I’ve witnessed again and again is to lead with love.”

Among examples Kathy cites — a phone call from Father Dan not long after the couple was married. “He said, ‘I’d like to come over and cook dinner for you two.’ It struck me as a lovely, magical thing, for a pastor to do!”

Another example came during a homily of Father Milton Ryan (C.M.). “He spoke about not shying away from difficult situations and people, but rather to lean into them with great love and respect. That’s what I feel the Vincentians do so well.”

In April of 2022, Kathy was called to Presbyterian Hospital, where she learned devastating news of her husband’s sudden passing. “I texted both Father Milton and Father Mike (Walsh, C.M.), who came immediately,” Kathy recalls. “Father Milton began making calls and arrangements for meals for our family. Their kindness was an amazing, beautiful tribute to John. We had committed our heart and soul to the Holy Trinity community, and the whole parish reached right back to wrap their arms around us.”

Over the years, the Palters’ Christian values and their love for the Vincentian fathers overflowed in financial generosity to the Congregation.

“If you can’t help someone personally, or only have a modest amount to contribute, you can throw up your hands or turn away. Or you can give to those who know how to multiply the effect of whatever you are willing to offer. John and I saw the immense reach of the Vincentians locally and around the world. We knew our gifts wouldn’t be spent on wasteful things.”

Since John’s passing, Kathy and her children continue to feel the love of the Vincentians. “A loved one’s death changes your entire life, so to have a home at Holy Trinity means so much. We are the luckiest parish in Dallas to have the Vincentians with us.”

In 2008, John and Kathy Palter were granted affiliate status with the Vincentians for their exemplary, longstanding service and generosity to the Western Province of the Congregation of the Mission. Affiliates are recognized for their close partnership with the spirit and ministry of the community’s clerical members.