A native of France, father Paul Anel (b. 1978) graduated with a degree in mathematics before joining Heart’s Home in 1998. As a full-time volunteer, he lived for two years in a favela near Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, reaching out to the poorest of the poor in the spirit of friendship and compassion that charaterizes Heart’s Home.
Profoundly changed by this experience, he decided to make a lifelong commitment to Heart’s Home, and started studying for the priesthood. He got a degree in philosophy from the IPC (Paris) while managing Heart’s Home in Colombia for four years. In 2005, he moved to Rome, where he got a bachelor in theology from the Pontifical University Angelicum. During that period, he became the editor of Heart’s Home’s quarterly magazine, for which he also wrote many art-related essays.
In 2008 he moved to New York City in order to collaborate on the foundation of the International Center for a Culture of Compassion, in upstate New York. Based in Brooklyn, Father Paul leads an extensive and successful outreach program to the artist community, organizing studio and gallery visits, art discussions, and film screenings. This led him to numerous collaborations with such notables as Sagrada Familia’s sculptor Etsuro Sotoo, Vanguard Documentary founder Charles Hobson, jazz pianist Marjorie Eliot, acclaimed klezmer virtuoso David Krakauer, and painter Sean Scully.
He was ordained a deacon in Brooklyn in 2009, and a priest in Toulon, France, in June 2010. As an expression of his commitment to the artists, he celebrated his first Mass in the Matisse Chapel, in Southern France, and a year later, on the first anniversary of his ordination, in the Rothko Chapel, in Houston, TX.