By Theresa Carson
Author and psychotherapist Divine Word Father Martin Padovani received Mary’s Child Pro-Life Ministry’s 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award.
“We value his willingness to defend life and his openness and compassion in helping the wounded,” said Stephen Kenny, president of the pro-life organization that represents six parishes in the Diocese of Trenton.
A licensed marriage and family therapist in the State of New Jersey, Father Padovani authored two books, “Healing Wounded Emotions” (Twenty-Third Publications, 1987) and “Healing Wounded Relationships” (Twenty-Third Publications, 2006), that have been translated into seven languages.
“He has been very open to speak from the pulpit,” Kenny said. “He reminds us that any assault on the human person, particularly the most vulnerable, has a serious negative impact on society. He affirms the value of life at all stages.”
A sought-after speaker on relationships and parenting, Father Padovani has been a member of the Society of the Divine Word, the world’s largest Catholic missionary order, since 1952 and an ordained priest since 1960.
He graduated from Iona College in New Rochelle, N.Y., with a master’s degree in clinical psychology in 1968. That same year, Governor Richard J. Hughes appointed him to the New Jersey Divorce Law Study Commission. After reviewing the state’s divorce laws, the commission established a family law court and processes for the care of children. He has practiced individual, marriage and family counseling for 50 years.
“He has made an impact on our community,” said Michelle McMahon, a parishioner of St. Catharine and St. Margaret for 27 years. “He is so on point for what our society needs today. He stresses the significance of Jesus’ human nature—for us to be fully alive is the greatest gift to God.”
After Mass, Father Padovani often stands outside of church greeting all who wish to talk with him. He acts as a missionary to the people he encounters through the parishes and through his counseling, McMahon said.
“People will stay in line for 20 minutes to talk with him,” she said. “He knows their names and stories. He is a wonderful shepherd. I am grateful that they [Mary’s Child Pro-life Ministry] chose him.”