ANEL, Paul

Fr. Paul AnelFr. Paul Anel is curator of First Things Gallery.

A native of France, (b. 1978) he grad­u­ated with a degree in math­e­matics. In 1998, he joined Heart’s Home, an inter­na­tional Catholic non-profit orga­ni­za­tion founded in 1990 to foster and spread a cul­ture of com­pas­sion. 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.