Father Paul Marshall, S.M. was born at the right time – the right time for a black man in the Catholic Church to pursue his priestly vocation. As a baby boomer, he came of age during the civil rights movement and Vatican II. These two factors uniquely positioned him to pursue his passion for freedom and faith in the black community. From childhood his vocation was evident to family and friends. His sister, Iris Marshall Brown, recalls among Father Marshall’s favorite things to do was to play Mass. Even though Paul was one of the youngest of the siblings (there were six children born to Isaiah and Donia Marshall), he always was the priest when they played Mass. The family’s fine table linens served as his altar cloth and vestments on many occasions in the Marshall household much to the chagrin of his mother who taught home economics. While Paul may have faced some scolding for rumpling the linens, he received even more loving support and encouragement as he determined early in life that what he played at he would one day be – a priest.


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