Next Wednesday at 11:30 in Mary Hall we will have the opportunity to thank Sr. Barbara Lavin for her years of service to St. Mary’s. Her impact has been deeply felt, and our prayers accompany our gratitude to her.
On this Thursday at 2:00pm Boston time, Benedict XVI will officially relinquish his role as Pope. It would be good for all of us to mark that moment with prayer. I would also recommend the brief online video by Fr. Bob Barron called “The Legacy of Benedict XVI.” As always, Fr. Barron is concise and clear. We should all begin even more fervently to pray to the Holy Spirit to guide the Cardinals of our Church who are entrusted with the great task of choosing the next Successor of St. Peter. Our Lenten prayer, fasting and almsgiving might be ordered towards that important petition.
On March 1, we will have our first gathering of our St. Mary’s Reads initiative. Books are still available at the Parish Center. Whether you intend to join with other parishioners to discuss the book or not, (hope you will!!) it is a good book to have close by to nourish your own life of faith. Again, the plan is to meet in Mary Hall on Friday from 7:00-8:00. Folks are also welcome to bring a “bag supper” at 6:30.
Life Teen has hosted some terrific events recently: A Valentine’s Day Dance, a day long retreat to start the February vacation, Guys’ Nite, Girls’ Nite, continued outreach to the Dedham Food Pantry, and of course, the centerpiece of LifeTeen, participation at Sunday Mass. We are grateful for all the leadership the teens receive, support from the staff, and to the teens themselves.
You may not think about it when you see the altar candles lit for Mass, or burning brightly by the tabernacle, or at baptisms or other liturgical celebrations, but we use a lot of candles in the church! A recent bill of $4000.00 reminded me of that…(this supply should get us through the summer.) Of course, the central candle and one of our most important symbols is always the Paschal, or Easter, candle. This is lit throughout the Easter Season, at every baptism and at every funeral. It symbolizes Christ our Light and His power of love over death. Just as we do for Christmas and Easter flowers, I am now reaching out to parishioners to make an offering towards our Easter Candle in remembrance of a loved one. The Easter Candle is always blessed at the Easter Vigil, this year on March 30. The candle costs about $800.00. How beautiful to know that your loved one will be remembered at every baptism, funeral and throughout Eastertide. If you are interested in being part of this new memorial opportunity, feel free to leave an offering at the Parish Office or in the collection basket with your name and the name of your loved one.
Finally, this is Commitment Weekend, when every parishioner is asked to sacrifice generously and indicate support for the With One Voice Parish Debt Campaign. Your pledge cards can be mailed to the Parish Center or placed in the collection basket. If we all do our fair part, this will be a great success and we will move forward.
The forecast as I write this is for snow on Sunday. I hope you are able to be here with us at Mass!
There was an error in last week’s bulletin. There are no receptions for the With One Voice Capital Campaign in the rectory on Thursday, Feb. 14. (Those took place lastThursday.) There will be brief, 10 minute conversations after each Mass the weekend of February 16-17 in Mary Hall to answer any questions folks might still have about the With One Voiceproject.
Ash Wednesday Mass Schedule: 7:00am, 12:10pm, 3:30pm (Liturgy of the Word), 7:00pm
I will be hosting two more With One Voice receptions at the rectory this Thursday, at 1:00 and at 7:00pm. Previous meetings have been very well received, notable for the casual and social conversation, clear questions and answers, and helpful steps for moving forward. Please RSVP, but all are welcome even at the last minute.
Sr. Barbara Lavin, O.P. has been on the staff here at St. Mary’s for over eight years as our Pastoral Care Coordinator. In that time, she has served the seniors and homebound of our parish with creativity, a flair for organization, and especially, great faith and love. Sister will be retiring at the end of this month. We look forward to honoring her at a luncheon in Mary Hall at 11:30 on Wednesday, February 27. All who have come to know her throughout these years are most welcome to attend.
With that, I am happy to announce that Mrs. Loren Micciche will begin in this role in the next few weeks. Loren is a parishioner with her husband and two children. She has been a part of Sr. Barbara’s team and comes with a heart for this work and the necessary skills to coordinate the many volunteers and events overseen by this position. We thank Sister Barbra for all her good work and we welcome Loren with gratitude and prayers.
Ash Wednesday is this Wednesday. You can see the bulletin for the schedule of Masses and services. Please take these next few days to ask God prayerfully what practices you are being invited into during this holy season. They should revolve in some way around the time-tested wisdom of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Important, also, to include all children in receiving ashes and in some form of these important practices.
St. Mary’s Reads had a good start last week, with dozens of books sold. You can still pick one up this weekend here at church or any time at the Parish Office. The first gathering for conversation about the first chapters of Tending the Mustard Seed is on March 1.
In many ways, Lent prepares us for the glory of Easter. Did you know that the peacock is an ancient symbol of the Resurrection and Eternal Life, which we remember in a special way every Sunday?! So, can you find the painting of the peacock I’ve recently installed in the Church building? It was very cheap, covers a hole in the wall, adds a splash of color to a bland space, and most importantly, raises our hearts and minds to Christ through art.
All classes on Sunday, February 10 have been cancelled. Mass schedule remains the same.
Saturday 3pm Confessions & 4pm Mass are still HAPPENING today. Saturday. Feb. 9th. Please exercise good judgement in attending or not. The Archdiocese of Boston has told the faithful that you are not obliged to attend if unsafe to travel. Sunday Masses will also happen as usual, however, there is no religious education classes on Sunday.
Join your fellow parishioners, Fr. Kelly, and Fr. Sullivan in reading and discussing Tending the Mustard Seed: Living the Faith in Today’s World. In the book, Fr. Dennis Billy shares his faith journey, including his experience of faith while he has battled leukemia over the past three years. He addresses questions of faith and reason, how faith integrates with prayer, how faith relates to suffering and to healing, and how faith looks in a community. You can check out the book descriptions, read the endorsements from Cardinal Dolan and Donna Osuto, and read a preview here:
WHAT YOU DO:
1. Buy the book for $10 from the parish (books available after Masses Feb 2/3 and Feb 9/10 & in parish office)
2. Read the book (2 chapters per meeting).
3. Come to Mary Hall to discuss the book
@ 6:30pm if you want to bring your dinner and eat with friends
@ 7:00pm – 8:00pm for book discussion
Friday, March 1
Friday, April 12
Friday, June 21
Friday, September 6
WHAT YOU GET:
1. Hear what the author and others think about questions like this:
• What does it mean to be intimately and personally called by God to faith?
• Where does faith come from?
• What does faith mean when you are speechless in the face of suffering?
2. The opportunity to share your own faith with the community at St. Mary’s
3. Tools for ‘tending the mustard seed’ of your faith!
FOR MORE INFO: email@example.com
Or, call the parish office: (781) 326-0550
By now, you all should have received invitations to the receptions in the rectory at which I will present the details of the “With One Voice” Campaign to all parishioners, and answer any questions you might have. Be sure to RSVP, and again, one suggestion is to plan ahead with a few folks to come together. The times are varied to meet all schedules. If you didn’t receive an invitation in the mail, my apologies, but please pick one up at the Parish Center. It’s important that you come.
Next, as part of the parish’s participation in the universal Year of Faith being celebrated around the world, we have an exciting idea. It is called “St. Mary’s Reads.” The whole parish will be reading one book together! On the weekends of February 2nd-3rd and 9th -10th, the book Tending the Mustard Seed by Fr. Dennis Billy will be on sale after all the Masses. (It will also be available in the Parish Center at any time.) Every parishioner is encouraged to purchase this just released, very clear and straightforward book which helps us to look more deeply at our friendship with Christ through the lens of our faith. We are grateful to the publisher for a generous discount to assist our project, so the book is a flat and easy $10.00. Then, on four different nights spread throughout the year, we’ll gather in Mary Hall to discuss certain chapters as a group and also at smaller table discussions. You can bring a brown bag supper at 6:30pm and the conversation will go from 7:00-8:00. Parishioner Julie James will be the moderator. (Dates are on Fridays: March 1, April 12, June 21 and September 6.) Read a book, grow in faith, and spend time with your friends, old and new. What could be better!!
Believe it or not, the Holy Season of Lent begins in just a few short weeks (Ash Wednesday is February 13.) More to come about schedules and offerings. Please read through the whole bulletin to see what else is happening and how you might grow in faith by being more and more a part of parish life.
Deepen your belief during this Year of Faith with “Why Catholic – Journey through the Catechism”
This Lent, explore important beliefs of the Catholic faith. Small groups meet weekly for 90 minutes during a 6 week period starting the week of February 11 to read, reflect on Scripture, and share their faith with others. Sign-up Weekend is January 19-20. New and previous participants need to fill out a sign-up card. For information, please email Sandra Graham – firstname.lastname@example.org or call 781-329-7652.
SIGN-UP HERE FOR WHY CATHOLIC
Today the Christmas season concludes with the Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord. I pray it was a good Christmas for you!
I will be speaking at all the Masses this weekend to announce formally our “With One Voice” Debt Reduction Campaign. We have already begun the ground level phase, and now we will be taking it to the entire parish. You’ll be hearing more by mail, on the website, and in the bulletin. Please keep up with this important initiative, and do whatever you can to respond when you are contacted. And above all, pray!
Last week’s Epiphany party was a great success. Thanks to Anthony Brown for the music, and to our bakers and Social Committee for all the work. Looks like a new tradition is at St. Mary’s.
Also last week, we instituted four new altar servers for the parish. We are grateful to them and their families and to Kathy Kent for overseeing this ministry.
Many have seen the new movie “Les Misèrables.” It’s a great story with wonderful Catholic themes. Some of the early scenes are for more mature audiences and the length of the movie and its “sung through” style might take some getting used to, but it’s a good movie that celebrates the virtues of faith, integrity, sacrifice, forgiveness and love.
God bless, Fr. Kelly