|Welcoming Afghan Refuges
January 4, 2022
Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. John and St. Theresa Parishes,
I write today to follow up on the recent bulletin, website and pulpit announcements you may have seen or heard informing you of our Collaborative Parishes' efforts to welcome a family or group of refugees recently arrived here in the United States from Afghanistan as our new neighbors at the former Rectory or Parish House of St. John Chrysostom Parish. The initial reactions and responses I have received to the idea of this effort have been overwhelmingly positive and I write today to personally invite you to become involved in this initiative to help a group of people who are in tremendous need at a very traumatic and trying time in their lives.
We are working with Catholic Charities of Boston and are completing the process of being certified as a POWIR (Parishes, Partners, and People Organized to Welcome Immigrants and Refugees) Site in order to “sponsor” a group or a family. The parishioners, friends and other volunteers who join us in this effort will work together to meet a range of needs faced by our new neighbors such as housing, transportation and cultural support. We will be raising funds and soliciting donations of furnishings or in-kind professional services and support to provide to these folks upon their arrival. We will work to provide a hospitable, welcoming and supportive community to receive these folks with a particular emphasis on assisting in their acclimation to our community over their first year.
A parishioner, colleague and friend of mine, Barbara Thorp, has graciously accepted my invitation to serve as Coordinator for our efforts to welcome our new neighbors. Barbara has a lifetime of professional experience as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker compassionately and competently caring for and assisting a broad range of people enduring significant trauma and trouble. We are both blessed and grateful to be able to count on her personal and professional resources in this important role as Coordinator.
Based on my review of the material provided by Catholic Charities, I estimate we will need to raise $50,000-$60,000 to fully support these Children of God over their first year among us. I am hoping that a number of you will join me in making a sincere, significant and sustained commitment of your time, talent and treasure over the coming months of 2022. Both Fr. Charlie Higgins and I are each making a monthly donation of $100 from January through December of 2022 to support our new neighbors. I respectfully invite those of you whose own financial resources allow to join me in so doing or to consider either a one-time gift or monthly commitment of whatever amount you believe you are able to afford.
During this Christmas Season we recall the Flight into Egypt of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the Holy Family. More than twenty centuries later, we have the privilege of similarly receiving, welcoming and caring for others among our sisters and brothers in dire need. If you would be interested in becoming involved in an effort to so assist, please call Barbara Thorp directly at (617) 921-3169, Carol at our Collaborative Parish Office at (617) 323-4410 or (617) 325-1300, or speak directly to Father Connolly or Father Higgins. May we come together in a prayerful and powerful way to be the welcoming face of Our Lord to these folks at this challenging time in their lives.
Asking God to bless you with the abundant Graces of the Christmas Season throughout the New Year of 2022, I am
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Reverend John J. Connolly, Pastor
Father John Carroll says Thank you!
Thank You All! My heart is filled with gratitude. Your presence, the incredible music performed by Alan and the cantors, John, Osmani, and Rena. The accolades from Kent and Tom and the citation and kind words from Paul, the people that set up. No words can express my feelings at this time. You all mean so much to me. It has been a privilege to be part of your lives. May God embrace you. Please come visit me in New Hampshire when you can, the door is always open. God’s blessing on you and your families.
Father John Carroll announces his retirement effective September 1, 2020
There are so many things that have changed due to the pandemic that we are in and we have to give ourselves the time to adjust, to figure out so many of our life choices. It has not been easy for all of us but with God's help and prayer we are getting through it and will. That being said I have some news for you that is difficult for me to say and again it's life choices
Saint John's and St Teresa's Parish will be going into a collaborative as of Sept. 1, 2020. Let me tell you what it does mean and what it doesn't so you get it from me and not from rumors. A collaborative that was designed by the Archdiocese is to make sure that a parish is financially sound and that there are priests to serve those parishes. Due to the extreme shortage of priests, that had to be addressed, and due to the pandemic, we have had to take out two loans to survive.
It also means that each parish will maintain its own identity, and the gifts that Saint John's brings will continue with outreach and being there for those who need help. There will be two different bulletins as well. Do not panic, God does take care of us and will get us through this challenging time. Saint John's will be stronger and even more vital for the communities it serves.
Fr. John Connolly will be the pastor of both parishes. I have spoken to Father John Connolly and he is excited at this new venture. He is a good man and priest and a leader who listens to the people.
The emotional side for me is that the Archdiocese offered me retirement which I will be taking as of September 1, 2020. I will be seventy-two in three weeks. It is time.
Fr John Conolly is excited at this new venture and I feel confident that I am leaving Saint John's in good hands. I have been serving the church years since I was seventeen. I lived with the Franciscan T.O.R. community for seventeen years. I left them in 1984, to come into the Archdiocese of Boston. I am so grateful for all that I was able to do in my years of ministry and service to the Church.
I had been a retreat director and teacher in the 70's, I was in parish work in Marlboro, East Boston, Woburn, Lexington, and West Roxbury. I had been a hospital chaplain at MGH and Beth Israel Medical center for thirteen years, I was trained for hospital work in Toronto where I went to school. I worked with deaf and with the Aids crises that we as a worlds and a city experienced. I have degrees and professional certificates over the years. In anything that I was able to do, I gave it my all . I always invested totally. I am sure I have made mistakes over the years, it's called being human but I leave with no regrets.
I can't put into words what it has been like for me here. I have had some great times with you, two trips to Europe, and our season bus trips. The many prayerful and religious services for the different seasons of the church and of course I just liked decorating any prayerful space over the years. There were many structural and cosmetic things done to enhance our parish. We got a parking lot, fixed the frame outside of the pastoral center, replaced windows, and painted all the rooms, and put shades in and got rid of those dated drapes. The property looks good and our air conditioning is such a gift.
Many of you served in so many capacities here at Saint John's and I am certainly blest and grateful for all of you. You have been very generous in the collections, mailing in your donation or making a donation far beyond what was expected. Thank you
Some of you were able to step up to the plate during this pandemic. You went far beyond the call of duty and in some cases some of the staff did far beyond what they were originally hired for. Thank you, Thank you Thank you.
I am planning to move to 110 E Robinhood Dr. in Exeter, NH. It is a 55+ community in a mobile park. You can actually go on the web and see my new home. Talk about emotional upheaval, well it is, but when God is with you all things are good. I never had a home, this is my first. Now I know what some of you had to go through to buy your homes. You are always invited to visit, just give a days notice, my phone remains the same, and my personal email JohnCarroll4@aol.com.
I will be celebrating my final Mass here at Saint John's in four weeks on August 30 at the 10:00 Mass in the church yard. It will be my farewell Mass and my fortieth anniversary Mass even though the actually date is November 28, 2021. You are all invited, bring your masks and folding chairs, but if you forget we have them It is a safe environment.
My blessings on you all and may God like always hold you in the palm of His hand.
Weekly Reflection by our Pastoral Associate, Mary Campion
Father John is taking a break from writing his weekly "From the Desk" column. During that time, our pastoral Associate, Mary Campion, plans to post a weekly reflection.
28 June 2020
The responsorial Psalm this Sunday is "Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord". God is good. Do you sing the goodness of the Lord in your life? This responsorial psalm is taken from Psalm 89 which may have been written about 500 years before the birth of Christ. The author praises God's goodness at a time when the community was lamenting the death of a Davidic king and had questions about where God was in the midst of the troubling events of their time. Let's remember to focus on the Goodness of God no matter what we are experiencing in our lives.
The more we know God, the more we become aware of God's goodness. Because we are created in the image and likeness of God, we can become aware of our own goodness and the goodness of others. Not only is this wise spiritual advice but focusing on the good can transform our brains at the chemical level and improve our mental health. Noticing what is good and being grateful leads to more positive emotions, stronger relationships, more empathy, greater self-esteem and greater resilience in adversity. We see the goodness of the Lord in nature, in the beautiful creatures of the earth - perhaps we are grateful to God for the pets in our homes. We call the Gospel "Good news" We are grateful for the gift of faith. God created us to be good and Jesus speaks about goodness in several places in the Bible: "Love your enemies and do good..." (Luke 6:35) Saint Paul tells us in Romans 12:9 "Hold fast to what is good". Look around you and see the good that people are doing. We can get caught up with what is shown on TV in both news and supposed entertainment that features back stabbing, criticism, hurt, division and downright nastiness. Avoid toxic input; try looking for good. During the pandemic actor John Krasinski created 8 episodes of "Some Good News" which you can see on You Tube. There is also a Facebook page SomeGoodNewsSGN Jack and I have been watching and we are uplifted by these stories of goodness, kindness and love. Some of it is silly humor. God created us with the capacity for humor and we celebrate that as well. The Archdiocese is also producing a show on You Tube called "Coffee and Donuts" about good news around the Archdiocese. You will see outdoor photos of Saint John's towards the beginning of this episode. YouTube Coffee and Donuts. Whatever goodness we see around us reflects the goodness and greatness of God who is the source of all that is good.
Action this week: Sing the goodness of the Lord! Write down daily where you notice goodness. Creating a goodness/gratitude journal can be transformative!
21 June 2020
From now until the end of the summer, I will be writing a weekly reflection. Father John will resume "From the Desk" in the Fall. This weekend is Father's Day and we celebrate all the fathers in the parish as well as remember the fathers that are now living in eternal life with our Lord. I was very fortunate to have a wonderful dad who encouraged me, made me laugh, offered wise counsel and loved me with all his heart. Being a father or acting as a father figure to others is a joyful gift. I remember when Jack became a father. The look in his eyes as he held our sons when they were babies touched me so much to see it. The love of Fathers (and mothers) can teach us what love is and give us an idea of how much God loves us. Our Heavenly Father loves us through and through. To explain this, Jesus brings up the image of the sparrow in the Gospel this Sunday. Sparrows were cheap. They could be food or they could be an offering. Those who were very poor could afford two sparrows for a penny. Jesus says God watches over even the lowly sparrow. This is to say that the Father has us all in his loving care: "Even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows." Jesus says this in the context of sending his disciples out to carry out their mission to the people. He warns them there will be suffering but reminds them not to be afraid. During the suffering that COVID19 has brought, we can be comforted with the knowledge that God loves us so much and is with us through it all. This weekend, the text for the children's liturgy says: "Today Jesus tells us to fear no one. When we are in danger, or feeling lost, or are suffering, he is with us to protect us and save us. So be confident and courageous. Go now and listen to Jesus who loves you very much." That says it so well especially now as we endure the pandemic. Listen to the song "His Eye is on the Sparrow" and let it be healing and grace. YouTube
Our Gospel action this week: Spread a little love to someone this week. Be a vehicle of God's love. Choose someone you haven't been in touch with in a while, or a neighbor, or someone who is lonely. Be the voice of encouragement and affection. Just send a card, a text, pick up the phone; whatever you can do to be a disciple of our loving Lord and make pure love present.
From the Desk of Father John
14 June 2020
Hello everyone- so good to come into your living space to talk about the up and coming feast Sunday "Corpus Christi". This has been for so many a feast of old when there were processions and decorated walkways as the Eucharist was carried through gardens to an outdoor altar to venerate. I remember as a Franciscan doing that in Loreto Pennsylvania and making sawdust symbols all in color for the paths. Wonderful time! The Eucharist is the same and Jesus is so present to us, even though the times are different. If we focus on this feast and realize that we are the Body of Christ, things would be different. We are the extensions of His ministry. His voice to speak kindness, his feet that would travel and walk and run to help others and his hands to embrace those in pain. We won't panic in this pandemic that has touched every core of our being nor would there ever be a lacking in our equality among all races, cultures, orientations or the like, for people to demonstrate. The focus is off, let the Eucharist (which means thanksgiving) open and touch your/our hearts. Jesus took bread and wine at the last Supper and said take and eat, take and drink, This is My Body. He gave us spiritual food for life's journey so that all we have to do is trust and believe.
This feast opens the doors in our Archdiocese to the Year of the Eucharist. What does that mean for us? What do you want? Times of quiet, come and sit in the church yard I can play some music for you. Come and read or recite poetry or scripture. We may even have adoration for you in the yard. We have had to adjust with all that we do here at Saint John's and so far its working. Remember as of now we are having an 8 and 10 Sunday morning in the church yard, bring your folding chairs and by all means wear your mask. If you do not have a chair or mask we will supply that to you. I am always amazed at the people walking their dogs not wearing mask, it is selfish and shows a lack of concern for others. It is not a free choice it is demanded by all. I am certainly not going to play roulette with this pandemic.
Again things I have said before, I am always available my number is our there please use it. WE are still collecting food which can be dropped off at my back door. I am so appreciative of those taking their responsibility to Saint John's seriously. Your contributions are appreciated. For those who can't give because of economic restraints I do understand. Every little bit helps immensely. If there is something you need or want to hang out in the backyard of Saint John's for a cookout or gathering with distancing, you are welcome. Lastly if you need to talk because you are feeling isolated or having a bad day I will post my phone once again. This is a long haul and summer, let's see what fall brings, in the meantime be patient and know we are as trite as that seems all in this together and Saint John's will be even stronger after this.
For the next months Mary Campion will be doing from the desk until September. It gives me a break. Watch for any announcements that come in either from the web, facebook or youtube. For those that do not have a computer, maybe your family can keep you informed. God bless you all, I truly miss seeing you and I want all of you well. For the losses in our parish we lift up all of you in prayer. By the way recently one of our faith filled dedicated woman here at Saint John's went home to God, Isolina DiCenso. I loved seeing her coming to Saint John's with her daughter Angie. I use to call her "Mamma". At 99 she is now home with the God she knew for all these years. We'll miss you but glad you are home. For all of her family we are with you in your grief. As you know Angie's husband went home shortly before the virus, so all in all this is a lot to handle. We are with you.
My cell is 617-699-5425
7 June 2020We got through our opening last week. Everyone was so cooperative. The volunteers were excellent as they welcomed people, and guided them to their seats. They made sure that everyone was physically distanced.
It was so good to see familiar faces, boy have I missed you.
I realize that we all have gone through major struggles trying to adjust to this new world that we are in.. You are doing fine and give yourself the benefit of the doubt. Trust in God is the answer but you know that already. This is where faith comes in, it is not just a nice word, it is real. Faith in God to get us out of our fear laden heads really makes a difference, trust God in all things. What the scripture tells us this week, it tells us from Corinthians, mend your ways and encourage one another and live in peace. Some of you are forced in these situations, and families might even be talking to one another. No choice in that. Married couples might be renewing their relationship and not running to do things, they might even work on their communication skills. Anyone in a relationship might find themselves actually talking to ones another and not their phone or computer unless you are isolated and use facetime or zoom. For as the reading says we encourage one another and help them where there is a need.
In that sense of encouragement I thank all of you who have been sending in your envelopes or giving on line, it has certainly helped as jour finances have been low like most of us.
The Gospel hits home as well, when it says God so loved the world that he gave us his only begotten son so that everyone who believes in him might not perish. Perfect words for the times we are in. We must believe, when we do things on our own and become self-righteous or point the figure at others without God's presence, we are heading for a downfall.
Again go to Him in your time of need. It's a simples prayer, "Lord Jesus hold me and embrace me and give me an inner peace and a sense of hope that I am not alone." God Is my strength and he will not abandon any of us even if we don't quite understand. May the good Lord bless you and may He give you what you need. Saint John's holds all of you and lifts you up in prayer.
24 May 2020Do you believe how time flies? Again, I hope you are all doing well and adjusting to our new norm. Protecting yourselves and wearing masks is imperative and it demonstrates concern for others as well. This pandemic is so real even though we can't touch or see this virus. It has been a hardship on all of you with jobs, cancelling events be it prom or graduation, even first communion and confirmation. Many of these events, including our first communion and confirmation will be rescheduled as things get better and hopefully a vaccine will be available.
Thank God for the nice weather that we have been having . It is a time to plant. It is a time to get out and feel better with the sun and vitamin D that we so need.
As you might have already learned, we are opening Saint John's on Saturday May 30 and on Sunday May 31, with our Masses at the usual times. We will also have a Mass in the hall on Saturday at 4 and in the hall on Sunday at 9:30.
The key to get ready is the physical distancing and the use of hand sanitizers. There are volunteers but we could use more. There is a meeting on Friday May 29 at 11. It will be held in the hall where there is plenty of room for us to spread out. The meeting will go over how to seat people, how they exit at the end of Mass and how they come up for communion . You must wear a mask when you come into the church . Those of you who have health issues or your immune system is compromised, please stay home and watch mass at 12:15 live stream like we have been doing right along.
There will be no offertory procession. There will be baskets at the entrances where you can put your envelopes or donations. Everyone has to leave the church together as they are designated by those who are trained and will direct keeping six feet apart. You have to go directly to your cars and not form a group outside to socialize. This all seems so strange but it is what it is. Protecting oneself at all times. If you have any concerns regarding this, please call me at 617-699-5425.
We are so excited to reopen and what a time to do it, Pentecost Sunday, when the apostles received the Holy Spirit, the first confirmation. We celebrate ourselves as church and we ask God's blessing on all of us.
The readings reach out to us. They say the following: In Acts the first reading it talks about the apostles being in one place and through a strong wind, the Holy Spirit overpowered them. The felt the strength of the Holy Spirit and could leave their place of hiding and preach to the community and be understood by all even though there was different languages. First Corinthians continues with this message of the Holy Spirit and makes us aware of all our gifts . We are one body with many parts baptized into Jesus Christ . These gifts are to be recognized.
In these times, people are helping others, by food or calling or helping in any way because of the isolation that has been apparent. The Gospel again continues with the message of Pentecost. Jesus came and stood in the midst of the apostles, and said "peace be with you, receive the Holy Spirit." This message is more what we need to hear at this time. WE need Christ's peace in this changing and fearful time. He embraces all our hurts and struggles, go to Him . He holds you in your losses and your grief, go to Him . He hears our every need and wants us to be whole again, Go to Him.
Come Holy Spirit fil the hearts of your faithful and enkindle them the fire of your love. Amen
17 May 2020
How are you all doing? This has been such a long time since we have seen each other and I truly miss you. There is talk about reopening but not too immediate because of safety of each of us. When that happens there will be strict guideline to follow but I will explain all that later. I do hope you are wearing your masks and gloves when necessary. Remember you are doing these precautions for yourself and others. There are actually people who won't wear them and are self-righteous about opening everything up disregarding safety, as if to say I have an individual right to make a choice, that is pure selfish. Don't get caught up in that negative behavior.
I not sure about you, but the readings for this Sunday like most since this pandemic have really taken on a new meaning. Lets start with the responsorial psalm which might be a little too joyous for you at this time. "Let the earth cry out to God with joy." Why this one? Psalm 66? Because we can rely on Him to give us what we need and want. We are crying and that crying will turn to joy when things change for the better, even in the grief that we may be experiencing. Trust in God and He will make all things new. This is where our faith comes in, the lived reality of a God who loves and takes care of His children. Believe that like you have never before.
The Gospel hits us hard. Love is the foundation to believing in a God who cares. In that love, it is said that the Holy Spirit will come to us and give us inner strength and peace. We need that now. Above all it says I will not leave you orphans, I will come to you. These words can be refreshing to all of us . Jesus loves us unconditionally. It is not about doing or not doing something, it is about pure caring. In these days of change and isolation, if we truly hold to God embracing us, then we will not feel totally alone, and maybe feel that inner peace we long for.
For those who are grieving, and those who have experienced loss, we are with you in prayer. For those who are struggling with addictions, there are on line meetings, plug into them. May is the month of Mary, says the rosary and reach out to St John's prayer line- we mention these petitions at our live streaming Mass on Sundays at 12:15. I have said over and over again, if you need to talk to someone ‐ call me my phone is yours, 617-699-5425. I am like 7/11 ‐ always a phone call away.
Things to do, make signs for the front of your house thanking those who are responding to this pandemic, or the front of st Johns, delivery food to my home so we can get it out to people in need. Keep up with your envelopes or make a donation to the parish, as our bills continue to come due and we cannot pass the basket during our live-stream weekly Mass.
We are also collecting for the nineteen priests who are going into the hospitals to anoint our loved ones and thereby living in quarantine. These items are listed on our website.
I am finding that there is not enough time in a day to get everything done. Making phone calls and keeping in contact with all of you. I do hope you are well. That is my prayer.
If you want to stop by my home next to church, please do I am always good for a cup of coffee in my backyard when it is a good day. Love to see ya, just give me a quick call beforehand.
Spring is in the air, which means new life is coming from the earth, that symbolism is what we long for, never get caught up in poor me mentality, because we are all in this together. God will not leave us alone. May His blessing be on all of us and our families. Amen
10 May 2020
Well here we are again the days seem to come together, not that we are bored I am sure you are getting a lot done with your children, maybe cleaning out closets, taking on projects you have been meaning to get to all of it is good mind and body wellness. Speaking of wellness, this month is awareness month for mental illness. That comes in all different categories but what it does say is that we are conscious of people who are ill and need support and proper care who are in some way mentally deprived. Sickness comes in all kinds of ways and can be defined as such. Remember God doesn't see us as sick but His children and when there is illness that hits we trust that he will get us through it no matter what. Goes with the psalm this we "Have mercy on me God, I place my trust in you." (Psalm 33).
We are still collecting food for those in need and we are also collecting items for the 19 priests on the front line who volunteered their services to hospitals to anoint our family members who are ill. Thank you for putting signs up in front of our church thanking the first responders and anyone who has reached out to people.
It's a large lawn there is still more room. Thank you again for your envelopes and donations, they have been coming in the mail or on line and some dropped off at my home next to the church. Every little bit helps. Some have been most generous. Those who haven't sent anything, please send when you are able. Anyonw who has a lawn mower, please feel free to cut the grass in front and on the side of the church. I am going to try to borrow one, funny I haven't done that sort of thing in years. I did some planting of flowers from church and Rachel was such a help. I found myself in the street after trying to dig a whole, all about loosing balance. I slowed traffic and people stopped to get me up, drama I wasn't looking for, but I'm ok.
Don't you love the reading from John? We hear it so many times at funerals. Do not lets your hearts be troubled, have faith in God and faith in me. We need to hear that even more so now, trusting God in all things and above all stay out of your heads, don't watch the news constantly, and don't get wrapped up in worry or useless emotion. I must admit there are times I have to fight that myself, where does the future hold for all of us? The unknown in so many ways is tough to handle.
Prayers, trust, all seem to be what I personally need. I do know God will not let us down, no matter what.
As of May 6 you must wear your mask It is not a choice or you will get a 300. fine the first time. It is not about ones individuality, it about concern for self and other human beings. I wear a mask whenever I go into a grocery store, funeral home, pharmacy, and I put gloves on too. You can never be too careful.
As you see we have a prayer line set up, to offer prayers that Mary will send me so I can bring them up at Mass without breaching anyone's confidentiality. Check our web as to anything that is happening at St John's that you can plug into and share that with someone who does not have internet. I'm glad you like the Mass at 12:15 on Sundays, a lot of great comments. I am blest to have Osmani, Marie and Kent working on this and for John Papirio who offered in being our cantor. We select a different lector each week and they are all doing well. Thank you, Jill for crowning Mary in this month of May.
Happy mother's day to you all . It might be a little hard to celebrate it this year and if you are separated, give a call, use facetime, or whatever means that you can celebrate Mom. For those like myself, who's mom is home with God bow your head in respect of all she was and is for you. She is now embraced totally by a God who loves her. We are leaving the statue up the whole month as we have dedicated ourselves to her and asking for her protection. I think that is all I have to say, I do miss you and ask God to hold each and every one of you in His Hand. Stay well my friends. Till we meet and see each other again, Blessings.
3 May 2020
The first thing I want to say, is to ask how are you all doing? This is a difficult time for all of us. It is a time to be sensitive to the needs of others and to be safe in your comings and goings. We are told to wear masks and gloves, some do and some don't. Let's not get stupid here if you are going for a walk or in a park, wear masks and gloves. If you are grocery shopping or going to your local pharmacy were gloves and masks. People are not doing this and I want to tell them what are you doing? It is their decision if they don't want to be safe or protect others even though should live by their conscience. Now it is mandatory as of May 6, for everyone two years of age and up. Thank you Governor Baker. If you don't there is a fine of $300. It can go up too. Another thing while I'm talking about safety, it is good to be informed about the virus. The news gives a recap in the morning and that's good that is what I do every morning. Don't obsess about the news, it can make you crazy. Don't watch it all the time. As far as household items or cleaning material especially those that are used to counteract bacteria, don't drink or ingest any of it. It is poison to your system.
This virus is not something that we can joke or be sarcastic about; it is deadly and has caused all kinds of health issues. Be watchful and awake as we hear so often in the scriptures.
The month of May, where does the time go? Being off schedules I am sure you at times need to ask what day it is. I look at my phone constantly. May is the month of Mary. Remember her as our protector.
With the many miracles she performed in our world. I only speak for Lourdes and Fatima, those were the ones I remember when I was growing up as a kid and having been there a year ago, was so amazing to feel and see what took place and how people today are being healed by Our Mother. We had our May crowning at the Mass on the 3rd at 12:15. If you missed it I invite you to watch the video on facebook or youTube The readings today are right on target. Especially from First Peter. "Beloved, if you are patient when you suffer for doing what is good , this is a grace before God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you. By His wounds you have been healed." By His example you should follow in His footsteps. What a great way to start the week and use as a focal point. We know that patience is a gift and at this time it is hard to get around but we can do it. The Gospel acclamation, "I am the Good Shepherd, there is nothing I shall want." That speaks to but I think the answer is different. Yes there is something I want to send this virus away and to bring healing. Well people are getting healed and things are getting better, but don't let your guard down yet. I trust God to get us out of this. We will be different after it ends and the things we thought important won't be. We will all refocus and not spend time on the trivialities. Like it says in the Gospel He will call each by name and we will answer Him, because He hears our voice which is familiar to Him. If you are not familiar with prayer, now's the time to start, its not a judgment call its letting go and letting God. If you need to talk to someone as I've said many times over call me. my cell is out there to be used.
We are collecting food for those who need it, we are making signs to thank all those in the fore front of the disease. We are collecting items for the 19 priests who volunteered to go into the hospitals and anoint our loved ones, they are isolated in different places to live. Some in abandoned rectories others at Emmanuel College. All donations or envelopes can be put on my back porch entrance. Here at Saint John's as we usually do, want to step up to the plate. There is a prayer line that Mary has formed to send in requests and that will be passed on to me in order to reach out. There are people who will be praying for those you love. It could be a family project. we are painting old tables and putting them up with messages, all across the front of our church. Anytime that's good, just let me know. Use my cell 617-699-5425. If you would like to help cutting the church yard in front just come by bring your lawn mower. Anything that requires time and yo9u need something different to do just call and stop by.
May the blessings of Jesus through His mother, Mary be with you all and May the Good Lord protect you in every way. I miss you!
Honk or wave if you see me anywhere especially in the yard.
19 & 26 April 2020
First of all I want to ask How are you all doing? The adjustment for all of us is formidable. We have to go for walks and just get out of the house if we can, but with a mask on and gloves. I am amazed at the people who are not doing that even as they o out to walk. You could get it from someone or be a carrier, there is no way of knowing, unless you have symptoms , be it headache, fever, sore throat.
It is good to be wise and protective like the virgins in scripture that were prepared for the bridegroom with enough oil for their lamps, and were wise.
I don't know about you but I find myself praying more, and trusting in God more. God is the one that can give the inner heart peace. Our faith is rooted in what God tells us in scripture and the readings in this Easter season are so powerful Acts from last Sunday talks about the apostle living a communal life where they were responsible for each other, aren't we doing that now, Food shopping for parents or elderly neighbors? Talking or skyping family members who are not living with us, letting them know we love them. Talking or waving at a window to loved ones in a nursing home because we can't visit or even calling them on the phone. Being responsible for one another takes on a whole different meaning at this time, and we do it with a sense of service and need. First Letter of Peter really sounds like what we are experiencing and need to hear.
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" another words when we get back to some normalcy we won't be the same. We will see things that are important and not our own agendas. WE will realize what we have taken for granted. It goes on to say, you may have to suffer through little trials so that the genuineness of your faith more precious than gold is perishable even though tested by fire."
"Even though you do not see him now yet believe in him,"" which also goes back to John's Gospel and Jesus appearing to his followers in that empty room, the first time and then the second when Thomas was there. The unbeliever who questioned whether Jesus came to them or not. Well He showed up again with Thomas present. "Thomas, touch my hands touch my side" What did he say?" My Lord and My God" "Blessed are those who have not seen but believe." Yes, that's us we have experienced Jesus in our prayer either home or when we were able to attend Mass. We also experienced him coming to our need in dark moments in our lives. Faith is real so if you are in moment of panic because of Covid 19, where is your trust? Trust God who will give you the peace you need and if possible help others.
This experience of isolation and change in so many ways is not over yet, so we as the St John's family need to be present to one another, live stream us for Mass at 12:15 each Sunday. You might see some familiar faces. WE are also collecting food anytime either leave it at my home next door or in front of the pastoral center. We will see that it gets to those in need you might even throw in a gift card if possible.
This Sundays readings seem to follow the same pattern acclaiming Jesus as Lord in His Resurrection and also allowing us a glimpse of hope during this Covid-19 pandemic. The responsorial comes from Psalm 16 which states, Lord you will show us the path of Life. He will and we truly know that. You know those who don't go to church or feel like a "Fallen Away Catholic," whatever that means, God is our guiding light and makes no judgments against us, that's a human thing. You are welcome wherever God is present which means everywhere. Please come to St John's we are inclusive and very accepting of all peoples, no barriers here.
As I say that we hear from the Gospel the story of Emmaus. Jesus came upon two followers walking and as they did he story unrolled to talk about the risen Christ and all that went before. Jesus chimed into that and said so much to them but they still did not know it was He.
They went into an Inn as it was written and recognized Him in the "Breaking of the Bread." That's where we come in. You are having meals with your families and no one is going to the mall or hanging out with friends, it's a forced issue, but a good one. Some people are having family meals which might be new in some homes. You are talking to one another. Most conversations are around the table
And there is a sense of support that goes one. In some cases you deliver food cooked or otherwise to those who are isolated or elderly.
It is like we recognize each other in the "Breaking of the Bread." a shared experience. You might even tune in at 12:15 and see us here at St John's bringing you the Mass into your homes. It is an honor for me and those who assist me to do that.
I want to thank all of you who are sending in your envelopes and making donations or all sorts, it really helps our parish and like all of you we are struggling. There is also on the web of St John's a way that you can donate by pushing a button, and adding an amount. Again thank you.
Well enough I said, stay well. Call me anytime. Reach out when you can. As I write it is April 21, 2020, Sister Maureen's birthday; she would have been 85 today. I stopped a minute and asked her to help us here at Saint John's amidst the COVID 19. You know she will. God bless you all and your families.
12 April 2020 - Easter Sunday
This week we have celebrated Holy Week in these three, grace filled days. We live streamed Holy Thursday and then previously recorded the stations for noon Good Friday and then 10:30 Easter Sunday Mass. Hopefully most of you were able to see all of these services. Over many weeks you were called to make sure you were ok and if you needed any help that we could address. Thanks to Marie Sullivan who got this project rolling delivering to homes these lists of names to volunteers who made the phone calls. We here at Saint John's are here for you as the sign outside our church states.
Lent, Holy Week and Easter have taken on a whole new meaning for all of us. We did not plan this to happen and I want to do all that I can to make connections with parishioners so they don't feel totally alone or isolated that is why you need to hear a voice even in your isolation, I will give you my cell phone again if you need it (617-600-5425) it's always with me don't worry about time.
The journey that has taken place that we are on is long and hard and difficult in ways we couldn't even imagine. We have become more reflective and creative with our families and ourselves. People are separated from their loved ones in nursing homes and hospitals. We have members of our parish who are giving of their time to reach out especially as nurses and doctors and first responders and we are so grateful for their dedication and the fact they are members of Saint John's. The risk factor is great and yet they are willing to give of themselves, they are living examples of Holy Thursday, washing one another's feet as Jesus did at the Last Supper. They held someone's hand when they were dying and they bowed their head in humility. when they saw people become well again and healed. The Good Friday experience seems to be so real this year and is in everyone's face, but always remember Jesus died for us so that we could live.
As painful as this time is, we do know that with every crucifixion there is a Resurrection and a sun rise to shine on us and our children and grandchildren and loved ones who we are separated from.
Easter is all about New Life and Jesus walking before us healed, renewed and changed. For us, this is what it is all about.
This Easter Sunday at noon all the churches will be ringing their bells, even our protestant brothers and sisters. We don't have church bells but we have bells and you have bells I bet at home. Come to Saint John's at noon and assemble in our parking lot remembering 6ft of distancing and ring those bells acclaiming that Jesus rose from the dead and that we will be back again whole, changed and grateful.
If you have an opportunity, it's a good time to read from the bible the messages of Holy Week from the Last supper, to the betrayal and passion, to the Empty tomb and the promise of New Life.
As we move forward I love the passage from the Gospel of John this Easter, when John looked into the tomb, it states, "He saw and he believed." This is what moving onward means to us this year. We pray, we reflect and we see. In our prayer and our trust God will get us through any anxiety or fear so that our hearts will be at peace.
My blessing is upon you and your families that God will through His Son, Jesus hold you throughout this Easter season and give you what you need and may God's peace fill your hearts.
On behalf of myself, the staff and any support team here at Saint John's. May Easter bring many graces upon you and your loved ones.
Jesus Christ has risen from the dead! Indeed He has, Alleluia! Alleluia!
1 April 2020
The first thing I want to say is, "how are you all holding up."
These are undoubtedly strange times. In following the guidelines, hopefully we will be all right. We are approaching Holy Week. Even that has taken on a different life for us. Our beautiful, traditional celebrations have ceased. The beautiful decorations that adorn our sacred space as we pray are not there. Perhaps it has taken on a more reflective tone for us all. This Sunday we recall the triumphant procession of Jesus coming to Jerusalem with the reading of the Passion. There is so much symbolism in the reading that we must stop and think. We hear of betrayal, and sharing in the breaking of the Bread at the Last Supper, a time of peace and humiliation, a time of despair and hope, a time of anxiety, pain and inner peace. All these emotions and feelings come out in the passion.
This time for all of us these feelings seem so real. Look at from where you are. Families are present to each other and schedules have changed. People are working from home if they can. The economy for some families is a true struggle. We feel that in our parish with no collections, but the bills don't stop. Help us if you can whether its on-line or dropping your envelope off at the church which is open 9-12 Monday thru Friday, thank you. Making the most of one day and how to be creative when the future is not quite in focus can make us very uneasy. Everything has closed so you see more people walking whether it's in a park or on the sidewalks. People waving to one another as they pass by. Prayer has become more of a norm in households like it has never been before. This is not a punishment but a time to regroup and look at what we see as important that we might have taken for granted. I miss seeing you, on a more personal level and when I go out walking with Angel (mini schnauzer) each day and see someone out there that I recognize it feels like a family reunion.
The week is filled with many moments of grace such as Holy Thursday where we usually have the washing of feet, when the Eucharist was given to us at the Last supper and of Course Good Friday when Jesus died for us because as humans we did not listen. Then when all is done, and the battle is over and despair or disease is gone, EasterSunday brings Christ Light to all peoples. When we return from this pandemic, it will be our Easter and new life will enter in to all of us and our homes.
Maybe people and things will change for the better, who knows?
May the blessings of this most Holy Week take care of us and be grace filled moments. May the Love of God help those who are sick and all those connected to our medical world. May we keep our brothers and sisters in nursing home in prayer along with their families. Let pray for those separated from families and loved ones. Let us pray for our homeless and the unemployed. Let us pray for the 55 families that we are sending out gift cards to because of your generosity. May the Risen Christ embrace and hold us as we go to the Christ of New Things. The one who brings Springtime into our hearts making that which is old, new; that which is hopeless, filled with hope; an those who for whatever reason feel broken, embraced and healed. God be with all of you and as the sign out front our Parish says, "Saint John's is Here for You." We truly are.
There is Mass on-line on Palm Sunday at 12:15, Holy Thursday at 12:15 , Good Friday and Easter Sunday at 12:15 go to our facebook video page for the live-stream. They will be available later on facebook or our youTube Channel
As we enter the holiest week in our liturgical year, I pray for us all to find hope in our risen Lord.
29 March 2020These days are very difficult for everyone. We need to pull together here at Saint John's.
If there is anyone that you would like me to write or call please let me know, especially if your loved one is in a nursing facility. Abandonment is not an option and we want them to know that they are important to us. As a family member and caregiver, let us know if you can reach out to you. I have said use my cell phone 24/7 it is usually with me. (617-6995425. It these days we need to reach out and not isolate. For families and parents with children at home, my heart goes out to you and if I can help please let me know, even if you want to call to vent to me for some kind of relief.
For those who are elderly and there is no family around to help you, please call me, myself or one of my volunteers can do grocery shopping or pick up medications from the pharmacy. I am never too busy for you.
What can we do with our time could be a question? Aside from cleaning, and sorting our closets or rooms where storage lies, quiet time, prayer, scripture reading, walks, letter writing, catching up with old friends are some of the ways we can occupy our time. We have as you know a live Mass on Sundays at 12:15 from Saint John's. its on facebook and the parish Website. You might even see familiar faces at the Mass.
The church here is open 9-12 Monday through Friday and I have coffee and pastries in the lobby that you can take into the church since we should not congregate (Social distancing) at this time. The church is open from 9-5 on Saturday and Sunday from 6:45 am till 1 Sunday, in case you would like to read or pray in the church. The library is also open if you are looking for reading material for you or your family.
The new Sign outside our church says it all "We are here for you."
With all being said lets look at some of the passage from Scripture this Sunday; From the old Testament and Ezekiel, The Lord said, I will put my spirit in you that you may live, and I will settle you upon your land, I have promised and I will do it, says the Lord." These are words we need to hear that the Lord is in control and will make all tings new so you may live. In this time of this horrific virus, we trust the God who loves us, and we try not to live in fear.
The reading from Roman tells us that the spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in us so that we will be given life as humans because the spirit dwells in us. God takes care of us you are not alone. WE must truly believe this and this will give us hope amidst so much uncertainly.
Then the Gospel of John gives us some reassurance, with the raising of Lazarus from the dead. His sisters were anxious and afraid and confused, because they sent word to Jesus who was a friend of the family, about Lazarus being sick and dying. Where was Jesus? He said he is only sleeping, so he and his disciples went to Bethany and Martha said to him," Lord if you had been here my brother would not have died. "This was an act of faith on her part. The raising of Lazarus is the foreshadowing of Jesus' resurrection as was the Transfiguration. He wanted in this case all to see, and in their seeing believe.
These stories of scripture are to help us focus, especially at these tough days that we are facing. They are readings of hope and not despair, readings of contentment and not fear. Trust in the Lord at all times, really rely on him to give you peace no matter where you are or what you are doing. Always pray for our health care professionals and their families at this time. WE will all get through it and in that we are not alone. The God who created us, gave us Jesus for security and hope. Let us put ourselves into his loving hands.
God you are the one who we rely on. Please be with all of us and direct us to what we need. Our hands are in YOURS. Keep our children and seniors safe and bless our nurses doctors EMTs first responders and those on the front lines. All things are possible with God we hear, embrace us with your love. Amen
19 March 2020My first reaction to writing this is to ask "how are you doing?"
I saw many of you as I was food shopping and it felt good to wave or acknowledge you. Isolation or social distancing is so difficult but necessary to be safe. I'm trying to reach out the best I can without being intrusive. If you think of anything I can do as your pastor, please call me and let me know. I would appreciate it. As you probably know the church is open from 9‐12 everyday including the weekend. There is not Mass or Communion. I wanted to do this so you can come to a place of peace to pray, read and be reflective. The office is open Monday –Friday 9-12. If you have your envelopes for the offertory, please put them in the mail or leave them at the office unless you plan on line giving. Thank you. You can also leave the flower money as well. We will have Easter at some point but not sure when; it will be the first Mass upon our return.There is also having a collection of non-perishable food to help those in need. It is slotted for those who we give at Easter but in this case it will probably be for anyone in need. You can leave any products in the kitchen or in the lobby I will have bins available for you. We are still having our book drive going to "more than Words," to help our young who are needing guidance in their life, this helps, so please feel free to drop them off in the lobby of the parish center. Again there are bins available for that. If you are trying to be creative at home, one of the things is that we have a lot that can be done at our parish. For example, one of our parishioners surprised me by planting pansies and Pusey willows in two of the large containers going into the pastoral center. Thank you for that. We can use some planting around the property. Come as a family or individual when the weather gets better anytime. There is always something to do, the hours are 9-12 that the office is open as you know so within the time frame. If it is something outside anytime is fine. If you need me at any time I am here meaning 24/7 uses my cell to call. Being alone and isolation can be very difficult but it is not something that we can't handle. It kind of empowers us to be creative. Walking, reading, being reflective, yard work, cleaning, and more are ways to keep ourselves mentally busy so we don't get ourselves in a sort of rut. If you would like to leave your name at the office in case there is a request by some of our elderly or homebound for food or errands, that would be appreciated. Just leave our name, phone and address. The readings for lent seem to be what we need to hear right now. Think about it! The reading from 1 Samuel talks about David being anointed as King and leader. It also says to us "Awake Sleeper, Arise from the dead." What does that say to us? Don't fall into negative or fearful emotions. Be careful but wise. We are God's anointed ones by Baptism that means something. We are his children. We are His Chosen ones, the Body of Christ, broken, battered but whole. The reading from Paul to the Ephesians says to us Live as Children of the Light. What does that mean to us? It has very much a significant part of who we are now. We have to look up, look towards that which is good. Stay away from things that can pull us down, like the constant news that can scare you or people who surround themselves with negative thoughts. You don't need that. We trust in God alone. The God who stays with us and hears us and gives us peace so that we may talk to Him, go to Him. Take deep breaths and allow that breathing to relax and nurture. As you breathe, say "Jesus" in and out. Feel God's love. It is a form of prayer. The Gospel is about seeing. "Lord that I may see," as the blind man beckoned Jesus. It is a one liner that is so much part of prayer, use it. Lord take fear, worry, and abandonment away. Lord that I may have relief. Lord that I may truly see and walk in hope. My blessing on you all and God's nurturing Love.
16 March 2020I wanted to touch base with everyone at this very difficult time for all of us and our families. The readings for this Sunday really align themselves with all that is happening. We hear from Exodus about the people complaining and their need for water as they go through the desert. Something like us, food shopping, getting supplies and people taking more than normal and forgetting our brothers and sisters in need. The last part of Exodus says Is the Lord in our midst or not?
Good question! Rely on God, trust in God, and go to God for peace of mind. Read scripture, take some quiet time, or make your prayer a distraction so you are doing something, either with your children or calling a friend. The church here at Saint John's is open from 9‐12 Monday through Friday, for quiet time or reading. There is no Mass or communion at this time.
There are many themes from the scriptures and the readings that relate to the blind man seeing or people being made well again through healing. There is that sense of darkness into Light. Christ is that Light.
We have never been here before and that unknown feeling is strange, yet the hardest thing to do is isolate even though we must for safety sake be aware of social distancing. Go for walks, increase reading, listen to music that is relaxing, and be creative. I think it is so important to know that you are not alone and your church is here for you. You are held in prayer and your loved ones, especially those who are in nursing facilities are remembered.
If you are in need of assistance I am leaving you my cell number to call.
I feel it is important for you to have an active live voice. There will be no meetings here at Saint John's including AA meetings. If any of you need to call for support please do so. I understand how important AA is for ones journey to recovery. My cell is 617-699-5425
May God bless all of you and as I say this I do miss you but until we connect again, May God hold you in the palm of His Hand.
Signing off for now Fr. John and Angel (my schnauzer)
15 March 2020Aren't you amazed how the readings really make us aware of things that we might have taken for granted during Lent? The themes in all the readings surround us with the themes of water and thirst.
The first readings speak of the Israelite people wandering in the desert without water trying to help their livestock. It leads to the people complaining and blaming Moses for bringing them to this area. They show a lack of faith even though they experienced God along their journey with little miracles that sustained them and gave them hope. The Gospel is apparently different when it talks of the Samaritan woman. She probably had a hard life and she was alone when she was getting her water. It can be a sign of alienation within her community. This led to her encounter with Jesus who asked her some uncomfortable questions. She responded with openness and because of this allowed the living water to enter and change her life.
Fear and doubt keep the water from refreshing us and we stay thirsty. We look at their stories as a lesson about hardness of heart and the loss of faith which makes a barrier between us and God, the water of God's love and our thirsty souls. Let us open our hearts to life-giving water. If we doubt God's love, let us pause and recall the many signs that God has placed in our lives, the greatest of which is the gift of his Son to bring us life with him forever. It is one thing to listen to God's word and let it go over our heads and it is another to listen and digest, and refresh and live it. The waters of Baptism opened us to belonging and the waters of our faith have given us rootedness in God's love and the enrichment of the Eucharist has not only refreshed us but given us spiritual food to do God's work among the work place of everyday living.
Lent is moving right along here at Saint John's. We held our third simple super and everyone enjoy it, our bible studies and Holy Land film has become inspiration for many, please come and see and we have our Cluster penance service on the 31 here at Saint John's , take advantage of this Grace filled opportunity. You will see opportunities for volunteers for delivering Easter Flowers those who are homebound and have experienced loss, along with helping with any church decorating for holy week. We will also need help with deliveries for food as we get closer to Holy Week. We are still collecting for Hams for Easter and the Catholic Appeal kick off is next week end with Tom Arsenault who is spear heading it, and speaking at all the Masses next week end.
So much happening! As we are refreshed with life giving water through the scriptures and what we heard this week end, let us feel empowered to add reflection, service and opportunities in giving to for the Lent that is our personal and communal experience. Blessings on you all!
8 March 2020
Abram is called to continue his family's journey toward the Promised Land. The second reading is a call from Paul to Timothy to take over his work with all that this entails. The Gospel is the story of the transfiguration. Each describes individuals to whom the torch is being passed.
The reading from Genesis is God's call for Abram to accept his role of leader of his family and take them forward on a journey that had stalled as his father aged. He is asked to leave a comfortable life and move in the direction prescribed by God. Isn't that what lent is about, moving beyond our comfort zone?
In the Epistle, Paul challenges Timothy to accept his calling as a leader. Paul is aging and in prison. Some of Paul's followers have begun to wonder if he is really on the right track; why would God put prison in that path? Timothy is asked to take up Paul's mantle and persevere in his mission.
The Gospel is the story you know well. It is about the Transfiguration. Jesus is seen as taking religious and cultural history one step further and with his final comment in today's Gospel, Jesus' role is to be the fulfillment of salvation history as it is known.
In the readings, God has called individuals to move forward along a path that they would not likely have chosen on their own. We can see these readings are giving us a more direct approach for each of us. Not only taking us out of our comfort zone but putting us in a new and different direction.
Please pray for our confirmation students who will be going on retreat Sunday at Miramar retreat house in Duxbury. Also pray for our young who will be making First reconciliation this month. Remember how nervous you were when you made your first confession?
Our combined Reconciliation will be soon. The area parishes join together for this. It is a nice opportunity to go to confession especially in this Lenten time.
Many things are happening here at Saint John's to put us in new directions. The stations are on Thursdays and adoration continuing on Fridays. Our third simple supper next Friday consists of cheese ravioli with marinara sauce.
There are opportunities for you to give, to help and to memorialize. The Easter flowers, the banners, the hall tables in the name of a loved one. We have two of the four living trees memorialized. We are collecting for the Easter hams once again this year. We are collecting food for the months of March and April for our food distribution here. We are collecting books to help our young who need direction.Additional upcoming events will be posted in future bulletins.
1 March 2020The blessings of Lent are upon us. We are so ready for the Lenten season here at Saint John's with bible studies, a movie reflective at the holy land, our reflection books, the schedule for lent and our rice bowls and simple suppers on Fridays.
The readings seem to surround the desert and the bareness that exists in that dry hot climate. A place where evil can exist and people are tempted. The story of Jesus and the devil and the conversation of trying to throw him off his course by temptation seem to be a great start for us during lent. What do we want to change, where is our focus, has there been something that has been harboring within us for a while. Now is the time to act upon it, whether it is fasting (giving something up) more prayer time, or sharing your talents with others.
The sign of the cross we receive on Ash Wednesday is a sign for all to see and a reminder of change and conversion within.
The sign of the cross we receive on Ash Wednesday is a sign for all to see and a reminder of change and conversion within.
The sign of the cross we receive on Ash Wednesday is a sign for all to see and a reminder of change and conversion within.
Allow me to share with you what (Pope) Saint John Paul II said in a Lenten message in 1996. "The crowds of starving people- children, women, the elderly, immigrants, refugees, the unemployed- raise to us their cry of suffering. They implore us, hoping to be heard. How can we not open our ears and our hearts and start to make available those five loaves and two fish which God has put into our hands? If each one of us contributes something. Of course, this will require sacrifices, which call for a deeper inner conversion. Certainly, it will involve changing our exaggerated consumerist behavior, combating hedonism, resisting attitudes of indifference and the tendency to disregard our personal responsibilities."We are also collecting for hams and flowers for our church and preparing names for the Easter banners.
May Lent be a time of renewal, blessings and wholeness for all of us here at Saint John's
12 July 2105
Tools for the Trade
When we find ourselves working and doing things either around the house or at work, we need the necessary "stuff" to make those things happen. If you are going to clean the floor, you need either a mop, broom, or a vacuum. When you are hanging a picture, you need some sort of gadget to put on the wall to make that happen, even a picture hook for that matter.
In today's Gospel, that is what we hear. "Taking nothing for the journey" except what you need. How do you know what to take? Well, sometimes it is common sense and other times it is a gut feeling that tells you what is needed.
As Baptized believers, we are called by adoption to express who we are and to share our gifts and talents as long as God is the source of what we do. We probably call that Prayer.
As Paul tells us God chose us from the very beginning to be holy and to be sealed with the Holy Spirit, that which gives us courage and conviction. As long as we focus on the God of unconditional love who takes us as we are with all our imperfections, we can't go wrong. The journey is ours; we are all called to ministry as the Body of Christ. We might be broken and fragmented at times but all in all we are called to be other Christs for each other.
Let the summer be a time of reflection, and wholeness. Look at God's creation, the flowering plants, the ocean, vacations home or away. Now is the time to renew ourselves and identify our call. How we can take that call with all our tools and make our world better because God has embraced us first?
5 July 2015>
What a price to pay for Freedom
Independence Day comes and goes each year and I wonder if the meaning has really changed or the focus. It was always filled with parades whether city, or neighborhoods. There was the usual cookouts/barbecues, watermelon contests, pie eating contests, three legged races and the like with family and friends and ending with fireworks celebrations. A day or week-end filled with wonderful get-togethers and lots of fun activities.
We are and were able to celebrate because women and men put themselves out there and paid the ultimate price for our freedom. This has not changed; we wave the American flag in parades and from our homes to remind us of the price. This is not living in the past as we remember; it is so present to us now. People are dying all the time for the cost of freedom. Some are the soldiers who serve and others are innocent victims of war. People have been slaughtered because they were different and those wars are not necessarily in foreign lands either; they are on our streets, and cities. Innocent people who carry hate and fear in their hearts because they don't appreciate ones orientation, race or religion. Someone is able to kill nine people in a Bible study or the terror up the street created fear. Our forefathers and foremothers of old fought for us and gave us that sense of religious freedom. Sometimes it feels we change the name of the event and the people but the same stuff is happening just a slightly different circumstance.
The readings put it so well when the book of Ezra states, "son of man I am sending you to the Israelites, rebels who have rebelled against me." Again the responsorial psalm states, "Our eyes are fixed on the Lord, pleading for his mercy." WE need mercy and only God gives that to us so that we may have life. When we hear from Corinthians, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness."
Then we come to the Gospel, a prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kind and in his own house." It ends with he was amazed at their lack of faith.
There is a lot to think about this July 4th. Sometimes it is up to us to change the course of events that respects what Freedom costs. Sometimes it is being proud that we are an American in these imperfect United States. Sometimes it is an appreciating difference in religion so we can say One nation under God Indivisible with Liberty and justice for all.
28 June 2015
The readings this week end seems to be very affirming. God formed us in his own image but when evil entered the world things changed. It was when Christ took on the image of the people he served he became poor. What does that say about us? When we reach out to others out of pure caring we take on the image of Christ in them. Look at the healing stories in the Gospel; Jairus wanting his daughter to be healed and the woman who was hemorrhaging for twelve years. What was the common thread in both? They pulled the miracle out of Jesus.
How? Just by being themselves and believing. It was the faith of Jairus a synagogue official who somehow believed the cure happened. It was the woman reaching out in faith and being healed. Has that ever happened to you? Believing and trusting in Jesus and knowing that everything is going to be alright.
I don't think we give each other enough credit. We are a community of prayer and our faith is our livelihood. We lift people up in prayer daily at Mass and write our intentions in our book in church. We do this because we know that God takes care of us and our families. We teach our young to pray and to rely on God. Faith is the one constant we have and can rely on in a world filled with so much pain. Let us be messengers to one another and those we reach out to so that the fruits of our experiences of faith can change our world where people can embrace in their differences and walk in peace.
21 June 2015
As I was writing this reflection one of the first things that came to me especially from the Responsorial psalm "They who sailed the sea in ships, trading on the deep water, These saw the works of the Lord and his wonders in the abyss." I was thinking of a book, if you want to walk on water you have to first get out of the boat, not sure if that is the title but that is the essence of real meaning. You have to get moving and take action if you want to make a difference. "The Christian way."
As the second reading tells us, whoever is in Christ is a new creation. The old things have passed away; behold new things have come. Something like all of us adjusting to each other and seeing some new things take place. I always like the calm that takes place after we see what we think is turmoil. Change can do this and as we all get older it is not always easy. "But we have always done it this way", the old familiar saying goes.
The Pharisees were like this until Jesus came on the scene. He made all things new, and they did not like it at all. He challenged their thinking and said put all things into their proper place. He lifted people up all the time and he reprimanded those who made the synagogue something other than a house of prayer.
It all comes together when Jesus says, "Quiet, be still!" and there is a calm. We have faith and that is what counts open yourself up to all kinds of possibilities as long as Jesus is the focus, Be New!
14 June 2015The readings this week-end give us encouragement as a person and as a community. "We Walk by faith, not by sight" is what we hear in Second Corinthians. Faith is the substance and rootedness of who we are in the good and the bad of everyday living. If we didn't have faith where would we be? My mother often said, "I don't know how people get by if they don't rely on their faith." We at times hear of the New Evangelization. It really isn't new; it is becoming more aware of what we have. It is about letting God in and keeping the lines of prayer going. It is taking this faith which, as you know, is a free gift, and putting it into action. It is becoming aware of God's unconditional love.
What is that saying, "good things come in small packages?" That's the mustard seed. It is so small a seed that it grows into a bush that is nurtured and cared for. When we take care of ourselves from every angle, things seem to be in alignment with the earth. We need food, clothing, medical care and shelter but if one is lacking chaos can set in. What about our spiritual journey? Do we nurture our faith? How, you say? Spiritual reading (like the lives of the saints or day to day reflections), prayer of course and by taking all of it and being kinder to those we are in contact with in the course of a day. The terrible tragedy and unrest that last week caused up the street from our church brings everything closer to home. We pray for our Muslim brothers and sisters in their time of grieving but we also now ask God to bless who they are. It makes us want to do more to bring peace into our world. Living in fear or unrest, or worry does not do that, but to be instruments of peace and Christians who are charitable to all peoples not matter what color, orientation or belief. This is the true message of the Gospel and of who we are.
From the Desk of Father John J. Connolly
31 May 2015As my time here at Saint John Chrysostom Parish comes to a close, I simply want to thank all of you for your prayers, good wishes and kindnesses to me. The year and nine months that I have served as your Administrator have been a brief but wonderful period of my priesthood. I am truly grateful for the many ways in which you have allowed me to walk with you on your journeys of faith and for all that you have shared with me that have made me both a better person and a better priest. As I look forward to my next assignment as a Parochial Vicar, beginning September 1, 2015, at the Dorchester Tri-Parishes of Blessed Mother Teresa, Holy Family and Saint Peter, I trust in God"s will and providence and assure all of you of a continued remembrance in my prayers.
2 March 2014
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, March 5th, Masses with distribution of Ashes are scheduled for 9 AM, 4 and 7 PM.
Ash Wednesday is a day of Fast and Abstinence. All Catholics over the age of 14 are obliged to abstain from meat. Catholics from age 18 through 59 are obliged to fast. One full meal is allowed. Two other meatless meals, sufficient to maintain strength are allowed. Together the two meals should not exceed the full meal. Drinking of ordinary liquids does not break the fast. Catholics from age 18 are obliged to abstain from meat on Fridays.
29 December 2013
A Blessed and Happy New Year to You & Yours:
As 2013 hastens to its conclusion, and the Year of Our Lord, 2014, quickly approaches, please be sure of the prayers and best wishes of all of us here at Saint John Chrysostom Parish that our loving God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, will continue to look upon you and all whom you hold dear with His great love and shower you with His abundant blessings throughout 2014. As the New Year begins this Wednesday when we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, we entrust our entire parish community to the powerful and maternal intercession of Our Blessed Mother.
On behalf of Sister Maureen, Deacon Brian, Father Paul, Father Charlie, myself, Father John, and all of us here at Saint John Chrysostom Parish, a Happy, Blessed and Grace-filled New Year of 2014!
22 December 2013
A Blessed and Happy Christmas to You & YoursAs Christmas approaches, please be sure of the prayers and best wishes of all of us here at Saint John Chrysostom Parish for you and all whom you hold dear. May our celebration of the Nativity of Our Lord truly be an occasion for God to shower us all with his grace as he continues to bless us with His gifts of faith, hope and love. As we once again commemorate the Birth of the Christ Child and gaze on his warm, peaceful and smiling face in the manger, may we resolve to do our best to recognize His face in our family, friends, parishioners and all whom we meet and respond to them with the same generous and selfless love that led the Babe of Bethlehem to the Cross of Calvary, so that we all might have life abundantly and eternally. On behalf of Sister Maureen, Deacon Brian, Father Paul, Father Charlie, myself, Father John, and all of us here at Saint John Chrysostom parish, may you and yours enjoy a Blessed and Happy Christmas!
Celebrate Christmas with Pope Francis Here are some things we could do to emulate Pope Francis and how he might approach the holidays:
- Volunteer in the local soup kitchen.
- Be with your loved ones.
- Have conversations about the meaning of the holidays. Talk about why you give presents.
- Talk honestly to your children about gifts and what they mean. Gifts should be a message of love.
- Try to take the time during the holidays to reflect on the end of the year and how you might try to make the next year better for yourself, and especially for others.
- Practice random acts of kindness.
- Model Pope Francis' example of humility, compassion and emphasis on those who struggle.
- It's the holidays! Don&pos;t lose your sense of wonder. Regardless of our beliefs, life on Earth is miraculous and precious. Embrace it!
The parish community would like to acknowledge and thank everyone who so generously supported our Christmas giving programs. The amount of donations was overwhelming. We were all energized by the enthusiasm that the children and families in our Religious Education program added to this year's endeavor. Thanks to the combined efforts of all, we were able to help many in need. The recipients of your generosity included several families in our parish, a Veteran's shelter, 2 Pine Street Residence houses, My Brothers Keeper, the Boston Health care for the Homeless Sock Drive, Catherine Spalding House and the Pine Street Inn. These organizations were chosen because of the close relationship our parishioners have with the above specific groups. Christmas spirit is certainly evident here at Saint John's!
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