Last Weekly Letter as Pastor of St. Mary Parish

05-28-2023Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Mary Parish,

This is my last weekly letter as the Pastor of Saint Mary Parish. I retire on May 31st, this coming Wednesday. Certainly I am looking forward to the next chapter of my life, but I do feel sadness at leaving this wonderful Parish and Parishioners. I will be retiring to my family home in Falmouth, MA.


Happy 7th Sunday of Easter

05-21-2023Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian Manning

In listening to or reading this weekend’s Gospel, we hear of Jesus’ promises of the Spirit. This passage is a continuation of the lengthy Last Supper “speech” which we have been reading these past few Sundays. Scripture scholars suggest that John composed this long discourse by selecting various words of Jesus from other times. The author John did this so we would know that these words of Jesus are very important, and we should ponder the meaning of His wisdom. Note how these words all have a clearer meaning for us because we hear and read them after His Death and Resurrection; this was not the case for the apostles and disciples. His followers needed time to come to understand. It is interesting that John did not write everything down which Jesus did and said because there would not be enough books in the world to contain what could be written.


Happy 6th Sunday of Easter

05-14-2023Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian Manning

We read and hear in this weekend’s Gospel, that Jesus promises the Spirit. John is the only gospel writer who records this very long talk at the Last Supper. Learned scripture scholars theorizes that when John assembled his Gospel, he chose to set these words of Jesus at the Last Supper. This particular position of his words accents strongly their importance and invites us to pay close attention. The words of Jesus become clearer after his death and resurrection. We also need to remember that John goes out of his way to remind us that at the end of his Gospel, he comments that if he were to write down everything Jesus did, there wouldn’t be enough books in the world to contain what could be written. We have more than enough of the Lord’s words recorded in this Gospel.


5th Sunday of Easter

05-07-2023Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian Manning

When I back out of the driveway at the Church, I always get to see the house which was constructed only a few years ago in my view. I often think of all the time and many steps it took to build the house. There were many, many trade and craft people involved, besides the necessary plans and permits. The General Contractor had to be licensed and this “GC” had to employ many licensed sub-contractors, such as electricians and plumbers for the construction. The “GC” has to be a good leader and also knowledgeable and experienced in the construction trades. The “GC” has to start with the first steps and work on the project until it is completed and the owner has a Certificate of Occupancy.


Jesus as the Good Shepherd

04-30-2023Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian Manning

Anti-Semitism often arises from the misuse of scripture and today’s passage in which Saint Peter informed the people before him that they had crucified Jesus has been used by such haters. Peter was trying to motivate the people to come to the waters of baptism and repent from any of their wrong doing ways. He was not preaching anti-Semitism nor laying the foundation for this hate for others to later adopt and use. The people responded to Peter’s invitation asking how they could make things right. They became eager to be baptized so that they could change their ways and lead a better life.


Happy Third Sunday of Easter

04-23-2023Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian Manning

Our society has become more conscious of our “throw away” or “disposable” culture. The issues of oil, gas and renewable resources for power and heat are in fact at times mind boggling. Not all the answers and solutions are easily apparent. We now are constantly reminded that our environment and health are caught up in these questions of what is environmentally positive and what is environmentally negative. We are challenged about what we have and what we use; how we use it and then how do we dispose of it. The reality is that life is more than just a blue environmental recycle bucket, but the blue recycle bucket is a necessary early step. We are challenged to purchase and use items that will last a long time, items that are made to last and not to be thrown away after a single or brief use. We are struggling to conserve how we use electricity and also gas and oil efficiently. Our scripture this weekend also is addressing the topic about things that last. We are being told about things that will ever endure though out time. 


Happy Second Sunday of Lent!

04-16-2023Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian Manning

It is essential to realize that the actions of the earliest believers were filled with joy. They had faith and thus were filled with great joy over the News of the Risen Lord Jesus. Some people who think they are being authentically Catholic and  “pious” or “holy” often have a weary, down trodden or sad face. They believe that authentic piety can only look morose and be sad and negative. They miss the obvious that there is joy in the Resurrection of Jesus. His Death did happen, but more importantly His Death led to His Resurrection. Our first reading this weekend tells us that they were filled with joy.


Happy Second Sunday of Easter!

04-12-2023Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Mary Parish,

We are blessed at Saint Mary Parish with many, many generous parishioners who give of their time, talent and treasure to make our Sacred Celebrations during Holy Week profoundly spiritual and uplifting. Our Staff worked very diligently and thoughtfully to make sure that the materials which are needed for our Masses and Services were well designed and prepared for us. Our Staff also prepared our worship space to be worthy of the sacred celebrations which we would offer this Holy Week. There are many volunteers involved such as those who prepared and decorated the sanctuary, those who prepared the sacred linens for the altar, those who led us in song, those who participated in our outstanding choir, those who assisted as Eucharistic Ministers and those who proclaimed the Word of God as Lectors etc.


Happy Easter

04-09-2023Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian Manning

With Easter Sunday Mass, we now again sing loudly “Alleluia!” We can sing it every Sunday until the earth completes its annual journey around the sun again. With Easter, we are focused on a new kind of light, the light of Christ. Though our earth spins like a top through twenty-four-hour cycles of day and night, it is our faith which proclaims that this day that the Lord has made will not end.


Happy Palm Sunday

04-03-2023Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian Manning

Palm Sunday is the beginning of the Great Week - Holy Week. We know it takes a lot of the devotion and attention and also time, the time we have to gather ourselves and to gather with others to share in the suffering of the cross and the sure triumph of the Resurrection of Jesus. This Sunday which celebrates the reading of the Passion of our Lord and also Blessing and Distribution of Palm Passion is where it all begins.


5th Sunday of Lent

03-24-2023Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian Manning

 Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Mary’s, 

Just a reminder that next weekend begins “Holy Week” with the Celebration of Palm Sunday. Palm will be blessed at the 4 PM Mass on Saturday and blessed Palm will be available at all the Masses. Extra additional blessed Palm will be available on the table in the elevator ground level lobby after all the Masses until Thursday at Noon or until all are taken. 

Time Change: Lenten Service for Ukraine: Praying for Peace (Sat, Mar 25 at 1:00pm) Note the revised start time of 1:00pm. Christ the King Ukrainian Catholic Church, 146 Forest Hills St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130. Cardinal Sean O’Malley OFM Cap. and Bishop Mark O’Connell will be in attendance for the service. Parishioners are welcome to attend. 


Fr. Brian Manning

03-17-2023Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian Manning

Saint Patrick’s Day – Friday, March 17th: Cardinal Sean has granted a Dispensation from the Lenten Fast and Abstinence on Fridays because of this feast being the Patronal Feast of the Archdiocese.

This weekend in our first scripture reading we read of the story of the journey of Samuel to Bethlehem to the house and family of Jesse. It is in this city that God informs Samuel that he should anoint the future king of Israel. Samuel met all the older sons of Jesse and concluded that they could each be sufficient to the role, but surprisingly none of them were the choice of God. God reminded Samuel that He as God, sees differently, namely that He can see into people’s hearts. Finally in the story the youngest son is summoned for Samuel, and this youngest son named David is the choice of God.


Fr. Brian's Retirement

03-10-2023Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Mary’s,

In the last week I received a letter from Cardinal Sean in which he informed me that I will be able to retire from the role of Pastor of Saint Mary’s Parish and become a Retired Senior Priest around the early part of this coming June, 2023. I am over 74 years old and during this June I am rushing even closer towards 75 years of age. I am shocked to realize at this point that I have been a priest for almost 49 years and am now one of the “old priests” of the Archdiocese. I know that endings are necessary as are beginnings. I began my priestly service at Saint Mary’s almost 14 years ago. When and where did all the time go? Certainly my heart and head are caught up in a giant jumble of feelings and emotions.


Second Sunday of Lent

03-05-2023Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

 The sacred scripture this weekend is actually about new beginnings and also transformations which start new beginnings. We can often get lost in the words of scripture because much of it does not easily scan with the modern mind, and as a result, we miss what the scripture is really about. I often think that scripture is like manuals which come with new electronics or new software programs. We know the words, and they are written in sentences, but what they really do mean is beyond us. People who write manuals are supposedly “technical writers” who are to give the reader and user a set of directions which are practical and can be followed. Yet, manuals like scripture often need someone in between to help to understand the written words. When someone starts to “decode” the first reading we learn that God had promised Abram (soon to be called Abraham) a rich heritage and numerous descendants and all he had to do for these promises was leave his home. In the Gospel, the Transfiguration is one of the most awesome changes or transformations recorded in scripture.