Happy Thanksgiving!

11-20-2020Letter from Fr. BrianRev. Brian F. Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Mary’s,

Last week’s letter was only a few sentences, so this week is a little bit longer with all sorts of good news and information!

This very Sunday, November 22 at 7 in the evening, the Interfaith Council of Franklin will be hosting our Annual Thanksgiving Service via ZOOM. I invite you to participate in this beautiful service of giving thanks for the many blessings and gifts that are in our lives. To be sure this is a different way for us this year to mark this moment of gratitude in our lives, but it can be a prayerful and enriching moment for us in our faith journey. Lest we forget, we need to pause and remember. As people of faith, we walk in the light of our God. So we need to see the grace, light and beauty which surround us. I am including in this email the Zoom link for you to make it as easy as possible for you to join in, pray and reflect with other members of our Parish and Town Community:

Franklin Interfaith Council - Annual Thanksgiving Service - Sun, Nov 22 at  7:00pm https://us02web.zoom.us/j/5085285348

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Jesus, the Way to Eternal Life

11-18-2020Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian

Our Feast day today of Christ our King, which ends the Church year for us, is meant to bring our attention and focus back to Jesus Christ. Throughout the year as we retell the story of Jesus Christ in the scriptures at Mass, we may at times drift off to other matters of faith. This Sunday is to put an exclamation point after the word “Jesus” for us so that we may remember who we are and whom we follow.

Our Catholic Tradition is very old and is richly filled with many customs and pieties which can at times lead people away from the centrality of our faith in the Triune God who is Father, Son, and Spirit with the Son as our Savior and Redeemer. Too often we can at times allow ourselves to get involved with exotica or “shiny things or vestments” and get distracted from the basics of our faith. We have a purpose, meaning, and power because of the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Folks often prefer to get distracted from the essentials of our faith because it is actually easier. Some folks like to get caught up in the theoretical but not real scholas-tic theology, the Tridentine Ritual, private revelation, or even with some object that may look like a possible image of Jesus or Mary (of whom we have no actual pictures and do not know what either looked like). It appears that people like distractions because it takes away their responsibility for what matters in faith. We now end the church year by putting into perspective what we are supposed to be about. We are Christians in the Roman Catholic Way of Life. We are followers of Jesus Christ.

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The Gift of Faith

11-15-2020Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian

Our church often adopts processes, dynamics, and terms from the business world to help us understand, improve, and maintain our various combination functions. We are advised at meetings that our talks, homilies, written articles, letters, bulletin pieces, and social media pages should always be “on message” and “on task”. I often say that when giving a homily, it should take off, then fly purposely and directly and then come into land at its destination. Too often bishops, priests, deacons, vowed religious, and laypeople wander around in their sermons, homilies, or talks without clear purpose or message and also never seem to end the main thought of their talk; it just simply never lands until it crashes. Homilies, talks, speeches, etc. should con-tribute greatly to our faith development. We need our public speakers to be people who have a vision and understanding of our faith and are willing to share it clearly and directly with us. Too often homilies and talks are just loaded up with everything but the sacristy sink! Too much is in fact usually too much. Often the less said is more said well.

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God wants to be found

11-08-2020Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian

Advertisers often try to engage our attention by using words like “quick”, “fast”, “convenient”, “prepared”, “saves time”, or similar words. We are encouraged to buy many things so that we have more “free time” to pursue what interests us to be our “better self”, which usually means less than what it says. We are to use all sorts of products to give us all the time necessary for ourselves. Things are to help us be a better person. How we are better usually has to do with looks or physique or something similar. It does not have to do with our inner qualities. Rarely does all this “new time” have to do with the meaning or purpose of our life.

The reading from Wisdom; our first reading, is the most recent of all the Old Testament Books. It was composed in Egypt, not Israel, about a half-century before the birth of Jesus Christ; it is the “newest” Old Testament book. It was written in Alexandria, Egypt somewhere between 50 and 30 B.C. The author is a Jewish scholar and philosopher who writes from the perspective of his minority faith to a majority of Greek culture in a nonJewish country. In this book the author makes Wisdom to be a personified attribute of God. He tells his readers and listeners that Lady Wisdom that is the object of concern for the seeker is readily available. He clearly says that the person who loves, seeks, and watches for Wisdom will find her right nearby. Bear in mind this “Wisdom” is actually God because God is not hidden or elusive or even deceptive or tricky. Wisdom— that is, God— wants to be found; God in the image of Wisdom is open to the seeker.

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Noon Sunday Mass beginning in Advent

11-06-2020Letter from Fr. BrianRev. Brian F. Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Mary’s,

Most of us are still reeling from the snow storm and the bitter cold from this past week or so. It is supposed to get warm again, if 60 is really warm. We now have felt the first snap of winter. We can get lulled into complacency very easily by the mildness of the Fall weather. This is also true regarding the necessary precautions of the COVID Pandemic. Do not be fooled by deniers, naysayers or lulled into letting down your health standards because of the length of this emergency. With the winter upon us, we New Englanders who are made of sterner stuff will do fine. We need to use our sterner stuff during this Pandemic Emergency.

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Hope and Goodness

11-01-2020Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian

This weekend our Sunday Mass pivots to a very important feast, the Feast of all Saints. Liturgists in our church tradition who plan out the vision and priorities of how our Church calendar of worship will be on Sundays always have a very hard time deviating from the strict values that a Sunday is a Sunday and a feast day basically is always less than Sunday, the great Feast of the Resurrection. I am very glad that occasionally common sense breaks through this rigid vision and we do celebrate certain marvelous feasts on Sunday. For us this year this feast day is a graced reminder of how wonderful our God cares for us through this Pandemic. This feast day is a day of hope, light, and grace among us, not only in times past but right now today, and also in the future. Our Church leaders choose to share with us a vision of the inner heart of people and their daily lives. Indeed we know that it is impossible to name all the official saints of our Church for in just the last thirty years alone, the list is beyond the limits of our knowledge.

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