A Thriving Lenten Community

02-26-2021Letter from Fr. BrianRev. Brian F. Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Mary Parish:

I was quite happy that on Ash Wednesday so many folks were able to come to the Church either to attend Mass and receive Ashes or come to the Reception of Ashes outside at mid-day. In addition, many families and households signed up to obtain ashes a head of time and have a brief and holy service at home and receive them. Our Religious Education Director sponsored and facilitated this faith activity. Many also watched the Ash Wednesday Masses on our Livestream in real time or later. We took the experience of Christmas Eve and Day Masses of how Parishioners responded and participated and used this as a model and planned Ash Wednesday. Holy Week, from Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday will also be designed and planned in light of how you all participated in the various ways which we had offered. Parish Ministry has certain had to pivot and turn in so many ways during this Pandemic. I deeply appreciate that so many of you who have been positive, helpful and understanding. The strain of the Pandemic has most people near an edge of anger and it surfaces quite often in us despite our best attempts to remain peaceful and calm.

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Heaven and Earth Meet

02-26-2021Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

Sometimes in our lives we have a critical moment when we discover or come to understand something that gives us dramatic insight or purpose in life. This moment does not happen as often as the cinema or autobiographies portray, but we do indeed at times have this flash of insight or knowledge that profoundly influences our life. The scripture of this weekend shows examples of this: Abraham on Mount Moriah and also Jesus with his disciples on Mount Tabor.

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God Is Committed to Us Forever

02-21-2021Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

Our Old Testament passage is the first reading during the Sundays of Lent and it holds a great deal of meaning for us. We do not start the reading at the very beginning of the story of Noah, but much later when all the trouble and travail have passed and the flood waters have gone back down. Indeed, the beautiful multi-colored rainbow is now showing forth across the sky for one and all to see. Earth and heaven are connected by this beautiful display of light that tells us God is with us and He is committed to us forever. What a great thought to hold in mind as we launch out and begin the great Season of Lent.

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Strive to Do More During Lent

02-19-2021Letter from Fr. BrianRev. Brian F. Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. Mary's,

Eek! Yes, I say, “Eek!” I attributed the Monday Rosary to the Saint Vincent’s Society and it should have been attributed to the Women’s Spiritual Program. My apologies.

This past Wednesday we began the sacred Season of Lent. To be sure this Lent will be different from all others, but bear in mind we are still able to have this spiritually enriching season.

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Do Not be Frozen in Fear

02-14-2021Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

Because we think our modern society is so sophisticated and advanced, when we hear the stories of various events in the early times of the Israelites or other ancient people, wetend to view them with a judgmental attitude. Certainly the great fear that the ancient Israelites possessed about leprosy and other skin diseases gives us this opportunity to feel so very superior to them.

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Parish Lenten Activites

02-12-2021Letter from Fr. BrianRev. Brian F. Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Mary Parish,

This coming Wednesday is Ash Wednesday. I find it very difficult to believe that the time since Christmas has passed so quickly. With the Pandemic as a background noise always in our daily life, there is a distortion in the passage of time for me. I guess I can say that the movement of days, hours and minutes brings me closer to my favored season of a nice hot summer. We should never wish our time away, but it is always nice to know that summer is never far away. Meanwhile, there is much for us to have and do in our lives. We are blessed that the very personal and spiritual Season of Lent is upon us.

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Stay Connected to God

02-07-2021Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

Our first reading comes from one of the most powerful and meaningful books of the Bible: the Book of Job. This book is about the story of the man who had everything, then he had nothing and all the sad happenings that went on in-between. There he is: Job sitting on a dung heap and he has to listen to speeches from his well-intentioned but nonstop talking friends. Because they cannot understand what happened, they think he should not either. Our passage for this weekend gives a plain view of life from Job. Simply put, he sees life as hard.

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The Sturdiness of Yankee Culture

02-05-2021Letter from Fr. BrianRev. Brian F. Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. Mary's,

This past week certainly was quite the week with the great snow storm that has left us with more snow at one time than we have seen in a few years. Those of us who do not really like the snow, ice, and cold really can mutter for good reason about winter weather these days.

Yet we who are New Englanders at heart, whether native-born or adoptees, know that all we have to do is keep going through the bad (weather) and the good (such as summer) will come again. The sturdiness of Yankee culture can aid us not only in bad weather, but also in the bad times of our lives.

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