Preparing for the Resurrection

03-28-2021Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

Our church uses the image of a "journey" during the Lenten Season. We are traveling to Jerusalem for the great events of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday. During this journey we come to understand that the Passion and Death of Jesus is a necessary part of the journey and that we must share in these events in order to come to the full meaning and power of Easter Sunday and the Resurrection. We must in a significant way share in the Passion of Jesus Christ, if we are to share in His Resurrection. Although we share only in a symbolic way, it is also real and authentic for us. Our sharing requires us to go through the struggle and passion of letting go in particular of our natural narcissistic and egocentric desires, of always taking without giving, and of false pride and delusions. The great Passion of Christ calls us to become vulnerable as Jesus was vulnerable, to be actively open to being compassionate without understanding, to forgive rather than to measure and seek revenge, to advocate for unity not division and separation, and also to give ourselves over completely to live authentically.


In the Living Heart of God

03-21-2021Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

We often have “church or religion words” that we do not use in ordinary everyday life. Church leadership tends to think that everyone knows them and their meaning, but in fact specialty words are specialty words and are not normally comprehended words or concepts. For ex- ample, the church leadership thinks that every Catholic should understand the issue of Divine Presence according to scholastic medieval philosophy. People do not. Communication needs to be clear and comprehensible and oftentimes church concepts and language are not. This is very similar to the world of computers and software and in particular the people who build, run, and maintain all this arcane and distinctive machinery and computer code. The computer world speaks about concepts with a language that most people do not really understand, but the leaders in technology expect us to comprehend. Just try and use an instruction manual! Or worse: the help question on a computer screen!


Moving Forward

03-19-2021Letter from Fr. BrianRev. Brian F. Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. Mary's,

We are quickly approaching Palm Sunday and Holy Week. In fact, next Sunday is Palm Sunday. Our Schedule of Services and Masses has been planned in light of the restrictions of the Pandemic and the Archdiocesan Protocols and Rules and also the successful pattern of Parishioner attendance and involvement on Christmas and Ash Wednesday in our Parish.


God Loves Us First

03-14-2021Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

In the Catholic and Christian Churches, we write and talk about Salvation so much. We announce to people that Salvation is impossible completely to comprehend and describe. We say that Salvation is an unconditional and no strings attached gift of love from God. It is really the gift of love from our God to us who have not earned this gift. In fact, this gift actually transforms our earthly life.


A Pair of Feasts

03-12-2021Letter from Fr. BrianRev. Brian F. Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. Mary's,

Growing up in Roslindale (Boston) and attending Sacred Heart Elementary School meant that this coming week was a great week for a school student. The Feasts of Saint Patrick and Saint Joseph were both school holidays, and often the day in-between was given off. What a prize: a three-day holiday! I am not certain how my mother felt about this three day recess for us, but as students we were delighted.

I think this year with the remote and hybrid learning that most young people are experiencing for education, we as students would probably not be too happy. The prolonged isolation of young people one from another and the clear limitations of learning “by screen” would make most young people want to be in school.


Jesus: The New Dwelling of God

03-07-2021Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

In Catholic or Christian theology, we use the word “Revelation” frequently when we are thinking about or discussing God and life. This word comes from the Latin language which uses the preface “re” to reverse the meaning of the main part of the word. Instead of covering up, it means showing. God and his sacred Word are revealed to us, i.e. God and his message are shown to us.


A Different, but Still Fruitful Lent

03-05-2021Letter from Fr. BrianRev. Brian F. Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. Mary's, It is good to hear that most of our first responders and COVID face-to-face Care Givers along with many of the vulnerable folks have received their first, if not second vaccination. I know that for everyone who wants a vaccination this will take a long time for there are over 6,000,000 people in the State and also almost 36,000 in our Town of Franklin. It is also quite good that we are now starting the first week of March and better weather will soon be upon us. Winter has not ended, but the warming sunlight of Spring is not too far away. The Pandemic and all the restrictions that we have will not disappear soon, nor will life be back to “normal” any time soon, but life will be easier for we know that our weather will be getting better.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.