In His Greatness He Tells Us How to Live Our Daily Lives

10-31-2021Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

Most of us have experienced at least one painful or scary time in our lives. This can be the sudden and tragic death of a spouse, perhaps even the loss of a child. A scary moment can be the loss of a sole income for a family. At these times we never really know what to say. In fact there is very little we can do for the suffering person, but we do know that we have to be there, after all that is what friends do. Friends are people you can turn to in times of need.


November is Right Around the Corner

10-27-2021Letters From Fr. BrianRev. Brian F. Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Mary’s,

November begins this week and we tend to begin preparing for the great Feast of Thanksgiving these coming days. For many of us it is the issuing of invitations, the planning of menu’s and the decorating of our homes. We also usually have some thoughts and feelings inside of us of remembering those who are no longer with us and have gone to the other side of life.


Faith Comes Before Seeing

10-24-2021Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

The prophecy of Jeremiah found in the first reading was selected because it provides an initial insight into our Gospel passage. Clearly God's compassion, described in the first reading prepares us to learn about the compassion of Jesus for the blind, desperate Bartimaeus.

From the first reading we realize that people who are bound and captured and also exiled in a strange land always pay close attention to their captors and oppressors. They can sense the slightest nuance of change, and now in this passage they can sense change. They know that their captors are now threatened by others and are becoming weaker. The once powerful Assyrians are losing their power as the Babylonians and Medes begin to overwhelm them. The Assyrians seem to be concluding that these exiled Jewish captives are not worth the time and effort and so they should send these foreigners back home.


A Quick Update

10-20-2021Letters From Fr. BrianRev. Brian F. Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Mary Parish,

I have been away for the last few days and will be away one week more. I was participating in a family wedding in Raleigh NC and  then will be away for a few more days. So, this week there is no letter. I did write a Pastoral Reflection for you. Hopefully the letter resumes next week end!

My Best,

Father Brian

Service to Others Given From a Loving Heart

10-17-2021Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

If you reflect upon the first and second reading at Mass this weekend, you may conclude that the readings balance each other and offer us some kind of equilibrium and strength for us to continue in our journey as disciples of the Lord. Most people find the first few words of the first reading absolutely shocking as Isai­ah writes: "The Lord was pleased to crush him in infirmity." How can this please God? How can people being crushed please God? How are we to understand this? Most people conclude that God seems to allow the suffering of the innocent to go on and on, with no intervention or relief.


Grand Annual and News

10-15-2021Letters From Fr. BrianRev. Brian F. Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Mary’s,

Unfortunately, this past weekend our Live-Stream software was not working correctly, and Masses were not Live-Streamed. All of this is above the heads of 99% per cent or more of us and we must wait for the ‘tech’ to come and fix it. I am disappointed that we were unable to share the Holy Mass with some of you this past weekend. Sometimes there is nothing I can do, especially when it has to do with tech equipment. All of us are now well experienced in waiting for assistance from people whether it is on-line, on the phone or even in-person. Hopefully it will all be working this weekend.


Try and Do Our Best

10-10-2021Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

Our Gospel passage this weekend is about Jesus and the Young Man. One should notice that the young man has self-confidence and is also generous in spirit, and in addition, is vibrant in his approach to life. Jesus obviously saw the young man and wanted to speak with him. We realize, of course, that the young man's request was quite a legitimate question to ask Jesus. Perhaps the young fellow was a little out of line by the salutation of "Good Master" for Jesus certainly corrected that. He reminds the young man that God alone is good, and thus in a sense any good we do is because of God. Yet we must hear the entire story for everything to fit together properly.


Stepping Along to Autumn

10-08-2021Letters From Fr. BrianRev. Brian F. Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Mary Parish,

We all have stepped along to mid-October and the Autumn Season. It does not take too long for the days of summer to fade from our memories as we push closer to the cold winter time. The great holiday of Thanksgiving is not really that far away. Our family starting its plans for that weekend in late August and we have stepped it up a notch or two since October 1st.  Just a reminder: the Sunday before Thanksgiving Day our parish will host the Franklin Interfaith Council’s Interfaith Thanksgiving Service. It will also be Livestreamed via our website. More details to follow in a few more weeks. Just “save the date” for that Sunday evening at this point! I enjoyed the Town’s Harvest festival last weekend. The weather certainly allowed it to flourish and be a wonderful opportunity for everyone to wander and see all that was to be offered. The Harvest Festival Leadership and Committee are to be commended for their extraordinary service to all of us.


Sacrament of Matrimony

10-03-2021Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

A bishop, priest, deacon, or lay preacher who is preaching this weekend can certainly stand tall on the preaching box and rant about marriage in this present age and in these times. It is easy to focus a talk on pre-marital sex, divorce or same sex marriage instead of attempting to lift up marriage and encourage people to see the beauty and wonder of marriage. Religious preachers can be quite lazy and often go about bashing and beating people up and do not put thought and effort about lifting up the Word of God and his gifts to us. We all know it is easier to throw around nasty names and criticize without understanding anything than it is to think decently and thoughtfully about something that is important. Oftentimes this bashing and destroying is a substitute for what it is really going on. Certainly, the Gospel tells us this in plain and clear terms.


Reengaging in Community Life

10-01-2021Letters From Fr. BrianRev. Brian F. Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Mary Parish,

During these past few weeks our Parishioners have been engaged in the re-start of our community life. Our most dedicated Saint Vincent de Paul held its Annual Walk for the Poor and it was most successful. Over 100 young people from our Town joined in the Walk. I was very impressed to see that your young people understand the issue of food scarcity and neediness and that they responded in person to walk. Our Catholic Women’s Club which is celebrating its 100th Year held its Annual Opening Mass and Social. Father Jack, this Mass’s customary priest celebrated this special Opening Mass.


God's Voice Comes Forth

09-26-2021Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

From reading the scriptures of the Old Testament we certainly find Moses a surprising person and leader in many ways. We know that he did not want the role that Yahweh gave him. He also required help from Aaron to manage everything. Yahweh also gave Moses 70 Elders who could prophesize and then it was discovered there were two more. Moses was quite happy about these extra Elders. He saw all these peoples as special gifts from God. Some of the Jews were mad that there were these two, but not Moses. Jesus also had the same issue in the Gospel passage we hear today at Mass. There were some people who did not know Jesus personally who worked miracles in His name. Jesus was much like Moses in his response. If one can work miracles in His name, then you cannot be against Him. Jesus did not mind that there were people who were not His chosen few. They had caught the power of the Holy Spirit and were acting for God.


Fall Functions

09-24-2021Letters From Fr. BrianRev. Brian F. Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Mary’s,

Last weekend the sun and weather was at New England’s early Autumn best. The beautiful mellow and warm days certainly helped to perk up everyone’s spirits. Slogging our way through the Pandemic is exhausting and a patch of inspirational weather certainly helps. At the end of each day we are closer to the end of it all, but that end is still a good bit of distance in front of us. We can only face each day and lean into it. It is easier each day if you face life with a positive attitude and a little humor. We cannot really change much at all, but we can change ourselves and make it easier for our self. It is true one can choose to  be miserable or happy with the same circumstances. I choose being happy and suggest that you also make the same choice. I know that daily life is not easy for most of us, but we do have that choice. I think faith also helps us make a choice for the positive and better. Trust in God helps lift our spirit.  Saints did not spread gloom, negativity or misery. Our finest saints spread both joy and hope.


Live His Way of Life

09-19-2021Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

We often talk about "success" in our country. If you listen to some talking heads on the continuous news channels, it appears that success is usually tied up with wealth and money. In fact, on these programs only the rich are quoted or cited most often. This week's scriptures, in particular the Gospel are about what Jesus believed "success" to be.

Our first reading, which is from the Book of Wisdom, focuses our minds on the idea of the trials that "just one" must endure. The people in this story deeply resent this person who dares point out their mistakes. They ask out loud if the "just one" could stand for God and against threats of condemnation and death. Many people through the centuries have interpreted this passage as a prediction of the Passion of Our Lord, which Jesus himself tells us about in the Gospel of today. This is the second time that Jesus has predicted His Passion.


Welcoming the Newly Confirmed

09-17-2021Letters From Fr. BrianRev. Brian F. Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Mary Parish,

Last weekend Bishop Robert Reed, our Regional Bishop was here to confirm the Sacrament of Confirmation upon approximately 180 young people of our Parish. Let us pray that the Holy Spirit sustains and empowers them to live our Catholic Way of Life. In this most confusing time, our faith is ever more important for all of us. It gives us direction, purpose and stability. Hopefully the young people’s parents will recognize this larger reality and help them by their example to live our faith by attending the Holy Mass and living charity and understanding each day. Young people learn best by example and may their parents be the very best of models for them.


Care For Our Brothers and Sisters

09-12-2021Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

This weekend at our Masses, the theme of each of the three readings is all about good discipleship. Our first reading, a passage from the Prophet Isaiah addresses the theme of the "Suffering Servant". We know to interpret the servant as Israel because the pain caused in the servant is a direct result of his faith. He is insulted because of his faith but note that he never wavers or steps back. His life was just because he set his face against these bad people with a face "like flint."

In our second reading the writer James continues the theme of discipleship. He writes that it is not enough to state our beliefs and faith, we must do more. Good intentions and talking are never enough. If people find their neighbors hungry and without enough clothing, it is not enough to wish them well, but we need to act on our wishes for them. Saint James always wants us to pray, but sometimes he knows that prayers alone are not enough. We must act on our own prayers or else God's work will not be done.


Noon Mass

09-09-2021Letters From Fr. BrianRev. Brian F. Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. Mary's,

This weekend, we launch the NOON time Sunday Mass. Even though our numbers do not support this, I think it is best to put it in place. Of course, this is the weekend where it is necessary to block off Main Street beside our Town Common for the Cultural Festival so that everything is even more complicated! But that is life. This weekend going forward our Saturday/Sunday Masses will now include the second reading and the recitation of our Creed. We will also have the bulletin available for you at the tables at the front lobby of the church for you to take home. The same information is also available on our website (


By our Baptism Call

09-05-2021Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

In this week's Old Testament passage, the prophet Isaiah announces that the present mood of melancholy in Israel will turn to its opposite. He uses images to make this absolutely clear for the blind will see, the deaf will hear, the one who cannot move will win foot races, the one who is without words will be full of words—songs even. The very land itself will come alive: sands will be watered, deserts will flower. This is quite the prophetic statement by Isaiah.


Fall Function

09-01-2021Letters From Fr. BrianRev. Brian F. Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Mary Parish,

We have now stepped into the month of September and in some limited ways we have started the Fall cycle of life. Schools have opened, after school and weekend sports have started, signups for evening enrichment programs for adults and the wondering about “where has the summer gone?” have all begun.