Letter from Father Brian

05-01-2020Letters From Fr. BrianRev. Brian F. Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Mary Parish,

I remember the great Polio Epidemic of the mid-nineteen fifties. My memory is that of a little boy who really did not understand a lot about it. As I recall we were delayed from returning to school in September and ended up spending a few more weeks at my Grandmother’s house in Scituate. We also learned new and important rules about hygiene. We were told never to use anyone else’s used silverware, never drink from some else’s glass or cup or never eat from their plate. We also were told never drink from a public water (“bub-lah”). We all remember some of the young people who contracted polio and had to use iron lungs for a long time.

I also remember the discovery of the Salk Vaccine which everyone was given a few years later, I think. Although I was a child, like every young person I was scared because we really did not know what all of this meant. This global pandemic has certainly changed things much more radically than the Polio Epidemic. Clearly adults are much more scared in various ways than were my parents’ generation back then.  I do remember, however, always going to church to Mass each Sunday. We always said our prayers and then moved on with our daily lives.

This time, this greater pandemic does not allow us to go to Mass and say our personal prayers to God in church. The patterns that provided comfort and security back then are not around now. However, we now have so many more spiritual supports available to us from TV, the Internet, our Mobile Devices, especially our smart phones. We can still surround ourselves and our loved ones with enriching, comforting and supporting spiritual Masses, Services, Prayer Moments and Religious Reflection. We are blessed that this whole new world exists for us to keep us “walking by faith” each day. The Catholic TV.org has been outstanding in presenting Masses and Services for all of us. I encourage you to enrich and support your faith life with catholictv.org.

How all of our church life at Saint Mary’s will begin again is unknown by everyone. There are lots of questions: What will be the “rules”, how people will respond, how we will start again, what will we keep, what will have to modify or change and how will Religious Education for the young happen and also what if Religious Education must use remote learning?  All these questions and so many more unknown ones are yet to be answered.  I have great faith over time that our particular questions will surface and we will discover the best answer for our Parish. I ask that you keep in prayer our Parish and its continuing Mission.  We are dedicated to Mary, Mother of God. Her intercession will be powerful for us. We are now in the month of May, which we dedicate to the Blessed Mother. Saint Rocco, our special Patron, who was a healer in the times of the Great Pandemic Plague of the Middle Ages will also intercede for us.

Our Saint Vincent de Paul is most appreciative of your generosity to them for their caring for the struggling and frail. Many parishioners have brought necessary items to the wooden side door of the church building at the top of the driveway and also have mailed in financial donations to the Rectory. I am personally most grateful to all who have thoughtfully sent financial support to our Parish via on-line giving (found at stmarysfranklin.org) or mailed in or dropped through the Rectory mail slot. Your kind caring for our Parish when there is so much to be worried about is impressive and I am most appreciative.

Keeping faith, saying our prayers, helping others and also reaching out in kindness to others are the ways we follow Christ these days in our wonderful community of Franklin and Saint Mary.