Good News and Bad News

06-17-2021Letters From Fr. BrianRev. Brian F. Manning

Dear Parishioners and friends of Saint Mary Parish,

Some weeks it is a delight to write a letter to all of you because the letter’s content is all good news. Unfortunately this week I have two disappointing stories to tell you about in our Town and Parish. I also have good news too, but I must begin with the bad news. We are all now well aware of the anti-Semitic graffiti which was drawn in the boys’ bathroom in our Town high school.  I applaud our Superintendent, the Principal and the School Administration, the Educators and Staff of our high school who have taken a loud and public stand against this act. Anti-Semitism is learned behavior and is an evil. It usually starts small and grows and grows. That is why it is best to strongly condemn this act right now. The student(s) who were involved in this and all of the other students of our school now have an opportunity to learn about bias, ignorance and prejudice. Perhaps even the adult community can reflect upon these issues in our lives and the example we offer our young people in our daily lives. Our Town community seeks to be a good and safe community and in many ways this goal is achieved. There is, however, always the work that must be done to keep our community a wonderful and welcoming town which means bias, prejudice and hate must be rooted out when they are small and start to show in our Town and lives.

Last Thursday afternoon, approximately 8 days ago, someone(s) broke into our school building in the late afternoon and vandalized the inside. Tens of thousands of dollars of damage was done by the intruders(s). Clearly this marks a sad event for our Parish and also our Town. The vandalism was malicious in nature. Our Police Department has responded and is now investigating all of this. Clearly the malicious nature and the extent of damage make this a serious crime. Because of some of the vandalism and damage, our Fire Department also responded; the fire alarms were triggered by some of the vandalism.  We are blessed to have such dedicated and caring emergency personnel in Police and Fire Departments. I thank them on behalf of all of us for their special help.

To the good news of our Parish and Town life: Last weekend we had an increase of over one hundred people at our weekend Masses. I also remind you that Cardinal Sean has announced that as of this coming weekend of June 19-20, 2021, he is lifting the dispensation from the Sunday and Holy Day Mass obligation. He says that “this obligation does not apply to those who are ill; those who have been recently exposed to COVID or any other communicable illness; those who are confined to their homes or to hospital or other facilities due to illness, infirmity, frailty or age; and those not yet vaccinated, due to age or any health consideration.” To clarify this to make it easier for people to understand and interpret: I wrote last week “We should also include those who still find it difficult to be in indoor spaces with lots of other people, some of whom are unvaccinated and unmasked and also unvaccinated and masked. Some people do not worry for themselves, but for a family member(s) at home or for their children. Anyone who has reasonably thought out if they should attend Mass and answers “no”, this person and/or family is excused from the obligation. Thoughtful decision making which leads to a negative decision excuses anyone from the Mass obligation.”  Just know: We are here to welcome you when you are able to be here.

On Sunday afternoon, June 27th from 3 PM until mid-evening, the Temple Etz Chaim of Franklin will be using our field and space behind our school building over at 201 Main Street. They are launching their Building Campaign for their new Temple building. We wish them success as they begin this sacred task of building a House of Worship. Our small gesture is offered in support to them as they begin their great task. We ask God’s grace and blessing to be with them. The contractor who will be doing major repair/replacement work on some of the roadways in our cemetery has again moved the start date until mid-July. We all know that we need the work done, but it is a bit disappointing that we need to wait another month. When it starts, we will be unable to use the cemetery for a few days so that the work can be done properly. Our Saint Vincent de Paul has been closely working with some of families and people who were displaced by the fire two or so weeks ago. They have been able to help them most effectively because of your generous support to Saint Vincent’s and the dedication of the de Paul volunteer members. Thank you and thank you to our volunteers. I also personally appreciate your constant financial support of our Parish through on-line giving (best accessed;, by mail or drop by envelopes or by in-church giving.

Last Sunday it was wonderful to hear “How Great Thou art” sung so strongly, loudly and passionately by so many people in church. Terry Kerr, our talented and dedicated Music Director and Organist, had also selected a most appropriate hymn for the Preparation Rite: “We walk by faith, not by sight”. How true that simple sentence is in our lives. We can only truly see if we look with eyes of faith.

God bless

Father Brian