Heart speaks to Heart

06-27-2021Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

The section of the Bible in the Old Testament called the "Wisdom Literature" actually offers a lot of wisdom and insights for us who live today. Just because much of what is written in the Wisdom Books is from well over two millennia ago, it does not mean it lacks meaning and power for us now. We often dismiss our scripture as dusty and irrelevant and look to the scripture of other religions that are as old as our Judeo-Christian tradition. I often think we do this because these writings appear to be exotic and distant, and anything that is different and from far away often appeals more to many folk.


Coming Home

06-24-2021Letters From Fr. BrianRev. Brian F. Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Mary Parish,

Each week people are returning to their church “home” here at the Church of Saint Mary’s. People’s hearts are filled with great joy as they cross the threshold of our church to our sacred space. I know some enter with anxiety and some fear, but the feelings which fill most people when they enter are joyous. For many, they have missed their sacred place where they speak with their God and ask him for His grace and help. Church is a home where you bare your heart to our God. We can pray elsewhere, we all know that. But it is truly special to be in a sacred place where you know your God ever dwells and who waits for us to come and speak with Him. Home is where the heart is and certainly God’s heart is here in our sacred church space of Saint Mary’s. We bring our hearts to the Lord and He listens to our words and gives us the grace, strength, hope, courage or peace which we need to live our daily lives. The Celebration of the Eucharist, the Holy Mass provides us with the spiritual food of Holy Communion to go forth to live our life each day. All of us have missed in various and profound ways our Catholic Tradition and distinctive hallmark of Sunday Mass at Saint Mary’s. Live-Stream Masses provide some connection and have meaning, but to be present at Mass is far deeper and profound. Much like events which are “live” and in person, Mass has its greatest power and meaning when we are there in person.


Safe with Jesus

06-20-2021Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

When we listen to the various passages of the Book of Job, we hear the suffering Job calling out to God. Our Old Testament reading this weekend is the first response of God to Job's calling out to Him. The irony of the situation for Job is that God's reply is not what Job had expected or hoped for. God, instead, hits Job with a very long list of unanswerable questions. Job, in asking for God to speak to him, never expected what he got when God spoke. He wanted clear direct answers from God that explained everything; instead, God gave Job a battery of unanswerable queries. Job got more than he bargained for; he wanted solutions from God. Job, instead, got confusing "mystery" and learned the very great truth that God's ways are not Job's or often even any of our ways.


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.


God is in Charge

06-13-2021Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

One of the best ways to get people to pay attention to you is to tell them a fascinating and intriguing story. A wonderful story captures the imagination and always contains more than what the story tells. We should realize that the stories of today's scripture at Mass demand our attention and reveal much to us, even though the stories retain some mystery or secrets about God.


A Warm Welcome

06-10-2021Letters From Fr. BrianRev. Brian F. Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Mary’s,

Father Frank moved in last week and celebrated the 4 PM Mass on Saturday. It was a touching “homecoming” to Saint Mary’s for him. I appreciate the many folks who changed their weekend plans to come to the 4 PM Mass to say a personal “welcome” to him.


Reinstatement of Sunday Mass Obligation


Brothers and Sisters,

“Without the Lord’s day, we cannot live!” His Holiness, Pope Benedict, in his homily at the Cathedral of Saint Stephen in Vienna on September 9, 2007, quoted the Abitinian Martyrs, who during the persecution of Emperor Diocletian were arrested for celebrating Sunday Mass. The martyrs responded to the magistrate: “Sine dominico non possumus!” – without the Lord’s day, we cannot live! The Pope went on to say: “For these Christians, the Sunday Eucharist was not a commandment, but an inner necessity. Without him who sustains our lives, life itself is empty. To do without or to betray this focus would deprive life of its very foundation, would take away its inner dignity and beauty.”


We Are the Body of Christ

06-06-2021Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

One of the best human activities we have is to gather as a family and even with friends around a table and have a wonderful meal. Sometimes it can be very fussy food and other times simple and tasty. The meal is really about sharing our connection to one another. Oftentimes this sharing actually involves certain rituals. Who are the cook(s) for special food? Who has set the table? Who serves? Do we wait for everyone to be seated? Who says grace? How does discus­sion take place? Who is in charge of the joy and laughter? Who is to re-tell the most important stories of family and friends that tell us who we really are? And, most importantly, who cleans up with washing the dishes and also the pots and pans and tidies up the kitchen and dining room? So this great symbolism of Jesus being the spiritual food for us and the preparation and ritual that go along with it are indeed most significant. This Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ re­minds us our spiritual food has great and profound meaning. This ritual meal of the Mass touch­es our inner being consciously and unconsciously.


Family is Most Important

06-03-2021Letters From Fr. BrianRev. Brian F. Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Mary’s,

Last weekend we launched the Celebration of our Sunday Mass under the new Protocols of the State and the Archdiocese. It was heartwarming to see some more folks in church who had not been able to attend for well over one year. Our attendance was slightly over 400 people at the three Masses.  I know over the next nine months or so each week more of our faithful church going Parishioners will be attending Mass. Please come when you are ready. Know we are here when you arrive! Our summer schedule is: Saturday 4 PM and Sunday 7:30 AM & 10:30 AM.