Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Mary Parish,
Not only does our response to the COVID Pandemic keep us closer to home, this winter weather of bitter cold, snow, and ice also motivate us to stay inside and hibernate. Later January and all of February really are the times when our homes are our sanctuary. About 60 years ago a famous Monsignor in our Archdiocese once said: “the snow always melts.” This quote can be very helpful for all of us. It can keep us going and enduring and also help us get to better times.
This Pandemic will end at some point and also the winter weather will end. We just have to power through all of these days with grace and peace of heart. This is not always easy, but certainly, it is the better way to live life. Oftentimes we cannot change the conditions of where we are at, but we can change our perspective or point of view. We can choose to be negative or choose to be positive.
Our Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) met via ZOOM this past Monday night. The major item on our Agenda was to address our 201 Main Street property (aka the old school building and grounds) which are considered our Patrimony (that is some of the significant goods of our Parish). Dr. Bernard Swain, our Consultant for this Process and discussion brought us all up to date on what we started as a discussion almost three years ago. The PPC is seeking to recommend to me as Pastor and to the Parish Financial Council (PFC) as my advisors “what is the highest and best use of 201 Main Street for the Mission and Good of Saint Mary Parish”. This is a big question. The PPC held three open Parish meetings back at the beginning and took all of the recommendations and suggestions into their long and many deliberations. They hope to give me (and the PFC) a recommendation at their March 2022 meeting. We have been moving forward slowly, but steadily through the years and shortly we will move ahead again to the next step in this entire process.
In our bulletin this weekend is an urgent request from the “Neighborhood Support Team “Team Franklin” Resettling Afghan Refugee Family” seeking basic housing. Please read the request in case you have or know of someone who would have housing available.
Our Religious Education Program had been for the last week or so only functioning as a remote program. It has now returned to the in-class enrichment sessions. I am grateful to all our parents for their cooperation and patience as we do our best to offer a program in these confusing times. We were able to offer the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance) for the First Communion Program this past week. Quietly, but steadily we are moving forward in our faith formation for our Young People.
The Adult Formation Programs have also been meeting mostly in a ZOOM mode. These programs have over 50 adults actively involved in them. The Monday Night Rosary a la ZOOM continues faithfully. You can connect via our website. I must also say that I admire the dedication of our Saint Vincent Volunteers who really are the front-line workers for us with those who are in need. Despite the COVID Pandemic they have faithfully and humbly continued their service to the needy. Our very dedicated Sacred Heart Knights of Columbus Council will be available next weekend in the lobby of our church for men to learn more about the Knights and also to join. This group of very dedicated men is always about the works of charity and service that can help make a better Parish, Town, and larger community and world. I would suggest that men of all ages consider joining.
Our Sunday Mass attendance continues to slowly, but steadily gain in numbers as people feel it is safe for them to return to Mass. Our Live-Streaming provides a wonderful substitute to so many people. All of us await the end of this period when all of us can gather in our church. I also remind you that our Catholic TV Channel on the cable systems also offers a tremendous amount of Masses, Prayer Services, Faith Formation, and Education for one and all. Bishop Reed has done an outstanding job of developing our Catholic TV for the benefit of all of us. Just a reminder: our website: stmarysfranklin.org is chock full of info and links for you. It is a portal to “everything catholic”, even including arranging intention Masses in our Parish church or checking out a schedule for Faith Formation for Young People or Adults.
I am appalled at the increasing level of anti-Semitism which is happening in our larger culture across the country. It must be absolutely scary to attend Services at a Temple and always be afraid of violence happening. All of us need to be able to gather in our holy places to pray and worship without fear. I consider the Jewish people to be quite brave and courageous who set an example for us of what witnessing to faith means. To identify as a Jew and to live that faith way of life today takes great courage and fortitude. By God’s grace and our effort, may the violence end in our society. As believers, we must actively do our best to help end this evil not only for our Jewish brethren but also for ourselves and our society.
With Mary, the Mother of God as our Parish Patroness and Saint Rocco, our Special Patron we are indeed blessed in our faith as Catholics. Know that Saint Rocco intercedes for those who are ill, especially our young people.
Father BrianBACK TO LIST