People's Words and Actions

02-27-2022Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

It is striking that the overall message of the scripture this weekend is that we are asked to look beyond appearances to actions. Our first reading makes this very clear. Ben Sirach, a teacher, tells his students who are listening that the criteria for judging a person are the words he or she speaks and their actions. Someone may appear to be very sophisticated or together, but we need to hold back before we decide that person should be emulated. We simply need to pause and wait for them to speak because what they are truly worth will be shown in their expressed thoughts by their very own words.


Lent begins on March 2

02-25-2022Letters From Fr. BrianRev. Brian F. Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Mary Parish,

On Wednesday of this coming week, we will be gathering in our church to receive our ashes as we spiritually prepare ourselves during Lent for the Great Feasts of Holy Week culminating with the Feast of the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus on Easter Sunday. On Ash Wednesday Mass and the Distribution of Ashes will take place in our church at 7:00am and also 7:00pm; there will also be a Simple Distribution of Ashes at Noon in our Church. We will be approaching the sanctuary to receive ashes as a symbolic action to mark our desire to try to live a better life as a follower of Jesus Christ. The ashes on our foreheads are to mark our inner heart of repentance for our wrongdoing and our desire to live a better life in Jesus Christ.


Grow Larger in the Love and Mercy of Go

02-20-2022Pastoral Reflections

This weekend our first reading, which is from the Book of Samuel, is about David and his treatment of King Saul. David was not a friend or an admirer of King Saul. King Saul was a venal man who was angry, jealous, and also quite vengeful. He deeply resented David and wanted to destroy him. Powerful people are often paranoid about their successors. This passage tells us that David is given the rare opportunity to kill Saul and end his reign, but David does not. David's deeply held belief was that Saul as king was "the anointed of God". He did not believe he could take Saul's life which belonged in a very special way to God. The people of Israel admired David for his decision to honor God's will that Saul continues to be the king, although they knew David was risking his life. It was obvious he had a very fine sense of who God was and how he was present in people's lives.


Mask Directives Expire February 28

02-18-2022Letters From Fr. BrianRev. Brian F. Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Mary Parish,

In following the Directives of the State and of the Archdiocese, we will be changing protocols and policies for in-church attendance starting with Ash Wednesday. (FYI: the real effective date is two days before on February 28th.) In light of the Cardinal’s decisions and promulgation, our procedures going forward for this Parish for the foreseeable future are based upon advice from the Pastoral and Ministerial Staff, Health Care Experts, Eucharistic Ministers, involved Parishioners and some common sense.


In whom does your faith, hope, and love rest?

02-13-2022Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian

In this week's gospel passage, Jesus walks down from the mountain heights to a wide, open place. There is a large and mixed crowd waiting there for Him and they are most eager to see and hear Him. They, also, are in great need of healing. They perceive that they are needy, although they do not understand what it means. Their lives are "thin lives", never enough, always struggling for subsistence in a world where others have more and they have less. They are not part of the society that eats, drinks, and lives well; they struggle each day to survive.

They are sitting on that grassy area and waiting for Jesus to speak or act. When He starts to speak, He begins with a special benediction. He simply says: "Blessed are you . .." He does not say this one time, but four times. They are stunned to hear that they are in fact blessed while they feel so beaten down and hurt.

Upon reflection, we learn that there is for some in life a different and special poverty and variety of painful feelings. These feelings lie so much deeper than the deprivations these listeners experience. Those who were there on that hillside that day learn from Jesus that there is a deeper fulfillment in life for them. Their need and emptiness actually puts God's special blessing on them.

Jesus also sets forth four woes or curses. He tells them quite clearly that those who are to be most pitied and least to be admired or followed are those who are already totally pleased with themselves and their endless shallow, grasping, plundering desires. They are the ones who are losing so much in life. They are engaged in endless and futile pursuits.


Pray for the Pope's Intentions

02-11-2022Letters From Fr. BrianRev. Brian F. Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Mary Parish,

During this past week I read in two articles in unrelated journals that a distinctive element of English culture is that the English people can chat forever about weather. I guess as a New Englander who obviously is indirectly influenced by that originating dominant culture, I clearly share that characteristic as my weekly letters often chat a bit about weather! To break the pattern or mold, no mention of weather this week!


Beginnings of New Life & Faith

02-06-2022Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

In our first reading, which is from the Old Testament, Isaiah had a vision of God who appeared in the very brightness of the angels. This vision left the prophet dramatically drained, yet also strengthened in a certain way. Isaiah believed he was unworthy to come closer to God who beckoned him, but he knew he was called by God's angels and so he responded "Here I am, send me!" This is quite the dramatic calling. Isaiah was transformed by the event, although his words were inadequate to express his feelings and the meaning of the vision.


Stay Warm!

02-04-2022Letters From Fr. BrianRev. Brian F. Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Mary’s,

Last week’s mega-storm certainly showed us that we do live in a climate that has extremes. I am glad that people were sensible and stayed in on Saturday as the storm raged and very cautiously emerged on Sunday. I am also glad that so many folks thought it was good common sense to close the church building all day last Saturday. The Storm clean up took a few days and our Town DPW worked very hard to make our roads and sidewalks as safe as possible. Thank you. Our private crew who does our property worked an unbelievable amount of hours to get things cleared as much as possible. Between using plows, front end loaders, shovels and ice melt our property got cleared. I hope you were able to get your driveways and sidewalks in good shape.