Parish Updates

02-19-2023Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

Instead of a Pastoral Reflection this week, this is a brief letter to keep everyone in the loop on life here at Saint Mary’s Parish. Obviously the church year is spinning along with Ash Wednesday and Lent just around the corner. Soon, (yes soon!), it will be Holy Week with the most spiritual Services and Masses for Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Vigil & Easter Sunday. Hopefully during this special Season of Lent you will be able to grow spiritually by intentional practice and prayer. Perhaps you might consider coming to the Stations of the Cross Service each Friday at 7 PM in the Chapel (lower level of the church) during Lent. An intentional devotional prayer service during Lent is a graced way to grow in closeness to God and meaningful purpose in your life.

Our Pastoral Associate Leo Racine, along with special volunteers are busy with service to the homebound and those at our four senior residences. Leo is also offering Adult Spiritual Faith Formation evenings or programs throughout the year. His Scripture Study Program which is based out of Magnolia Heights Residence is open to one and all. You are welcome to join at any time. Many of the attendees are parishioners who live around the Town. The Women’s Spirituality Program also continues quite faithfully, and Our Knights of Columbus is always busy in service to people in need. New Members are always welcome. Their next parish-based service is to “sell Stop and Shop Cards” to aid the Saint Vincent de Paul in their work. In addition, this weekend they are sponsoring in church the special icon of Saint Joseph which is traveling the country. Please read the bulletin for details. We are so very blessed that our Saint Vincent de Paul is single mindedly dedicated in its service to assisting those in need. Your generous help by supplies and financial support makes this service to the fragile and needy possible. Thank you.

Mass attendance at the weekend Masses is undergoing a slow, but steady increase in attendance. We will continue to Live-Stream every Sunday Mass with Funeral Masses and Weddings only upon request by the family. We will continue to observe the “Holy Communion in the hand” practice for the wellbeing of Eucharistic Ministers. I traced my recent serious COVID collapse and illness to distributing Holy Communion in another parish on the tongue at a funeral Mass. I followed the custom of that parish to my great regret. Sometimes a custom needs to end or at least be suspended. Health, in my opinion, trumps a personal act of piety.

I am most appreciative of those who have responded to my request for an Increase in Giving. A parishioner reminded me that it has been over 5 year since you were asked to increase your offering. Certainly such an infrequent request indicates how much we need your personal financial help. Our Parish manages its finances overall quite well, but costs are often beyond our control. Our gas and electric bills now run into the thousands of dollars each month. Simple supplies like paper towels and cleaning supplies have jumped dramatically in cost. Our insurance for boiler, accident liability, fire, theft etc. have also increased percentage-wise as much as your own. You name it and the cost has gone way up. I am also so grateful that so many Parishioners use the On-line Giving. Please consider this method.

Some of you may be aware of a recent blog post about our “patrimony” which is 201 Main Street aka “the school across the street.” Our website tells everyone what we have done and what we will be doing. At present the decision from the Committee and its Feasibility Study to develop the property with allowing for our own building and parking is being pursued. There is due diligence that must be done for writing the Request for Proposals. The Real Estate and Legal Departments of the Archdiocese are assisting in these matters. People who offer speculation on what will be there etc. really do not know what they are talking about because no one really knows. Anonymous experts are the most dangerous to listen to in any case. Until it is offered as public Request for Development, no one can tell what will happen. This whole process has been proceeding slowly, cautiously and openly.

In terms of parish clergy, Father Frank Campo has decided to go to “full retirement” and move to a different residence to for a variety of reasons. Father Frank has been assisting here on a “as needed” basis. Because of his increased need of medical care both at his doctors and also his hospitals, he has decided to move closer to his doctors and hospitals. In addition, to be fully retired he believes he needs to move to a new place so that he starts off in the right manner. He will be moving to Saint Patrick Parish Stoneham MA at the end of the month where he will be fully retired and be able to devote the time and energy he needs for his health care. I thank him on behalf of the Parish and myself for his priestly service to us for the last two years. I am not allowed to print his age (!), but he is older than me, and I am pushing on towards 75. We will, I especially, miss Father Frank and wish him a very good retirement.

Always as a parish dedicated to Mary, Mother of God we ask her intercession with her Son Jesus for all of us, especially the physically and mentally ill, the lost, the fragile and the hurt. We pray for the victims of domestic violence and also their families and friends and in addition the Towns and Cities which have been deeply pained by domestic murder and violence these past many months. We pray also for civil peace in our country, and also especially in the Ukraine and other many places of violence. May our Special Patron Saint Rocco intercede to bring healing to all of us in need. God bless.

PS: The Special Earthquake Syria/Turkey Collection will be this week. All information details are on the Parish website: or in the bulletin which also can be accessed by our website.