Do you really understand what the Mass is all about? For Catholics, it’s not just one option to choose from among many worship services offered at other Christian denominations. The Mass has biblical and theological roots that stem from the time of Jesus and apostolic times. It calls for a full, active and conscious participation beyond what most secular communal activities require – a mere passive observer involvement.READ MORE
“For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach?” (Romans 10:13-15) These questions are relevant to us today — in our world and in our Archdiocese of Boston. Our world needs priests now more than ever. A priest is chosen by God to carry on the ministry of Jesus and proclaim the Kingdom of God. As a spiritual father, by leading people to heaven, a priest’s work will last for eternity. The Gospel transforms and gives life to those who believe and follow, but if there is no one to proclaim it, then the world will not be able to receive it. Priests exist to proclaim the life-changing and life-giving Gospel of Jesus Christ. But Saint Paul also asks: “How can people preach unless they are sent?” (cf https://vocationsboston.org/the-priesthood/)READ MORE
Happy Mother’s Day! I share with you some inspirational quotes and prayers for this special day in honor of mothers.
Bless All Mothers... In this intense nine months, when mothers-to-be are realizing that their life is about to change forever, bless them God, because they feel alternately elated and alarmed. Help each mother-in-waiting to understand that she has been carefully chosen, by both you and by her baby, to guide it through its early years on planet Earth. Let her know that she will never be alone in the process. Help her to remember that her baby is your own perfect creation, just as she, herself, is your own perfect creation. Thank you God, for making each of your creations uniquely perfect in its own way.
– from the book Honoring Motherhood: Prayers, Ceremonies & Blessings by Lauren McLaughlinREAD MORE
You may have noticed that the statue of our Blessed Mother Mary is crowned with a wreath of flowers. This is because of the long-standing tradition in the Catholic Church to dedicate the month of May in honor of our Blessed Mother Mary. She stands out among all of the saints because of her special role as the Mother of Jesus, whom we also call - Mother of God, as we recite in the Hail Mary prayer. Still, she also serves as our spiritual mother and mother of our Church. Mary is a role model for us all having accepted God’s call to be a unique instrument in His providential plan. While we continue to celebrate the Easter season in this month dedicated to Mary, I offer you a poem written by Bishop Mark O’Connell, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Boston.READ MORE
For the next three weekends, at some of our parish Masses, we will welcome First Communion children around the table of the Lord. It’s been a tradition here at Holy Family for several years and in many other parishes to celebrate this important moment for these children, their families and the parish community in the context of the Sunday liturgy. As a Sacrament of Initiation, reception of First Eucharist marks the beginning of their full participation with us in our weekly community worship. It gives us all an opportunity to fittingly welcome these children and provide a loving witness and support as they begin partaking regularly in the Body of Christ.READ MORE
Here are two reflections on the meaning of Easter that I hope you find helpful. One that gives us hope in the difficult and regrettable episodes along our journey through life and one that gives us hope at the end of our journey.
“If Christ is risen, we can look with renewed eyes and hearts on each event in our lives, even the most negative. The moments of darkness, failure and even sin can be transformed and herald a new path forward. When we have reached the bottom of our misery and weakness, the risen Christ gives us strength to rise again. If we entrust ourselves to Him, His grace saves us. The crucified and risen Lord is the full revelation of mercy, present and at work in history.”
– Pope Francis.READ MORE
We continue to celebrate the new life of the resurrection of Jesus in this Easter season until May 28 – Pentecost Sunday. What goes on in our church sanctuary at every Mass is very special, sacred and life-changing. God becomes present to us on the altar in a miraculous way – the Risen Christ appears to us as our food for our journey in the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist. Jesus is alive! He dwells within us; He walks with us, and gives us His new life! His power over sin, evil and death is a power we can tap into. Are you buried in a tomb of doubt, despair, loneliness, hardship, confusion, brokenness, or grief? Tell Jesus where you need His mercy, His healing, His hope and new life. Ask Him to release you from your tomb and invite His grace to give you freedom and peace. Maybe a priest, deacon staff member or fellow parishioner can help you roll away the stone from the entrance of your tomb. You are not alone in our community of faith. We seek to bring the presence of the risen Christ to all in need. I invite you to pray this Easter Prayer for yourself, your loved ones, our parish community and especially for those who need Jesus’ risen power and peace in a special way.READ MORE
In the course of life, many people end up asking themselves a profound question: “Is this all there is?” Have you ever asked yourself that question? It’s usually after a heightened awareness that what we’ve been “into” doesn’t really satisfy. There’s got to be more, something deeper that will offer hope and a new perspective and, in fact, a new life. That’s what Easter is all about. If you pondered our parish Vision Statement beside this column, it gives you a glimpse of what a vibrant faith in the Risen Jesus can offer – in terms of joy, community, meaning and purpose.READ MORE
This week, Holy Week, is the most solemn week of our Church year. A schedule of all the offerings for this week can be found on the lower left side of this page. Particularly important among the liturgies of Holy Week are the celebrations of the Triduum - the three days leading to Easter. On Holy Thursday, we have the Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper at 7:30pm. In this liturgy, we recall not only the institution of the Holy Eucharist, but also the institution of Holy Orders, and the great commission from Jesus to love one another as He has loved us - recounting Jesus' washing the feet of His disciples. On Good Friday, with the Solemn Commemoration of the Lord's Passion at 3:00pm, we recall what Jesus endured to bring about our salvation. At this liturgy, we have the opportunity to hear the story of Jesus' journey to Calvary proclaimed from the Gospel of John, and to venerate the symbol of His Cross as well as to receive Holy Communion.READ MORE
Since we have heard references to “the Jews” in our New Testament scriptures recently, and we will hear similar references when the Passion is read at Mass this coming Passion/Palm Sunday as well as on Good Friday, it was drawn to my attention by a parishioner that it would be good to clarify the Church’s position on how we should regard our Jewish brothers and sisters when such references may lead some people to a mistaken understanding about them. This clarification is particularly important nowadays since there is a greater incidence of anti-Semitism in our country, which we detest and cannot tolerate. So, I include below a statement made a number of years ago by the United States Bishops about this issue, which is also printed in our Breaking Bread hymnals after the Passion reading on Good Friday (page 108).READ MORE
How are you doing in your daily prayer this Lent? Besides the formal or rote prayers you may say, I offer you two saints’ reflections on what they did when they prayed that were helpful to them. Maybe you do these things already; or, maybe there’s something new you can try. What strikes me is the very candid, familiar and personal ways each one spoke to God as well as their emphasis on listening to God. That part takes discipline to be silent and to wait. Don’t analyze. Be attentive especially to what is engendered within your heart. Look for opportunities our parish will offer to help you develop a prayer life of this kind that will allow you to grow in your personal relationship with God. This is a necessary step to become an intentional disciple of Jesus. Let me know if you are interested.READ MORE
You may see startling images of poverty in the media and, for a moment, are moved by the reality depicted. But, how often does what touches your heart on these occasions result in a change in attitude and behavior? This is a central challenge provided by the Lenten practice of almsgiving. How are you doing in your effort to grow in your habit of charitable giving? Is it something you think much about? There needs to be an intentionality to charitable giving that calls us out of ourselves and includes sacrifice. This Lent, as we seek to reflect ever more the image of Christ in our world, two questions arise that invite a personal response: “If not you, who? And if not now, when?” Here are some statistics that prompted me to pose these questions.READ MORE
How would you describe your approach to participation at Mass? Are you engaged with what’s being spoken and sung? Is your mind focused on prayer and worship, or is it somewhere else? Do you truly participate in the spoken and sung parts of the liturgy or just remain quiet during the parts that require members’ involvement? I admit, we can be easily distracted these days and look to be entertained any chance we can get. Unfortunately, that approach instills a passivity that more closely resembles going to the theatre or viewing a video on our devices – something very different than what is called for in church.READ MORE