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Memorial Day (Parish center closed)

Join us for Memorial Day Mass this day at 9:00 a.m. in St. Catherine of Siena Chapel, located under St. Mary’s Church at Soley and Winthrop streets.

Charlestown: then and now

Join the Friends of the Charlestown Library and the Charlestown Preservation Society for Charlestown: Then and Now, a movie and discussion on how the historic buildings of Thompson Triangle were saved. This event is free and open to the public!

Thursday night, May 21 at 6:30 p.m. at the Charlestown Public Library, 179 Main Street

We are one Church!

As of mid-May, 126 Parishioners have contributed $52,974.25 to the 2015 Catholic Appeal. St. Mary-St. Catherine of Siena has reached 81% of our goal of $64,871.00. This campaign is critical to our Parish and the Archdiocese of Boston in so many ways.

According to the RCAB Catholic Appeal office, “Parish gifts comprise an essential source of funds that enliven the sacramental life of the parish community and help defray costs that a parish directly incurs. In a similar way, gifts to the Catholic Appeal help support additional programs and services that strengthen parish programs and ministries that serve many throughout the wider Catholic community. Both need our support.”

The Catholic Appeal enriches pastoral planning and services, Catholic education, marriage and healthcare ministries, vocational programs, and archdiocesan departments.

If we exceed our Parish goal, we receive a rebate that can support a variety of functions, such as maintenance and youth programs.

Catholic Appeal brochures and pledge forms can be found in Church and our Parish Center. If you have a moment, visit the FAQ section of bostoncatholicappeal.org and prayerfully consider making a donation.

Pope Francis’ Papal Visit

From the Archdiocese of Boston-Pope Francis will be visiting the United States of America for the first time since he was elected Pope in 2013. He will publicly be celebrating Mass in Philadelphia the weekend after the World Meeting of Families. (See the World Meeting of Families site for more information). He will also briefly attend the Festival of Families, a festival of music, art, and culture that closes the World Meeting.

The Papal Mass is scheduled to take place at 2PM on Sunday Sept. 27, 2015, in front of the Art Museum on the Ben Franklin Parkway in downtown Philadelphia. The City of Philadelphia is anticipating 2 million people in attendance.

The Festival of Families will take place the evening before, Saturday Sept. 26th from 6:30pm to 9:30pm, also on the Ben Franklin Parkway.

Neither of these events requires tickets. Do anticipate large crowds. If you are interested in traveling to Philadelphia to attend these events, we recommend the following travel agents, who can help you arrange hotels and travel:

Damian Wargo

Philadelphia Pilgrimage

484-441-3225

damianwargo@philadelphiapilgrimage.com

Gregory Sylvain

Canterbury Tours

800-653-0017

reservations@canterburypilgrimages.com

canterburypilgrimages.com

Pacceli Braga?Sacra Tours

sacratours.com

info@sacratours.com

617-777-6882

781-507-0102

(Speaks English, Spanish, and Portuguese)

Don’t turn away

It seems no one has enough time to read about all of the goings on in the world, not to say anything about locally. When I am reading the news, online or a newspaper, I scan. My rule of thumb is if I know where the story is going and the ending is nothing new, I do not read the story. I think many of us do the same thing. The problem with this method is that I miss a lot of things I should and want to know.

For example, drug and alcohol abuse in Charlestown: old story, one knows how this story is going to end. We are all so accustomed to the sad reality of epidemic use of drugs and alcohol that we can be lulled into indifference about the situation in our Town. And indifference is exactly the right environment for illegal use of drugs and abuse of alcohol to flourish. And the indifference can be insidious in many ways.

One can be uncaring about the problem because “It does not affect me, so it is not my problem.” Another can believe addiction only occurs in kids in the projects. Not my problem. Yet another can believe addiction only happens to the well-off who can afford to buy and abuse. Not my problem either. It’s a problem with students or gangs or young people. It does not concern me.

All of the above excuses for indifference are blatantly wrong. If one person in the community is afflicted, everyone in the community is affected—without exception. I am not simply speaking philosophically or with some idealist perspective. Really, I believe when there are people in the Town who are addicted and using, everybody pays a price. Could that be in terms of quality of life in Charlestown? Yes. Safety of citizens? Of course. Costs for civil services such as police, emergency services and health care? Without a doubt.

And while all of the above is true and so much more, there are two other perspectives that to me are the most compelling of all for citizens to be aware of and involved in these critical matters. The first is the welfare of children. A child born into a dysfunctional family caused by use of drugs is in profound danger. Every aspect of the child’s welfare is endangered and more, every important marker of the child’s healthy development is threatened. No responsible adult can hold indifference in the face of the welfare of children anywhere, especially in one’s own neighborhood.

Secondly, historically, what is the definition of a great community? Nice streets and parks, pleasant houses and good schools, access to services and transportation are all important elements of a great community. Yet not one of these, or others similar, truly define any great community. The definition that has stood the test of time is this: How well the community cares for the most vulnerable and needy in their midst.

In my mind, when you think about any community this is the litmus test. If this is true, how does our Town measure up? Most would agree, we do a pretty good job. However, I challenge any smugness on this matter, for we are deeply deficient in one area above all the others. We cannot come together, all of us, and face the seriousness of the drug and alcohol issues endemic in Charlestown. Too many of us see it as somebody else’s problem.

Everyone knows too many of our precious youth have died young—from drugs and from violence. I have had the sad duty to bury many of them, and not just kids. Addiction does not discriminate, anyone can be afflicted and everyone holds a piece of the solution.

At the Knights of Columbus on Tuesday, May 26 from 6:30–8:30 p.m. there is a unique opportunity for all of us to come together, to learn, discuss, and share and to plan for a future where indifference to addiction and violence is confronted once and for all. We can do this. Meet me there.

Fr. Ronan

jronan@stmarystcatherine.org

Crisis in Nepal: Emergency Collection

Cardinal Seán O’Malley has authorized a special collection, to be taken in our Parish on the weekend of May 9-10, in support of relief efforts to areas devastated by the powerful earthquake that struck Nepal.

All monies collected will be distributed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and other agencies like Caritas Nepal working in partnership with the local church to meet urgent relief efforts. CRS personnel have landed at the crowded airport in Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital, to help thousands of people affected by the destructive earthquake. The initial targets will be those in need of shelter. Many buildings were destroyed or damaged by the 7.8-magnitude earthquake. Aftershocks have caused widespread fear among the population of sleeping inside of even intact buildings. CRS and Caritas are organizing shipments of water treatment kits, shelter kits, hygiene kits, tarpaulins, and blankets to thousands of families in the region.

Parishioners are asked to address any check donations to St. Mary-St. Catherine of Siena Parish with “Nepal Collection 2015″ in the memo. You can also make online donations directly to CRS.org. Thank you for your kind response to this emergency operation!

Thank you for your generosity with this critical mission.

Friendship

The other morning I was walking out of the lobby after the eight o’clock Mass and a class of children from Good Shepherd School was ahead of me. It was a beautiful day, sunny and warm, and the teachers were taking the children to the park. The children were holding hands, and one little girl explained that the girl beside her was her friend. Their sweet affection for each other was evident.

Friendship is a subject about which everyone has experience and comments. The brilliant Dominican friar, St. Thomas Aquinas, once said, “There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.” From Sacred Scripture to philosophers, scholars, saints and everyday folks, friendship is valued as precious.  While the use of the term “best friend” is more common among children and teens, an adult who has a best friend is blessed beyond measure.

In the Gospel of John proclaimed this weekend, Jesus calls us friends. Imagine. He qualifies His use of the noun: “You are my friends if you do what I command you.” The command of Jesus is that we are to love one another as He has loved us. Further He explains, “I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.” Friends do that.  They are honest, forthcoming, and trusting of one another. They do not rush to judgment. They are patient, loyal, and always seek what is best for their friend.

And yet we all know too well that friends also make mistakes, misjudge, speak ill, and can be hurtful. Indeed, friendship can be complex and hard work because love is hard work. In fact, love is the work of God for we hear this weekend that: “Because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.”

If love is of God, than surely forgiveness must also be of God. Because of love, we can forgive. Without love, forgiveness is merely practical and efficient, potentially self-serving and thus, not of God.

In this fast-moving city and time, everyone seeks friendship. It seems authentic friendship can be more elusive then in what are perceived as more simple times. In truth, I do not know. Yet I am certain every soul seeks a soul mate, not just in terms of a life partner, but also in terms of a true friend. For me, the place to start in such a search is in friendship with Jesus. Here one finds the path to authentic love and friendship, and from there the path can open to friendship in countless ways and places.

Lest we think that each has to “make” this friendship happen, somehow, Jesus clarifies that misconception and self-centered position: “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you.”

Fr. Ronan

jronan@stmarystcatherine.org

Register for Sr. Chittister’s “Love, Forgiveness, and Reconciliation”

Sr. Joan Chittister, an Erie Benedictine nun who is a prolific writer and speaker gave a talk on Love, Forgiveness and Reconciliation. We will be showing the DVD of this talk and then engage in a discussion about it. Below is a description:

How do we form compassionate hearts: hearts that are god-like? In this lecture, “Love, Forgiveness and Reconciliation: A Call to Full Humanity”, Sr. Joan Chittister explores the difficult, but fundamental summons to forgiveness that can both soften our own hearts and transform the world community.

Sister Joan guides us—step-by-step—to genuine forgiveness rather than have us settle for a premature or shallow forgiveness.

She deals with the gift of tears as an expression of sorrow for personal and global suffering and outlines how we can, if we choose, bring healing to fractured situations. “Compassion,” she writes, “is the thread of God that runs through the soul of the human race.” And in this presentation she will invite and challenge us to become who we are meant to be—the compassionate heart of God.

The viewing of the video and discussion will take place on Monday, June 8 from 7-9PM.  Light refreshments will be served. To register for this event, please contact Sr. Nancy Citro, SNDdeN at 617-242-4664 or ncitro@stmarystcatherine.org.

Good Shepherd Gala

Save the date for Good Shepherd’s “Spring is Sprouting 6th Annual Benefit Gala

Friday, May 15 at 7-11 p.m. in the Parish Hall

Food, drinks, auction, and fun!
(Festive Spring attire.)

Ticket info at gsscharlestown.org

Growing in faith with the Rite of Christian Initiation (RCIA)

  • Have you been worshiping with us, but never officially took the step to become Catholic?
  • Have you been away from the church and have now returned, but want to know more?
  • Have you been a Catholic all your life, but never celebrated all the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist?)
  • Have you joined us from a different background and would now like to find out more about the Catholic Church?

If any of the above questions apply to you, we would love to help you in your journey. Or, if you know of anyone who could answer YES to any of the above questions, perhaps you could extend an invitation to them!

In recent years, there has been a great increase in the number of adults who are joining the Catholic Church. RCIA is a program designed to help non-Catholics and non-practicing Catholics learn more about the Catholic faith through a series of classes, discussions, prayer times and ceremonies. This program helps people grow in faith and knowledge of God, and develop a deeper relationship with God as they consider becoming Catholic.

If you are not yet sure whether you want to become Catholic, you are still welcome to participate as you make your decision. There is no obligation to join the Catholic Church and regardless of your decision you are always welcome here at St. Mary-St. Catherine of Siena Parish.

To find out how you may participate in the RCIA process, please contact Sr. Nancy Citro, SNDdeN at (617) 242-4664 or ncitro@stmarystcatherine.org. We look forward to welcoming you!

Elisa Corra, Shirley Foley, Fr. Ronan and Sr. Nancy (Members of the RCIA Team)

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