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From the Pastor

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Palm Sunday

Schedule at Saint Mary Church, 55 Warren Street, on March 19

Parishioners, children, friends, and families are invited to come and help clean the Church at 9:00 a.m. to get ready for Holy Week and Easter!

Vigil Mass in Church at 4:00 p.m.

Palm Sunday, March 20

  • 8:00 a.m.
  • 10:30 a.m.
  • 6:00 p.m.

Join us for Blessing of the Palms in the lower corner of the Training Field at 10:15 this day.

Lenten Prayer & Reconciliation Svc.

An opportunity for serenity and reflection

Listen and Believe


Monday ? March 21 ? 7pm ? St. Mary Church

As we enter into the first days of Holy Week, set an hour aside and come to our Lenten evening of prayer.  In a serene and reflective atmosphere, we will pray together as a community of faith, contemplating God’s love, mercy and action in our lives.  The evening will conclude with an opportunity for individual confession.

What will you choose?

The other day I was reading one of those emails that was sent by a friend, because he found it inspiring. Am I the only person who is amazed at the volume of stuff that is circulating out there? Anyway, I do not always choose to read Bill’s emails?sometimes a time thing or a mood thing or a need to feel the tiny satisfaction of pressing the delete button.

This one was about a man who was always positive?never did he seem to have a bad day or a lousy reaction to circumstances in his life. Now this always “up” attitude both amazed and bothered others! And finally one friend approaches the man and asks him how it is that he always is so unbothered by life’s challenging moments.

The explanation given was thoughtful and insightful. The man said he had arrived at a point in his life where he realized that everything is about choice. While one cannot control everything that happens, one does have a choice of how to respond. He decided that he would look for the positive in whatever happened and choose to focus on that. He explained that he knew there were a lot of problems and issues in his life and in the world, and he was not ignoring them; rather he is choosing to live through them finding the good that he is certain is within each moment.

It sounds so simple, maybe even naïve! And yet as I have pondered the story, I see that in myself, more often than not, I react to a moment without really, consciously choosing how I wish to react. And my reaction can draw me in a direction that is not positive for me or others. It is that extra moment of conscious awareness to recognize what is happening and to deliberately choose how I wish to respond?yes, that for me is the element I often bypass.

In a conversation with a group of young adults the other evening, we discussed the intensity of their lives, fast-paced and time pressured. It seems that there is less free time?many are scheduled into scripted lives and feel the tension and stress of very limited available time. Family life seems no different. Parents often speak of the hectic pace of daily life where children have so many activities and commitments that a typical calendar is crammed with appointments and “to-do’s”, hanging onto the refrigerator door?by a thread.

I do not recall living at any other time or in any other place where I have heard so often how busy people are. And so I wonder, why do we choose to live with such intensity? Or, do we even forget that we have that choice to make? One response to this is to say, “But there is so much that has to be done …!” Yet again, who made that choice to put so much on your “gotta do all this stuff” plate?

There is a beautiful scene from the Old Testament where God tells Moses to go to the people and invite them to make a choice: “Today I set before you life and death; to whichever you stretch out your hand, you will have.” Every new day, even before we put our feet on the floor, we have a choice of how we wish to live that day?in a life-giving way or not. No one else can make that choice for me?it is mine alone to make.

God is very clear on how we should live each day: choosing life; of necessity that means treating ourselves and others with respect, patience, kindness, humor and love. Indeed that is precisely how God treats me and you every day?maybe we should make the same choice.

Fr. Ronan

Do you enjoy reading Fr. Ronan’s articles? Read more at in our section, “From the Pastor”.

We are one Church

Though we are many, we are one Church.

Next week, Catholics across the Archdiocese will be invited to pledge their support to the ministries supported by the Catholic Appeal that directly benefit St. Mary-St. Catherine of Siena Parish. Thank you for your prayers and support for a successful 2016 Appeal.

What is the Catholic Appeal? The Catholic Appeal is the annual campaign that supports the 50 central ministries carrying out the mission of our Church in the Archdiocese of Boston.

What are the central ministries? Central ministries help to serve the needs of all 289 parishes in the Archdiocese of Boston. While enriching parish life, central ministries also strengthen families, educate and inspire future generations, and help advance Church leadership.

How much funding does the Catholic Appeal provide for the Archdiocese of Boston? The Appeal provides about half of the funding. Funding also is provided through fees, endowments, and major gifts. The budget for the Archdiocese is available at under “Annual Report.”

Look for more info in next week’s Bulletin on Appeal Weekend, including a special video homily from Cardinal O’Malley during Mass.

Palm Sunday Concert and Meditation

St. Mary-St. Catherine of Siena Parish invites you to a

Palm Sunday Concert and Meditation

Featuring Capella Clausura and the Charlestown Community Choir with organists Tom Sheehan, Peter Sykes, and Rosalind Mohnsen and baritone Robert Honeysucker

Conducted by Amelia LeClair and Daniel Sauceda

and presenting our newly restored Woodberry & Harris Organ Opus 100

March 20 at 3:30 p.m. in Saint Mary Church on 55 Warren

Handicap accessibility on Soley Street

Return of the Gallagher Lecture

Publisher Robert Ellsberg discusses the amazing life of Dorothy Day on April 3

The Gallagher Lecture returns to St. Mary-St. Catherine of Siena Parish on April 3 with “Dorothy Day: A Saint for Our Time”, presented by Orbis Books publisher Robert Ellsberg.

Praised by Pope Francis in his 2015 speech to Congress, Dorothy Day was among the most accomplished social activists and publishers of our time. Day was also referred to by Pope Benedict XVI as a model of conversion, for her lifelong mission to protect the disenfranchised ran parallel with her exploration of the Catholic faith.

Robert Ellsberg worked with Day during the last five years of her life. He served for two years as managing editor of The Catholic Worker newspaper?founded by Day in the 1930s?and is active in promoting Day’s cause for canonization.

The Gallagher Lecture series, named in honor of beloved priest and Charlestown native Henry Gallagher, has brought outstanding presenters to the Parish, including John Allen, Sr. Helen Prejean, and Cardinal Sean O’Malley.

Parishioners are invited to save the date for this wonderful event on April 3 at 3:00 p.m. in St. Mary’s Church on 55 Warren. Admission is free. Contributions to Harvest on Vine Emergency Food Pantry are welcome.

Learn more about the life and accomplishments of Dorothy Day at


Fasting gets at the root of our self; the urge for self-satisfaction, self-gratification, and self-indulgence.

The other day I met a friend whom I had not seen in a few months. I commented that he had lost some weight and hoped his health was good. He replied that he was feeling well and that his doctor had put him on a salt-free diet. He found that he was eating less because food tasted so unappealing without salt. I quickly wondered if I should cut down or eliminate salt from my diet too! We live in a crazy, upside-down world where a small percentage of the population is fastidious about diet and weight, spending millions on weight loss products while the majority of the world does not have enough to eat. In the middle of this reality, Lent asks us to fast as one of the three pillars of our Lenten practices.

Fasting usually is associated with weight control and not asceticism. Further, it is almost always about food and drink although the concept behind fasting does not limit its application to this alone. At the root of this ancient practice is the understanding that self-denial, sacrifice, “giving something up” that is desirable, are actions that bring us out of ourselves a bit and help us to focus more clearly on God. Fasting gets at the root of our self; the urge for self satisfaction, self gratification and self indulgence. Denial of self has a way of freeing one to become more aware of others and the presence of God in the world.

While fasting usually implies giving something up, it can just as well achieve its end by taking something on. For example, the choice to visit someone in need, thus putting aside one’s own agenda to be of service to another, could include that element of self discipline that helps us grow. Choices that place another’s need over one’s own are similarly incentives to grow in awareness of God and others. One of the most precious commodities that we have is time. To give another time is a huge gift especially when it is time I would rather use for myself.

As the Lenten journey looks ahead, maybe there is a collective “fasting” we can all do together: on Saturday morning, March 19 at 9:00 AM , we are inviting families and individuals to come to St. Mary’s Church for a major cleaning (benches, floors, walls, stations, stairs … everything). We would like to ask folks to come to work together so that every corner of the church sparkles on Easter! So, please plan to come join us. There will be coffee and refreshments available from 9AM on and we hope everything will be finished by noon. Plan to bring clean cloths, good furniture polish, and any other cleaning material you have on hand.

Fasting offers an intriguing invitation to assist us to look more intently and listen more completely to God’s work in our days. May we all learn to look and listen more attentively to our good and loving God.

Fr. Ronan

World Marriage Day

Celebrated in our Parish at all Masses-Feb. 13-14

Marriage is a living sacrament. It is a sign to the world of the invisible God living in our midst?the living God who bears fruit in the lives of two people who have promised to live out their lives together in mutual support and love. On the weekend of February 13/14, we will celebrate World Marriage Day in our Parish. Married couples will receive a special blessing and will be invited to restate their vows at each of our Masses that weekend. We look forward to praying and celebrating with you!

How to make a good Confession

“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” – Mark Twain

Confession, also called the Sacrament of Penance or Reconciliation, is one of the seven Sacraments on our Church. In each Sacrament we believe Christ is active, a specific Grace is present which we receive as we actively participate in the ritual. Confession can be a road to transformation. Reviewing areas of my life in need of healing and forgiveness with the priest, who represents Christ, seeking to be the person God created me to be, and growing in the belief that God loves me unconditionally can lead you to living a more wholesome and authentic life.

While bringing oneself to go to Confession is difficult, Confession is not difficult, but it does help to prepare. Begin with a prayer, placing yourself in the presence of God and asking God to help you make a good confession. Then review your life since your last confession, searching your thoughts, words and actions for that which did not conform to God’s command to love Him and others through God’s laws and the laws of the Church. This is called an examination of conscience.

The Rite of the Sacrament of Reconciliation

•You may go to Confession face-to-face or anonymously, with a screen between you and the priest.

•The priest gives you a blessing or greeting.

•Make the Sign of the Cross and say: “Bless me father, for I have sinned. My last confession was…” (give the approximate number of weeks, months or years).

•Confess all of your sins to the priest. The priest will help you to make a good confession. If you are unsure about how to confess or you feel uneasy, just ask him to help you. Answer his questions without hiding anything out of fear or shame. Place your trust in God, a merciful Father who loves you unconditionally and wants to forgive you.

•Following your confession of sins, say: “I am sorry for these and all of my sins.”

•The priest assigns you a penance and offers advice to help you be a better follower of Jesus.

•Say an Act of Contrition, expressing your sorrow for your sins.

•Act of Contrition: God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you, and I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell; but most of all because they offend you, my God, who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve with the help of your grace to confess my sins, do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.

•The priest, acting in the person of Christ, then absolves you from your sins.

•After he may say something like, “Go in peace.”

Each of know what sin is. Often I ask small children in Confession after they confess something, “And how did you feel after.…?” The child always responds something like, “I felt sad.” And so it is with our conscience. And yet this is a complex world and our days offer up so many choices and circumstances. So, formation of our conscience is not only important but also a real help in making the best choices and following Jesus’ call to live a life of authentic love.

In future articles in our Parish Bulletin, we will offer some models and resources to help inform and shape our consciences. And in the end it is always our intention that matters most?wanting to follow Christ and seeking the best way to do exactly that.

Fr. Ronan

“God’s forgiveness finds me no matter where I am. God’s compassion takes me where I ought to go” – Sri Chimnoy

Donate today!

Warm clothes

The Parish is accepting new or used hats, gloves, scarves, and mittens for adults and children in need. Donations will be sent to shelters in the immediate area. A drop-off bin is located in Church. Please stop by! Ace Hardware in the Bunker Hill Mall Shopping Center will also have a bin in the store. Many thanks for your generosity!

A force for good

Our Parish conference of the St. Vincent de Paul Society has been a quiet force in Charlestown for decades. Vincentians respond to the poorest of the poor, regardless of religious affiliation, in a variety of ways. Please consider leaving a donation in one of the Society’s collection boxes in Church, and thank you for your support!

Breakfast foods for the Food Pantry

Harvest on Vine Emergency Food Pantry is in need of healthy, non-perishable breakfast items (i.e., cereals, oatmeal, toaster pastries, coffee) for its clients and client families. Donations can be delivered to the Church, Chapel, Good Shepherd School, or the Parish Center.