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Independence Day Prayer

Lord, we stand today as our forefathers and mothers have stood before You in times gone by, celebrating our history and reveling in all the great things that our country has achieved. On this day we rejoice in the favor You have graciously given us. We thank You for the blessings of liberty, for this generation and for the generations to come. We thank You for our independence, peace and for all those who have bravely given their lives in the defense of freedom and justice. We thank You that Your gracious and provident hand has given us so much.

Yet as a nation and people we have not always chosen the right way. We ask You to forgive us for these times. On this day we commit ourselves to wholeheartedly honoring and serving You. With everything that we are, we lay our lives before You. Make us a generous people, a holy nation, a people set aside to love You forever,  For the sake of the land of the brave and free, and the peoples and nations of this world. Amen.

Celebrate evening Sunday Mass in St. Catherine of Siena Chapel

During the summer months, the 6:00 p.m. Sunday Mass will be held in our beautiful Saint Catherine of Siena Chapel, which is located under Saint Mary Church with entrances on Soley and Winthrop streets. (Handicap lift available via Winthrop entrance.) Please join us!

“We were made for these times!”

“God does not call us to do great things, rather little things with great love.” - Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Everyone knows that getting upset and discouraged about our baseball team is a longstanding Boston tradition. For many, it seems to me, the best season is a losing season!

Truth is, that mindset carries over into lots of other areas as well: weather (of course), politics, the wars, the Church, the city, the economy, “those people” (depends on where you are standing on that one), the state of the morals of our time, the family, the divorce rate (around 50%), the drug use and concerns about the younger generation. . . . The conversations can very quickly become deeply depressing.

Many of the assessments are correct: we are in the midst of troubling and desperate times. Given this distressing reality, what stance shall we take? Shall we spend ourselves railing about the state of affairs? Shall we resign ourselves to what we fear is inevitable?  These are not viable options.

One commentator I read the other day, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, writes that this is precisely not the time to lose hope. Ms. Estes posits, rather remarkably, “We were made for these times.” I love the presumption! It is so very much more energizing, inspiring, effective, and accurate than resorting to groaning and complaining about all that is wrong with whatever.

In fact, we stand at a moment where we may choose despair and hopelessness, that turning inward into darkness and helplessness, or we may choose to stand up and do the right. One’s capacity may seem insignificant and in fact puny in the face of all that needs to be addressed. But that is an illusion.

No right thing is ever insignificant and lacking meaning and value. No, never. It is natural to shrink in front of the immensity of the issues and question, “What difference can I make?” That question has been asked before—and answered. When Mother Teresa of Calcutta was asked the value of her carrying one dying man into her shelter when there were thousands of others lying on the streets, she responded, “God does not call us to do great things, rather little things with great love.” The woman brings the issue into focus.

If we allow ourselves to be duped by how insignificant our capabilities are, we can be crippled into in-action. How convenient for the forces of evil. Your grandparents likely heard the prophetic words, “It is better to light a penny candle than to curse the darkness”. Each of us can do something that will make a difference. And just imagine what could happen if we were to work together.

In Charlestown we have issues, some good and some bad. Each of us has a choice on what kind of neighborhood, parish, Church, and world we want to help create. It is not ours to look to the left or right, in front or behind to find who can speak up or act. That privilege and responsibility belongs to each and all of us—without exception. And when our words and actions flow from our faith and Gospel values, always steeped in charity for others and our deep belief in God’s love and presence, there is no limit to the possibilities.

These are hard times. But you and I were born into these times and for a reason. It falls to us to make them better times in every corner of our individual and collective worlds. Ms. Estes says it well: “There will always be times when you feel discouraged … but I do not keep a chair for it; I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate. The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, Who you serve and Who sent you here.”

God is asking each of us to make a difference … to roll up our sleeves and work diligently to make real the dream, the vision that God has for us—“that all may be one”—whether or not we will see it in our lifetime. How shall we respond?  What shall be our legacy for future generations?

Fr. Ronan

Independence Day Mass

The Parish Center will be closed on Friday, July 3 in observation of Independence Day. We have scheduled a Holiday Mass in the Chapel at 9:00 a.m. on this day.

Are you or a loved one ill or confined to home, and would like to receive the Sacraments of Reconciliation or Communion? Please give us a call at (617) 242-4664.

A Valuable, Free Summer Program for Children

Join us for a week of learning, healing and fun! COASA (Children of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse) at Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps and the Catholic Charities Laboure Center in South Boston are co-hosting a week-long summer program for children living with the stress of alcohol and/or other substance use disorders at home or within the family.

July 13 – July 17, 2015

Catholic Charities Laboure Center

275 West Broadway, South Boston, MA 02127

Children, ages 8-14

Morning session includes meditation, reflection, and educational support groups teaching children about addiction, how to express and deal with their feelings, and how to develop coping skills. Afternoons will be spent on adventures outside, including trips to the beach, hiking, kayaking, duck tours, ropes course, butterfly sanctuary, etc. Breakfast and lunch provided. For inquiries, please contact Maureen McGlame at (617) 272-5039 or ASAP. (There is no cost to attend this program.)

Our common home

The long-anticipated Encyclical released this month by the Holy Father is hardly light reading. Laudato Si’ (“Praise be to you”) of the Holy Father Francis on Care for Our Common Home contains more than 40,000 words, quotes from Popes, saints, and biblical passages, and the guidance of an energized Pontiff. Many of his predecessors have cautioned that human interference of a fragile planet is a major moral issue, but the Encyclical allows Pope Francis to place the global degradation of the poor and the global degradation of the environment in one cart. Cardinal Seán O’Malley describes the Encyclical as “designed to have a long shelf-life. The problems it analyzes are both urgent and complex; the responses to these must begin now, but will take time to come to fruition.” Parishioners are invited to read some excerpts from this historic document here, and examine the Encyclical at the Vatican web site.

“The destruction of the human environment is extremely serious, not only because God has entrusted the world to us men and women, but because human life is itself a gift which must be defended from various forms of debasement.”

“Authentic human development has a moral character.”

“… integral ecology calls for openness to categories which transcend the language of mathematics and biology, and take us to the heart of what it is to be human.”

“Let us review, however cursorily, those questions which are troubling us today and which we can no longer sweep under the carpet. Our goal is not to amass information or to satisfy curiosity, but rather to become painfully aware, to dare to turn what is happening to the world into our own personal suffering and thus to discover what each of us can do about it.”

“We were not meant to be inundated by cement, asphalt, glass and metal, and deprived of physical contact with nature.”

“Humanity is called to recognize the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption, in order to combat [global] warming or at least the human causes which produce or aggravate it.”

“Many of the poor live in areas particularly affected by phenomena related to warming, and their means of subsistence are largely dependent on natural reserves and ecosystemic services such as agriculture, fishing and forestry. They have no other financial activities or resources which can enable them to adapt to climate change or to face natural disasters, and their access to social services and protection is very limited.“

“Caring for ecosystems demands far-sightedness, since no one looking for quick and easy profit is truly interested in their preservation. But the cost of the damage caused by such selfish lack of concern is much greater than the economic benefits to be obtained.“

“Inequity affects not only individuals but entire countries; it compels us to consider an ethics of international relations. A true ‘ecological debt’ exists … connected to commercial imbalances with effects on the environment, and the disproportionate use of natural resources by certain countries over long periods of time.“

“…our common home is falling into serious disrepair.”

Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette to make summer visit

The Parish is happy to welcome Reverend John Sullivan, a missionary of La Salette, to Masses on the weekend of August 8-9. Their society offers a description of their purpose here.

“Having brought the fullness of life to our world when He rose from the dead, Jesus sent his disciples to share this life with all of creation. ‘They went forth and preached everywhere’ (Mk 16:20). The Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette minister to people of every race, language, culture, and way of life–beginning at the La Salette Shrine in France where our Blessed Mother appeared in 1846. Her final words to the two children (Maximin and Melanie), ‘Well, my children, you will make this known to all my people,’ echo Jesus’ Gospel mandate. It is little wonder that the La Salette Congregation has always been mission orientated. When called upon by the Vatican to preach the Gospel in foreign lands, they eagerly responded. This spirit brought them to mission in 27 countries, especially among the poor in Angola, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Haiti, India, Madagascar, Myanmar, and the Phillipines. With your cooperation, the Missionaries of La Salette can continue to provide spiritual and financial assistance to these mission countries as they bring God’s reconciling message to the poor.”

Cardinal Statement on “Laudato Si”

Following is the Cardinal’s statement on the Pope’s encyclical letter, “Laudato Si’”.  For full coverage please visit The Pilot website here and the Archdiocese of Boston website here.

Following the Cardinal’s statement we are providing a CatholicTV programming note regarding the encyclical.



Thursday, June 18, 2015

I welcome with joy and gratitude the encyclical letter, “Laudato Si’” (“Praise be to You”) on the urgent human, moral and religious issue of the environment. The first pope to take the name of Francis opens the letter with a phrase from St. Francis of Assisi whose spirit and vision is evident throughout the encyclical.

The Holy Father has given us a powerful, careful, prayerful analysis of two great ideas. The first idea, “Our Common Home,” the phrase he uses to describe the environment; the “home” for the human family is in severe danger and needs immediate protection and healing at the global, national and local levels of life. The second idea is that while the threatened state of the environment is a universal challenge affecting us all, those most in danger in the present and future are those already poor and vulnerable, within states and across the globe.

This constant linkage throughout the encyclical of the dual need to respect and protect “Our Common Home” and the need to respect and protect the dignity and lives of the poor may be regarded as the distinctive characteristic of this powerful message of Pope Francis. Both of these themes have been evident since the beginning of Pope Francis’s pontificate but this letter joins them with new depth and specificity.

“Laudato Si’” is permeated by a sense of human, moral and religious urgency, but the Pope recognizes the factual complexity of the joining of the environment and poverty. He states his case this way: “We are not faced with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental” (#139). In preparing the encyclical the Holy Father has consulted broadly in the scientific community, convinced, as he says, that the challenge facing “Our Common Home” provides a moment when religion and science can be joined in a crucial partnership.

The encyclical letter provides an overview of the specific issues which are well known in secular discussions of the environment: climate changes, shortages of safe clean water, the economic impact of choices made to address environmental threats and the need for wise and courageous political choices nationally and globally.

The letter is the voice of a pastor and teacher who leads a universal church across regions, cultures and nations. Pope Francis draws deeply on the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures and the Catholic social tradition as he develops the religious and moral foundation of his message. He relies heavily on the teaching of his immediate predecessors in the papacy; beginning with John XXII though Paul VI and particularly St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Chapter Two of the encyclical “The Gospel of Creation” draws deeply and broadly from biblical and theological scholarship to stress the specific meaning the environmental challenge is for Catholics. But the letter in the Pope’s mind has a broader audience. He states his intention at the outset to enter into the diverse global dialogue already underway about the threats to “Our Common Home.” He offers this letter as a contribution to the global conversation. He acknowledges with gratitude the resources other religious communities and traditions have made to the conversation, and he explicitly states that while many participants addressing the environment do not hold a religious perspective, he invites consideration of what religious vision and tradition can offer.

When Pope Francis turns to the moral dimensions of the environment and poverty, his themes are solidly grounded in the Catholic tradition of social teaching. Familiar Catholic themes of social justice, the option for the poor and the demands of the common good permeate the letter. The Holy Father adds a distinctive note to these in his call for an “integral ecology” seeking to bring the traditional ideas to confront the authentically new challenges posed by the environment and poverty.

“Laudato Si’” is a teaching document to be sure; but it is also a call for action at every level of our common life. In the final two chapters of the letter, Pope Francis highlights some of the choices which face individuals, states and international institutions if the twin problems of protecting the environment and honoring the equal dignity of all are to be faced effectively.

This encyclical, appearing still early in a new century, is designed to have a long shelf-life. The problems it analyzes are both urgent and complex; the responses to these must begin now, but will take time to come to fruition. I commend the letter to audiences inside and beyond the Catholic community and I pray for its reception and effective implementation.

CatholicTV Programming note:

CatholicTV is airing special coverage related to the release of Laudato Si.

The Ecology Encyclical: Care for Our Common Home

A panel discussion on the major themes and reactions to Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si (Praised Be To You). The CatholicTV Network and will air this presentation as follows (all times Eastern): Tuesday, June 23 at 11am, Tuesday, June 23 at 8pm, Wednesday, June 24 at 5am, Wednesday, June 24 at 1pm, Thursday, June 25 at 9:30pm, Friday, June 26 at 3:30pm

Creation – Starting June 22

In light of Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato Si, an attempt to discover why we should care for the environment. The CatholicTV Network and will air Creation beginning June 22 at the following times (all times Eastern):

Mondays 6pm, Tuesdays at 8:30am, Wednesday at 2:30pm, Thursdays at 4:30am, Saturdays at 9:30pm

Please visit CatholicTV here for more information.

About the Archdiocese of Boston: The Diocese of Boston was founded on April 8, 1808 and was elevated to Archdiocese in 1875. Currently serving the needs of 1.8 million Catholics, the Archdiocese of Boston is an ethnically diverse and spiritually enriching faith community consisting of 289 parishes, across 144 communities, educating approximately 42,000 students in its Catholic schools and 156,000 in religious education classes each year, ministering to the needs of 200,000 individuals through its pastoral and social service outreach.   Mass is celebrated in nearly twenty different languages each week. For more information, please visit

Cardinal release on South Carolina tragedy

Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley’s Statement on South Carolina Tragedy

We join all people of faith and good will in prayerful solidarity with the Emanuel AME Church congregation and community of Charleston during this time of loss and heartache.  It is foundational to our country’s heritage that places of worship always be sanctuaries of prayer, safety and peace.   We must reject these senseless acts of hatred and brutality in society.  Commending the victims of this attack to God’s loving mercy, we pray for healing through the words of the Prayer of Saint Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.  Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.  O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.

About the Archdiocese of Boston: The Diocese of Boston was founded on April 8, 1808 and was elevated to Archdiocese in 1875. Currently serving the needs of 1.8 million Catholics, the Archdiocese of Boston is an ethnically diverse and spiritually enriching faith community consisting of 289 parishes, across 144 communities, educating approximately 42,000 students in its Catholic schools and 156,000 in religious education classes each year, ministering to the needs of 200,000 individuals through its pastoral and social service outreach.   Mass is celebrated in nearly twenty different languages each week. For more information, please visit

Retreat opportunities

Notre Dame Spirituality Center, 30 Jeffreys Neck Road, Ipswich 01938


Directed by Catherine Griffiths, SNDdeN, Catherine Hannigan PBVM, and Ellen Keane SNDdeN


THE SUMMER NAME OF GOD: Reflection on Earth, Air, Fire and Water as revelation of God’s Grace. Celebrating the goodness of our Mother Earth in God. Presenters: Nancy Sheridan SASV Monica Verploegen

For more detailed info on all programs, visit or call 978-380-1574

St. Joseph Retreat Center, 339 Jerusalem Road, Cohasset

St. Joseph Retreat Center invites you to the following programs and retreat opportunities. Visit our website,, email or call 781-383-6024 for more programs and details.