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Paul Martin

From our Pastor

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

Anguish has taken wing, dispelled is darkness:
for there is no gloom where but now there was distress.
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom, a light has shone.

January can be a very difficult time for people. The Christmas rush has passed- we’re in Ordinary Time, and the spring seems so far away. Many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder and depression can hit, and it’s understandable- the sun, when it’s out, seems almost indifferent to the cold that surrounds us. Lent is also coming soon.

But so is Easter. We belong to light, and victory, and hope. This truth doesn’t deny the challenges and difficulties in our midst, but I pray it gives us opportunities to find the light of Christ in our world, within others, and even more powerfully, within ourselves.

Winter is challenging, but there are some hopes for better times ahead- the Red Sox truck is leaving soon for Florida- and the sunsets are just a little later, day by day. It’s easy for us to give in to doubt and fear, but we belong to Christ- as we dig in our shovels into the winter cold, let’s dig in our heels into the hope Christ brings us- and share it.

Saint Blaise Blessing of the throats

Blessing of the Throats
at all Masses on the weekend of February 5- St. Blaise

According to the Acts, while Blaise was being taken into custody, a distraught mother, whose only child
was choking on a fishbone, threw herself at his feet and implored his intercession. Touched at her grief, he
offered up his prayers, and the child was cured. Consequently, Saint Blaise is invoked for protection
against injuries and illnesses of the throat.

From Fr. Sheridan

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up and throw it back into the ocean.
People watched her with amusement.

She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!”

The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied,
“Well, I made a difference for that one!”

The old man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought about what she had done and said.
Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved.
-adapted from “The Star Thrower” by Loren C. Eiseley

Carry your candle, run to the darkness. Seek out the helpless, deceived, and poor. Hold out your candle for all to see it. Take your candle and go light your world.

This weekend’s Gospel is meant to be a shot to the bow- a reminder that each of us have been challenged to make a difference in this world. All of us have been called, by virtue of our baptism-
to get out there and make this world a better place.

It’s easy for us to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of problems in out there- or worse, to be self-satisfied that we’re doing enough. There is also the possibility that we can be fooled by others we’ve all been, taken in; it’s happened to everyone who has reached out- it’s part of the package of any kind of ministry.
We can never do enough- but that can’t deter us.

What God may be calling us to do may seem overwhelming to us- but we need to understand that all what we do is to bring Christ through us to those around us and start from there. It may call us out of our comfort zone but we need to pray for the courage to listen and respond. The winds of change are always blowing, but we should welcome them-
the Holy Spirit is calling- I pray we all listen… and respond.

”Go light your world” was written by Christopher Rice


Full adult membership in the Roman Catholic Church is achieved with the reception of the sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation. Most Catholics born into our faith receive Baptism as infants and Eucharist in the second grade. Usually, Confirmation is received in the tenth Grade. Due to circumstances of all kinds,
a significant number of adults have never received the Sacrament of Confirmation.

Maybe… It’s Time: to deepen your relationship with God who loves and cares about you. To re-engage
your world again as a Catholic more informed about your faith and its impact in your life. To re-new yourself and
others through the unique power of the Holy Spirit who guides us in Love and Truth.

Candidates 18 years of age or older will attend seven 90-minute classes with orientation on
Wednesday evening at 6:30 on January 25th.
Please contact Sr. Nancy Citro, SNDdeN at 617-242-4664 or for additional
details and to register for the program.

The Dreamer

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. envisioned a community of goodwill and understanding that “does not begin by discriminating between worthy and unworthy people … It begins by loving others for their sakes.” Let us thank God for the leadership and vision of Martin Luther King Jr. who incorporated Gospel values in the non-violent struggle for equality, justice, freedom and peace for all human beings. “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

Join us for Mass at 9:00 a.m. in St. Catherine of Siena Chapel on Mon., Jan. 16.
(The Parish Center will be closed that day.)

From Pastor Sheridan

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

A million days… in everyone I’ve seen Your face…
I know I’d never be alone.
Even if darkness comes our way…
For You… all the stars are singing.
With You… everyday I’m feeling… Alive.
A Million Stars, written by Michael W. Smith

In 1996, I was privileged to go to the Olympic Games in Atlanta. It was an amazing experience- I attended several events and met people from all over the world. Many people remember that Games by that terrible act of terrorism that shook us all. I was far away from that scene, but I went in the next day (I had a ticket to an event), and I remember stopping in the middle the stadium, in the middle of the fear and worry around the world, to see the Olympic torch, burning brightly.

There was a determination that day I experienced from everyone around me that the light of human possibility, symbolized by that torch, was not going out by violence, hatred, or fear. After a respectful moment of silence and prayer, the crowd cheered loudly, joyfully, and fearlessly that day as the great athletes took to the track, representing their countries, representing hope. Hope won all the glory that day.

The glorious feast day of Epiphany (Christmas to our brothers and sisters in Christian Eastern churches) speaks of the light Isaiah prophesied the star that led the Magi to the Christ child, the glory of the Lord that shines to all people of good will. Yes, the Christmas season is concluding for us, but I pray the light of joy and peace we feel in Christ shines in us on
the Epiphany Day, and through us to a world so lost in the darkness of fear and doubt.

A friend of mine reminds me that we’re called to be stained-glass windows of Christ, to let the light He is to shine through us in different colors, different ways. The beautiful windows of our parish churches teach and inspire us with the lives of our Lord, his Mother, great saints, martyrs, and teachers of our faith. They allowed the light of Christ shine through their lives, all in different ways. Now, it is a new time. Let’s return the favor by reflecting that light to others with our hope, our confidence, our love.

Christ, be our light.

With You… everyday I’m feeling… Alive.

From our Pastor – January 1, 2023

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

It’s a new year with new hopes and possibilities! There is much to do, and beautifully, we begin around Mary, the Mother of God. We begin with words of hope on the World Day of Prayer for Peace- we pray for peace in our hearts, our homes, our town, our country, and our world.

There is much we see every day that can send us into worry and even despair, but Mary challenges us to stand courageously and not fear! Peace does not mean just quietly getting along with others, it often means to speak and act out on behalf of others- for life, for dignity, for justice, for Christ!

The winds of change are cleansing and refreshing. As Catholics, may we be the voices which effect change in our world- by our words, our actions, our very selves, we are called to live out the Christmas challenge to proclaim Christ in our world- for the poor, the sick, the troubled, the forgotten. It may bring about discord for others, but only from those who are afraid- we’re not afraid to speak, to act, to live, for Christ!

~ Fr. John Sheridan

Thank You

Thank you – to all of those who took time out of their busy holiday schedules, and/or used their talents and treasure to help out with the Christmas activities of Saint Mary – Saint Catherine of Siena Parish. To those who helped clean and decorate our Church for Christmas – thank you.

To those who picked up the flowers and delivered them to our church – thank you.

For the Advent Wreaths in our Church and chapel – thank you.

For the wreaths that are on the front doors of our Church – thank you

To all of you who pulled a tag from the giving trees or donated a gift to someone in
need. Thank you

To those who so generously donated to Harvest on Vine food pantry – thank you.

To those who helped deliver the gifts – thank you

To all the Altar Servers, Eucharistic Ministers, Greeters, Lectors, Musicians, Singers,
and Ushers who assisted in our Liturgies – thank you.

To Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, and Santa – thank you.

To all who celebrated Christmas with us, and those travelling who kept us in prayer –
thank you

Your generosity is a true reflection of Christ and you are all appreciated very much!

From our Pastor

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

and so she rocks Him gently, she knows she’s been a part
of something more she can ever ponder in her heart.
The past has been confusing, but the future’s looking bright…
‘cause Mary holds the Light in arms tonight.
From Mary holds the Light by Clay Crosse

I begin with the warmest of wishes for a Blessed Christmas for each one of you, your families and all those you love. May the peace and hope of the newborn Christ rest and rise in your hearts and souls this happy day and throughout the year to come.

I am very grateful to the incredible group of people in both parishes who give of themselves every day so selflessly- top-notch staffs, Councils, volunteers and so many people who very quietly, heroically, and lovingly do the work of the Church. I thank those who give so generously their time, talent, and treasure throughout this year of often tumultuous change.
We are blessed in so many ways.

The light that drew the shepherds and Magi is within us, now- it’s our vocation- each of us- to share it with the world- may that light reflect and attract others- not just by its brightness, but by its warmth. Encourage someone you love to join you at Mass. We’re called to be light to others- and the light is Christ. Let it shine. Merry Christmas!

This is an important step in our parishes’ collaboration, the development of a combined bulletin. I am very grateful to Dianne Ludy and Joan Rae for their cooperation in bring it together. As we begin this venture, we may have a lip up or two, and I encourage your input and response in putting together something we all turn to for information, inspiration, and enlightenment. May our Blessed Mother guide us through this period of transition to where He is calling us to be.
Thank you!

Message from our Pastor

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

I took my tree down to the shore, the garland, and the silver star…
to find my peace and grieve no more… to find some peace inside my heart.
On every branch I laid some bread, and hungry birds filled up the sky.
they rang like bells around my head, they sang my spirit back to life.
One tiny child can change the world, one shining light can show the way…
through all my tears for what I’ve lost, there’s still my joy for Christmas Day.

From There’s Still My Joy, written by Melissa Manchester and Carole Bayer Sager

This past week has been difficult for so many in our Town- we had four funerals- and I hope that the warmth that Christmas will bring will give us hope to look ahead to the promise of eternal Christ bring us. I urge you as we turn the corner and look ahead to find the light present in the memories of all those we remember and the light shining in the eyes of expectant children and all people who look with joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Next week the bulletins of St. Mary- St. Catherine and St. Francis will be combined- I want to stress that this is not a merging of the parishes- this is a way to facilitate a closer relationship- I believe that it will prove to be a convenient and helpful way to share information. Soon we will be recasting our Mass schedule- daily and weekend- to make it more accessible for everyone. I hope you will encourage your neighbors and friends to join us for Christmas Masses at our Churches. Though we’re all too aware that the Covid nightmare
we’ve been walking through isn’t over yet by a long shot, the numbers of folks coming week after week to our churches I pray give us all a sense of hope and optimism, and my prayer is that it will continue to grow beginning this holy season and throughout the coming year.

As we rejoice in the season of light, we pray for our Jewish brothers and sisters, who mark the joyous season of Chanukah, as they struggle throughout our country with a troubling surge of antisemitism. May we speak out- through our words and actions- in defense and love of our sisters and brothers.

Third Sunday in Advent

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena
Fr. John

As children, we all loved to be surprised- whether a visit from a beloved family member or if we received a surprise gift, we lived in joyful hope that life would send us on another adventure. As we grew older, we grew less fond of those surprises and became afraid of the unexpected, our hearts hardened by our previous experiences.

There are people all around us who live unafraid of the challenges and opportunities that wait around us- these are the people who truly discover that though it can seem difficult, there is much to be treasured, enjoyed, and looked forward to- those are truly happy people in our world- who discover the presence of Christ every day.

This time of year is a time for the unexpected- a time to discover the presence of God in our midst and allow ourselves to be thrown off course a bit and discover something we’ve missed. In all the hype of this season, the lights, colors, and chaos, may hearts search for the Christ Child present in the people, places, and moments we least expect, and truly rejoice in finding Him, at Christmas and every day of our lives!

A few cinematic suggestions for the Season

As we make our way through these Advent days, it’s easy for us to miss so many ways to make them meaningful- to dwell in the mystery of this holy season. Please take time with loved ones to get inspired!

For the adults, the beautiful The Nativity Story (2006) is a work of cinematic art- it seems as if you are walking with Mary and Joseph on their way to Bethlehem. It is moving and carefully done.

For the kids, the animated film The Star is well done, though there is a lot of unnecessary fiction that pads the story. The depiction of Mary is meaningful, and the music is excellent!

For the whole family, it’s hard to beat the Muppets’ Christmas Carol- charming in a number of ways. Michael Caine is superb as Ebenezer Scrooge, Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit and with the whole Muppet family, is funny and warm- with Gonzo as a very accurate, may I add, narrator, it’s very smart!

Fr. John

Third Sunday of Advent Banner

From Pastor John Sheridan

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

Growing up in Newton in December was very interesting. So many of our classmates and friends weren’t Christian, and I often wondered what folks of other faiths thought at this time as our world is filled with music, laughter, lights, and food, leading up to the unabashed joy of Christmas Day.

December brings so much to all of us- so many memories- many very happy, some difficult, too. Some reach back and yearn for a time that has passed. Others look ahead.

As much as Advent calls us to look ahead with joy, it calls us to focus, to prepare our hearts, minds, and souls for the coming Savior. How beautiful that in the midst of the chaos this season brings that we should pause and rejoice in the Blessed Mother on the feast of her Immaculate Conception. She, in her humility, her openness, and her love calls us to slow down, to find comfort and courage and look ahead to her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

During this season when we seem to rush around at a dizzying pace, let’s take time to pause and learn from our Blessed Mother to look beyond the displays and find the presence of Christ. She is pointing Him out, encouraging us to look to Him, to follow Him.

I grew up a stone’s throw away from an historic place: Echo Bridge. It spanned two towns- Newton and Needham, and it’s a great place to take a quiet walk and admire nature as it changes through the seasons. When I think of parishes working together as we are beginning to do, I always think about bridges, starting with Echo.

St Mary- St. Catherine and St. Francis de Sales parishes are beginning the process of building a bridge- becoming a collaborative. Our parishes, rich in history and with so much to share, will embark on a mission to work closer together. How? That remains to be seen. This will be my third collaborative, and each came into their own in different ways. We will share not only a pastor, but we’ll also share supplies, facilities, liturgies, communications, schedules, councils and more.

There will be changes as time goes by, and I’m going to lean on the strength and ask for the counsel and support of our staff, and parish pastoral and finance councils as we walk through the decisions. The Archdiocese will help us, giving us assistance, recognizing that we will cross our bridge as God calls us here, in our own way.

I want to make it clear that as we begin this new period that what makes each parish extraordinary remains as it is. As you heard me say last weekend, I’m here to build. It’s going to take a while, I ask your patience, as well as your prayers.

Fr. John

With Christmas coming we’ll need help with the additional worshipers that will be coming into the Parish for Christmas Eve Family Mass at 4pm, Christmas Day Mass at 8am and 10:30am. We need Ushers to help with quickly assisting with collection and helping greeters finding seats during mass. If you can help please email

or call 617-242-4664. Please note which mass you will be able to help with and be willing to be available 15-30 mins prior to mass.

There are Christmas Flower envelopes in the back of the Church for those who would like to make a donation in memory of a loved one. The flowers are placed on the Altar for Christmas. Be sure to include the name of your loved one on the envelope. Names submitted by Friday, December 16 will be included in the bulletin for Christmas. All names received after that date will be added to a future bulletin. You may drop the envelope in the collection basket or mail to the Parish Center at 46 Winthrop Street.
Thank you.


As is our tradition, your generosity provides Christmas aid to St. Mary Center for Women and Children, Charlestown Recovery House, Veterans Shelter, our Parish’s Conference of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society, and Sisters of Saint Joseph Prison Ministry.

Due to COVID restrictions, some of our giving tree tags request gift cards or monetary donations. Please see specifics below:
 St. Mary Center for Woman & Children—specific request for a gift.
 Charlestown Recovery House – please give a gift card, T-Pass, or Dunkin Donuts gift card.
 Veterans Shelter — please give a gift card, T-Pass, or Dunkin Donuts gift card.
 St. Vincent de Paul Society— a monetary donation is requested for clients in our Parish who have many different needs, ie. rental assistance, beds, and a myriad of other requests.

Checks should be made payable to St. Vincent de Paul Society.

 Sisters of St. Joseph Prison Ministry – Due to Dept. of Corrections security regulations, monetary donations are requested. The Chaplain will buy needed items such as combs, shampoo, soap, deodorant, calendars, lotion, tooth paste, stationary, and pens which will then be inspected by DOC.

Once the items are approved by security, the items will be assembled in gift bags within the prison by Chaplaincy Volunteers. Checks should be made payable to Sisters of St. Joseph Prison Ministry”

Donations may be placed under the tree. Please place the tree tag on the outside of the gift/envelope. Please submit your donations by December 20th for delivery.

My brothers and sisters
in Christ:

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena
Fr. Sheridan

Advent is my favorite time of year- the world is transforming, and hopes are high- we’re all looking forward to things to come. Plans are being made, dreams are shared, and the Scriptures sing of prophets with messages of hope. It’s a time of beginnings- and we begin together here in this great town of rich history and cutting-edge hopes for the future. Both parishes have great histories and traditions (thank you, Frs. Mahoney, Ronan, and Frs. Vin & Ron) and I’m privileged to help write the next chapter of what’s ahead.

An introduction, I believe, is in order: My father, Denis, came from Louisburg, Co. Mayo, my mom, Elizabeth, was baptized right round the corner from here at St. Joseph’s in Somerville and grew up in Waltham and Newtonville (they met while she was working at Filene’s in town).

I grew up the eighth of nine siblings (who I am very close to) in Newton Upper Falls, went to Mary Immaculate of Lourdes parish and through the Newton Public Schools, and entered the seminary in 1982. I was ordained on June 16, 1990, and have served in a variety of places, in city, suburban and even rural parishes.

I am a part of the Vatican II/Pope John Paul II generation, inspired by his call on that rainy day in 1979 in the Boston Common, challenged and encouraged to minister to all peoples, especially the poor. I am a devoted Bruins fan (I can recite the entire ‘71-72 roster) and Red Sox fan, and enjoy movies, music, and technology.

I come here as pastor of two parishes with the goal of building a collaborative- something I’ve done twice before and look forward to being about again- working with staff, councils, and the people of the parishes of Charlestown. I’m already impressed with what I’ve already seen, and I can’t wait to get to it.

The first weekend of Advent marks the beginning of the liturgical year, and the perfect opportunity to start. May our Blessed Mother bless us as we begin together. St. Mary, St. Catherine of Siena, and St. Francis de Sales, pray for us.

Fr. Sheridan

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Immaculate Conception

We are celebrating the feast on Wednesday, December 7 with a vigil Mass at 6:30 pm in the Church and an 8:00 Mass on December 8 in the Church. It is a Holy Day of Obligation.

Advent Prayer and Reconciliation Service Thursday, December 15 at 6:30 p.m. in Saint Mary’s Church.

The Advent Season is an appropriate time of year to reflect on our lives in a Sacramental way,
and to engage in special moments of prayer to prepare for a new birth of Christ in our hearts this Christmas season.
It’s a time to set our course for the New Year!
Let’s come together as a community of faith and give ourselves the gift of time to slow down and ponder the many ways in which God blesses and sustains each of us in our daily lives, and longs to grow closer to us with unconditional love.
At the conclusion of the Service, if you choose, you may receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation privately with a priest. We hope you will join us for this extraordinary time of prayer.

2022 Finance Reports

Finance Reports


150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

Once again I write to you to say “thank you” for welcoming me into your town and parish as interim administrator as you await the arrival of your new pastor. As you may remember I was here for the month of June and then returned in mid-October. I will be leaving on November 25. That is the day Fr. John Sheridan will arrive. Since Fr. Mahoney and Fr. Ronan retired on June 5th, the parishes have been in limbo. Fr. Vin Gianni was here temporarily from July 1 through mid-October. The presence of Fr. Sheridan will bring some necessary stability to the Catholic community of Charlestown. He is a wonderful person and a faith filled priest. He brings with him valuable experience, a sense of humor and a love for ministry.

Since I was the pastor at St Catherine from 1990 – 1996 your community has undergone many changes and at the same time there is a strong history and tradition that is a source of great pride. I have truly enjoyed my ministry among you as I have renewed many friendships and welcomed new people into my life. One of my greatest joys is writing columns for the weekly church bulletin. It is an opportunity to let our parishioners know who I am and hopefully add to the knowledge and understanding we have of our faith, the Church and ourselves. Many people have commented on how much they enjoy reading my thoughts because it challenges us to rethink some of the beliefs and teachings that we believed were written in stone, but can be understood in new ways that can bring us to healthier concepts of God and ourselves.

I read recently this statement from Ben Sasse who now holds political office but hopes to be a college president. “Education, properly understood, isn’t exclusively – or even primarily – about transmitting information. Education is about learning how to humbly and meaningfully engage ideas.” We as Catholic Christians, who are passionate about our faith, have the privilege of sharing our beliefs with others. We also can benefit greatly from learning about the life experiences and beliefs of those who understand God differently than we do.

The neighborhood of Charlestown and the Catholic community have had a major impact on my life. I am grateful for your affirmation and example. You are in my prayers.

Enjoy life!

Fr. Coyne