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Paul Martin

Cardinal O’Malley Statement on Venezeulan Refugees and Immigration Policy

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

Immigration policies and practices stand as an abiding moral, legal and political challenge to our Commonwealth and our country. We have delayed far too long in developing an effective response to immigrants, migrants, and refugees at a moment when the movement of men, women, children, and families surpasses any other known example in our history.

Our common humanity is the lens through which our response to immigrants and refugees must be judged. Pope Francis has made the plight of immigrants and refugees a constant theme of his pontificate. The Holy Father’s witness, In word and deed, has been based on understanding immigrants and refugees as pilgrims forced by socio-economic conditions,
human rights abuses, and the climate crisis to leave their homes in search of safety, security and stability for themselves and their families.

This week the humanity and vulnerability which immigrants and refugees share has come home to us in Massachusetts. The Venezuelan refugees have come from a situation of enormous oppression and suffering in their own country.

As is often the case, human tragedy evokes moral goodness. The citizens of Martha’s Vineyard have shown us all how common humanity motivates generosity and effective kindness. I commend young and old for their example and effective response.

The need for a systematic longer-term response is required. I thank Governor Baker for his promise of providing shelter and security for those who have come to us in Massachusetts without either. An effective strategy inevitably requires the leadership and assistance of state and city government. Within that basic framework other organizations can then make their skilled response.

Catholic Charities of Boston has informed me of their readiness to cooperate with civil authorities in welcoming those who come to our Commonwealth in need of assistance. Not only Venezuelans, but Haitians and other Latin Americans are caught up in the crushing emergency of the U.S. southern border. When non-profit agencies can partner with civil authorities, people at risk will find welcome, support and space to organize their lives.

In a globalized world, immigration challenges will continue. In our country a broken immigration system requires immediate reform. From the Dreamers who still seek legal stability in their lives, to those fleeing war in Ukraine, poverty in Latin America and Africa, or crises in the Middle East, the call of our common humanity will be with us for years to come. I pray we will be equal to the challenge.

St. Vincent de Paul – Feast Day
September 27

Saint Vincent de Paul built a network of missions and confraternities for those in need beginning in the 1600s. This foundation for a global charity system now operates in 142 countries. In the United States, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul comes to the aid of 12 million people annually. Vincentians come from all walks of life and work for a noble purpose. In their work to address the needs of the poor, both spiritually and materially, they see the face of Christ.

*** Saint Mary—Saint Catherine of Siena Parish has always been a part of the St. Vincent de Paul Society’s mission. Due to your support, so far this year the St Vincent de Paul Conference of our parish has helped 44 families with their various needs. (rental assistance, beds, tables, lamps, and much more) And due to your generosity SdVP also participated in a towel drive for Harvest on Vine. Thank you for your help and please continue to remember the poor boxes at the back of the Church, or you can mail a donation to the Parish Center at 46 Winthrop St. 100% of all donations go to help those in need! All is much appreciated by those we serve.

Don’t miss the Blessing of the Animals on Sunday,
October 2nd at Noon!

This year, the blessing will take place in the Training Field (not Thompson Square).
Ministers from the various churches will be present to offer prayers and confer a blessing. All pets must be on a leash or in a container,
All pets, stuffed animals, pictures of your animals are welcome for this annual
Charlestown tradition which takes place around the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi
(October 4th), patron saint of animals and the environment and known also for his powerful Prayer of Peace:

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; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Spread the word!!!

Fr. Ronan wrote this article in 2016 on the occasion of the Blessing of the Animals.
Though he is not able to be come with his faithful dog, Lily, we will remember them in
spirit. Please note that the Blessing of the Animals will take place on October 2 at
Noon in the Training Field and NOT Thompson Square. All pets must be leashed.


Winter in Andahuaylas means a deep and dry cold that only diminishes as the brilliant Andean sun rises and blesses the landscape with warmth and light. It was July, and I had been at the parish there for only six weeks. I arrived by bus after two days of travelling from Lima. The air is thin and the altitude is around 8,500 feet above the Pacific coast. The entire reality was beyond anything I had ever known or imagined.

At 7 o’clock, morning Mass began and I arrived each day around 6:30. Slowly the parishioners would come into the darkened church building, shuffling in sandals made from old truck tires, warmly wrapped in ponchos. Some women carried a child or two. Many were elderly, and women always wore their hats with long braided hair flowing behind. They are a beautiful people, these Peruvians, whose ancestors have lived in these regions for countless generations.

Each day in a few benches in front of me, an elderly woman would slowly come down the aisle saying her prayers and sit down. Very shortly after, an old dog would sort of tip-toe down the aisle and go to her. She would immediately shoo the dog away. The dog would obey, sort of, for he would simply step back and lie down under the bench behind her. I watched this game go on for months until one day the woman did not arrive.

Later that day, I heard she was ill and shortly after we celebrated her funeral. A few days passed, and one morning I sat in the half-light of the dawn in the church when I heard the unmistakable sound of the dog’s approach. Wagging his tail, he went to the bench where he always found the old woman. He looked around everywhere and even came over to me. Finally, he stretched out under her bench and with a sigh, waited for her return.

I recall the story vividly and continue to be touched by the beauty and the faithfulness of a dog. We have seen other accounts as well, sometimes of dogs who serve in the military and display astonishing faithfulness toward soldiers in life and death. Yet all of us who are blessed to be accompanied by a pet have our own stories and we know.

On Sunday, October 2, we will celebrate the annual Blessing of the Animals in Charlestown. In the Training Field at Noon, folks from all of the churches and beyond will arrive for a beautiful service as the various ministers offer prayers and blessings on the gathered animals and all present to share the day. Well behaved pets are welcome to the 10:30 Mass that day. All pets must be leashed. After Mass we will go over to the Training Field for the blessing.

Not long ago a friend gifted me with a simple image of a black lab and a prayer that read: “Lord, make me as good a person my dog thinks I am”. Indeed!

Fr. Ronan

Parabel of the Unjust Steward

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

In order to appreciate fully the import of today’s gospel text, which gives us the parable of the Unjust Steward, we must remember that parables, unlike allegories, focus on only one element in the comparison. Thus, the lesson to be drawn from this parable is that the followers of Jesus must also act prudently in regard to their own future prospects.

It should also be noted that this steward, though lacking in good management, was probably not as unjust as at first appears. In all likelihood, he was simply subtracting his own substantial commission from the debt owed to his master. This would be similar to the prudence of a small-market baseball team that trades away a good player because he is eligible for free agency and will be lost anyway!

The sayings that follow the parable sharpen its focus by making it clear that what Jesus has in mind is the attitude that his followers must adopt in regard to their earthly possessions, whether they be wealth or personal talents. If one allows these human and temporal things to monopolize one’s attention, there is grave danger that the eternal treasure will be lost.

Life Implications
A distinctive feature of Luke’s gospel is the deep concern he shows for the dangerous situation of wealthy or talented individuals who have become so engrossed in managing their riches that they are fatally distracted from the real purpose of human life. In this situation, they may very well be so distracted that they will discover, only when it is too late, that they have wasted the only ultimately significant opportunity in their lives. This same lesson is found in the situation of a strikingly beautiful person who has never needed to develop a mature and pleasing personality. This is what is meant when we speak of the “curse” of great talent.

This wisdom is also dramatically portrayed in Luke’s parable of the rich man and Lazarus (16:19-31). It is important to notice that this rich man is never presented as one who has acquired his wealth through crime or some other immoral strategy. He ends up in hell simply because he is so preoccupied in managing his wealth that he does not notice that a poor man is starving on his doorstep!

This sensitivity of Luke concerning the danger of earthy possessions derives in part from his observation of the effect of wealth on the inhabitants of his hometown of Antioch. This was a prosperous trading center where the extremes of wealth and poverty were clearly evident. Luke warns, therefore, that possessions can have, in a sense, a drugging effect on their owners. One sees this clearly in Luke’s story of the rich farmer who is worrying about building bigger barns for his bountiful harvest whereas God is calling him to face final judgment (12:16-20).

Luke does not condemn wealth as such. What he does condemn is a preoccupation or obsession with riches that precludes one’s need to place the awareness of others and of their needs at the top of one’s list of responsibilities. When the gospel says that we must choose between God and mammon, it is asking us to declare where we finally put our trust. Wealth and talents can serve God’s purposes, but they must never replace God as the center of our attention in life.

Demetrius R. Dumm, O.S.B.

O God of Mercy and Comfort,

You are the One we can turn to for help in
moments of weakness and times of need.
Please be with those who struggle each day to
be free of any substances that can harm them.
Psalm 107:20 says that you send out your
Word and heal your people. So then, please
send your healing Word to all who are in
need. In the name of Jesus,
drive out all sickness and affliction from their bodies.

Dear God, please turn their weakness into strength,
their suffering into compassion,
their sorrow into joy, and their pain into
comfort for others. May they trust in your
goodness and hope in your faithfulness, even
in the middle of their struggles. Fill them
with patience and joy in your presence as they
breathe in your healing life.

Please restore them to wholeness.
Remove all fear and doubt from their hearts
by the power of your Holy Spirit, and
may you, Lord, be glorified in their lives.
As you heal and renew them, Lord, may
they bless and praise you.
All of this, in the name of Jesus Christ.

Our New Pastor – Fr. John Sheridan

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

On Friday, September 2nd, we received the good news that Cardinal Seán O’Malley has appointed Fr. John Sheridan as Pastor of St. Francis de Sales and St. Mary-St. Catherine of Siena Parishes.

A native of Newton, he was ordained in 1990 and has served in a variety of assignments in the Archdiocese including Pastor of St. James Parish, Salem; the Cranberry Catholic Collaborative in Middleboro, Lakeville, and Rochester; and currently of Blessed Mother of the Morning Star Collaborative in Revere, Chelsea, and Everett.

Because of commitments Fr. Sheridan has in his current Parish, he will begin his work among our Parish and St. Francis de Sales Parish on the first weekend of Advent, November 26/27. Fr. Sheridan is from a big family and loves sports, music, technology, and movies.

Fr. Sheridan has done a number of Masses on Catholic TV. If you would like to hear one of his homilies, you can see him on or or tune in this September 24th for the 9:30 am Mass.

Let us offer prayers of thanksgiving to God and let us pray for Fr. John Sheridan, that he may be granted all of the graces he needs as he begins the process of completing his work at his current Parish and transitions to our Parishes in Charlestown.

TO STRUGGLE By Fr. Ronan (reprint with updates)

Once I heard it said that if it were possible for one to bundle into a package all of one’s problems and struggles and place it in a bucket and everyone else did the same, and then each could select the bundle one preferred to carry, one would choose one’s own. Of course, I question how valid such a theory might be. Rather it seems that, objectively speaking at least, some struggles are more difficult to carry than others.

The privilege of being a parish priest invites me into numerous realities of people’s lives. For example, I just hung up the phone with a man who explained he has been diagnosed with ALS. Earlier in the day, I spoke with a family whose precious son lives with autism. Walking across town on my way to Mass, a parishioner stopped and asked if I would bless the three little children he had with him who had been in an abusive home and now live with him and his wife.

Not all struggles appear huge and often one’s problems and suffering are not obvious. At other times, our challenges are very public and the pain is, too. We work at convincing ourselves that we should be able to manage things on our own. Perhaps we feel too ashamed and fear being judged negatively so much so that we cannot imagine the benefits that can come from sharing our situations with others. And so we deny ourselves the opportunity to receive support from those who are ready and willing to listen and walk with us.

Suffering is a part of life and no life seems to escape it. Depending on one’s support systems, which often times include reliance on God’s grace and a faith community to support them, there are individuals and families who are gifted with the courage and perseverance to forge ahead in the midst of life’s struggles, pains and losses. As a priest, I have witnessed that faith, prayer, and community are always invaluable resources for us, but especially when we are in pain. The recognition that “I am not alone in my struggle” is crucial.

Our Charlestown community is equipped with professionals who are eager and competent to help, but also there are persons in our community ready to be a source of friendship and support. Truth is, no one is truly independent and no one can make it on his or her own – we all need one another. And even more so, we need God, Who is waiting for us and Who knows us so well and loves us so deeply and unconditionally. Perhaps this realization is one of the gifts that come from suffering.

The month of September is designated as National Recovery month. Every year the Charlestown Coalition collaborates with other groups in our town to offer various events which increase awareness of substance use, prevention, and recovery, and to remember those who, sadly, have lost their lives as a result of substance use. Our Parish often remembers these intentions in our Prayers of the Faithful at our Masses.

On Sunday evening, September 18th, we will gather at the 6PM Mass, as we have done in Septembers past, to especially pray for those in recovery, those who struggle with substance use, and for their families. The Paschal Candle will be lit in remembrance of those who have lost their lives to this dreadful disease. After Mass, you may inscribe the names of those you want included in our Parish Book of Intentions and they will be lifted up in prayer at every Mass. All are warmly welcomed to join us in this time of prayer and always.

Change is Tough

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

We thought you might enjoy a
reprint of an article by Fr. Ronan

I was twenty years old and finishing my second year of college when my parents decided it was time to sell the family home in Dorchester. Some of my older siblings had already moved on and I was the youngest. The neighborhood had changed a lot and my Dad planned to semi-retire and make a move to a smaller home in the suburbs. I spent a lot of that summer cleaning, moving and packing, and remembering. What a great old house that was and how hard it was to say goodbye – to change and to move on.

My story and memories are no different then those of so many of you as well, I imagine. We have all gone through changes in life – it is simply part of the journey. And if there has not been too much changing in your life – just wait a minute – something will come along real soon! Changes in the Church are sort of like changes in our homes and families – they are so close and personal to us. Of course we all come to realize that change is inevitable in all but the most fundamental things.

For example, our faith that sustains us daily; the love we share in families and friendships and the hope that is ours for tomorrow and into the future. These are all constants and we depend upon them each day. Our faith, hope and love may grow, be challenged and be taken for granted – but they are cornerstones of our life. It seems so much else changes. People, relationships, experiences, work, institutions, products, places and on and on – all come and go, leaving us to cope with an ever changing landscape.

And how do we cope as men and women of Faith with the changes in our lives and world? Some see changes as conspiracy and are threatened by change. Others see changes as exciting and inevitable and positive. Some are indifferent, others passionate about holding on to whatever.

For me, 6 Percival Street is gone – forever. All that was important in my life that happened at 6 Percival Street is a part of me and my brothers and sisters and our lives. Saying goodbye was hard as it often is. But, saying goodbye usually means we are saying hello as well. And if my history is any indication of my journey, and maybe yours, God has always been active in both the goodbyes and hellos – sustaining, helping guiding. In fact, it is in exactly the act of letting go of what is comfortable and familiar that we are invited to trust in the God who knows us so well and loves us so much. Sustained by this trust, we can go forward with hope.

Fr. Ronan

Prayer for Labor Day

On this weekend, when we rest from our usual labors, loving God, we pray for all
those who shoulder the tasks of human labor—
in the marketplace, in factories and offices, in the professions, and
in family living.

We thank you, Lord, for the gift and opportunity of work;
may our efforts always be pure of heart, for the good of others and
the glory of your name.

We lift up to you all who long for just employment and
those who work to defend the rights and needs of workers everywhere.
May those of us who are now retired always remember
that we still make a valuable contribution to our Church and our
world by our prayers and deeds of charity.

May our working and our resting all give praise to you
until the day we share together in eternal rest with all our departed
in your Kingdom as you live and reign Father, Son, and Holy
Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

September 8 – The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Church has celebrated Mary’s birth since at least the sixth century. A September birth was chosen because the Eastern
Church begins its Church year with September. The September 8 date helped determine the date for the feast of the Immaculate
Conception on December 8. Scripture does not give an account of Mary’s birth. However, the apocryphal Protoevangelium of James fills in the gap.
According to this account, Anna and Joachim are infertile but pray for a child. They receive the promise of a child who will advance God’s plan of salvation for the world. Such a story, like many biblical counterparts, stresses the special presence of God in Mary’s life from the beginning.
Saint Augustine connects Mary’s birth with Jesus’ saving work. “She is the flower of the field from whom bloomed the precious lily of the valley. Through her birth the nature inherited from our first parents is changed.” The opening prayer at Mass speaks of the birth of Mary’s Son as the dawn of our salvation, and asks for an increase of peace.

Delight in our God

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

We thought you might enjoy
a reprint of an article by Fr.
Ronan from 2016.

This week I returned to the Parish after more than 2 weeks of vacation time. Adapting to the change of pace that comes about from leaving one’s work-a-day world does not happen quickly. In fact, for the first days Charlestown and activities in the Parish were never far from my mind. Even though I returned to Charlestown for several commitments that emerged, slowly I became more used to the rhythm of the beautiful summer days along the coast in the Plymouth area. The natural loveliness of this corner of the coastline is alluring, and spending as much time as possible out-of-doors made the time go slowly. Gradually, the disconnect began to happen.

When every waking moment is not filled with issues, people, projects and various needs and challenges of the Parish, something else seeps in. I became much more conscious of everything around me: the sea and the tides, the birds and wildlife, the sunshine and the showers, the morning coffee and the quiet. As you know, Charlestown is not a quiet place – certainly not at St. Catherine’s Rectory which is under the Tobin Bridge and periodically sways to the weight of passing vehicles. Yet out on Duxbury, Kingston and Plymouth Bays – it is the sound of the ocean passing under the hull of the sailboat, the screeching of the gulls and the hurried chirps of the diving wrens that are heard.

And I do love to sail, a cat boat preferably and my 35 year old Marshall Sandpiper, only 15’ long, seems to love to be out on the water no matter the wind and conditions. Yet the sea is a master teacher and one who does not heed, very carefully, the signs and songs of the sea, pays a steep price.

There are few things I have done in my adult life that have so consistently been so humbling! It is the tide and the currents along with the winds and gusts that all play into a day of sailing, and it is never boring. For me what seems to slowly fall away is the need to be busy and productive – a trap we all might fall into. Stepping outside of that, one’s senses are sharper and creativity more evident. There is a sense of knowing more completely that God is always active – all around in every moving and living thing as well as in the sky, rocks, the air and the sea.

The power of God is easier to see and feel and to be amazed at. One knows that God is always “there” yet that is not to say that I am always present to God. Any of us can get caught into a trap, become stale, and miss the subtlety of the movement of God’s Spirit everywhere. Days away make possible a sense of being surrounded by and enfolded in the beauty of God.

The word “delight” is found often in the Book of Psalms and especially as used to describe how God delights in God’s creation – including you and me. Yes, I believe we are a source of delight to God! This God, Who is Love, sees us and all that surrounds us as a cause of delight. Isn’t that amazing? And so I have come to believe that just as God delights in us, God also wishes that we delight in God and in all of the beauty and wonder of God’s creation.

Now I am back in Charlestown. Many of us walk everyday all over town. And way too many walk looking down at smart phones and listening to music actually oblivious to all that surrounds us. Even a casual “good morning” goes unheeded because a fellow walker is someplace else wrapped in some distant busyness far from the beauty of the birdsong, bright summer flowers, the screeching gulls coming off the harbor and the sounds of children playing in a yard. Delight is missed all around.

It is good to be back in the Parish – really! Yet it so good to step away, as well, and become refreshed in all that God is – and to delight in it all.

Fr. Ronan

Ministry to the Sick and Homebound

We welcome the opportunity to provide the Sacraments of Confession, Communion or Anointing of the Sick to anyone who is homebound, either on a short or longer term basis, as we want to do our best to help them feel connected to our community.

Please call us at 617-242-4664 if you, a relative or neighbor is open to having a home visit for some friendly conversation and prayer.

Who Are YOU ?

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena
Image of Face of Jesus

Not many people are honest enough or brave enough to ask the question in today’s Gospel.  Just think about you asking some friend or perhaps, more courageously, some enemy – Who do you say that I am….What do people think of me?  Or perhaps move to another step and ask yourself – Who am I? 

I recently read a story about a doctor in a New York City Hospital who makes time to attend Mass every day.  When someone told him how impressed they were, he said he was not always so faithful.  It was a patient who made him look at his life.  He said he would do rounds every day with his students examining patients.  As they entered the room, the patients would look intimidated and apprehensive except one man, an African American in his sixties who was very sick.  He said the man would always greet them with “Hey boys and girls”, as if they were a bunch of teenagers.  Sometimes the patient would make the students nervous, as one said – “He seems to look right through us.”

The man grew worse, he was sinking.  The doctor went to see him alone and the man opened his eyes with a grin and said “Well” – like he expected the doctor.  The doctor did not say anything as he read the chart.  Then the man hit the doctor with a single remark that was half a question and half something else.  He asked with a smile, “Who are you?”  The doctor first thought that because of the drugs that he did not recognize him but as if sensing what the doctor was thinking, he said, “Dr. Smith, who are you?”  The doctor started to say, well as you know, I am a doctor and then he just stopped cold.  It was hard for him to describe or sort out what went on in his head.  All kinds of answers went through his mind which all seemed true and yet somehow less than true. 

Yes, I am this, but I am also that, but that is not the whole picture.  The doctor’s confusion must have shown because the man gave him a grin and closed his eyes.  The doctor asked, “Is there anything I can do for you?”  The man said no, I am tired.  He died a few hours later.  

My friend, the doctor, could not get him or his question out of his mind– who are you?  For years he had trained as a physician and got lost in his profession.  He realized that the man had taken away his degree, tossed it back to him and said – but who are you….beyond the degree?  The story does the same for us.  Who are you beyond the facade, the front that you put up?  Who are you beyond your job title, degree or trade? 

So often we try to be like the people we see in the commercials who are neat, well-dressed, smiling, smelling great, hair gleaming, underarms sterilized, homes comfortable and lives that are stress free.  There is no blemish – laughter – joy and the good life abound but that is not real, that is not who we are.  Who are you beyond all the externals?  Who do people say that I am, is the question that Jesus asks in today’s Gospel?  How you answer that question says a lot about you. 

Does Jesus have any effect on your day to day living…on the way you treat others…on the way you treat yourself?  There is danger that people fall into and that is we try to make Jesus in our image and likeness and we humans often do this.  The crusaders of the twelfth century tried to make him into a warrior who delighted in the slaughter of Muslims.

The Ku Klux Klan has tried to make him into a middle class white American. Catholics have tried to make Jesus Catholic and Protestants have tried to make him Protestant. Many of us have been guilty in one way or another, trying to make Christ in our own image. We want him to be like us.

We want Jesus to be the kind of Savior that we want.  Sometimes we fail to realize that we do not call Jesus, He called us to follow Him.  Yes, He has called you, not only Priests and religious but you sitting in the pew.  It was His cross that was signed on your forehead and because of your Baptism you are a disciple of Christ.  The question that we all ask ourselves is – are we living it?

Christ is here with us and someday He will come in power and glory to place all creation at the feet of his Father.  But today He comes quietly, subtly, invisibly and wherever you are, look for Him in the preached word.  In the host at communion time, look for Him inside you.  Look for Him at home on the faces of your dear ones but look for Him, especially where He told you to look.  In the hungry and thirsty, the stranger and the naked, the sick and the imprisoned and the AIDs afflicted and the drug addicted.

I would ask you to think about this wherever you go in life, where you work, where you play and pray and where you live or go to school.  If anyone is looking for Christ, will they find Him in you or do they have to look for another?  If Jesus were to ask you – who do you say that I am – what would your answer be?

Fr. Bob Warren, SA

Across the nation, public and religious schools are facing a shortage of teachers as we head into the fall. In the Archdiocese of Boston, we are seeking teaching candidates at all grade levels for our Catholic schools.

We also need substitute teachers. We are open to teachers who will teach even a single course, if they are not able to take on a full course load. We also are open to candidates who are not able to make a full-year commitment but are willing to help out for just the fall or spring.

We have a particular shortage for math, science, technology and engineering teaching positions. We also need qualified teachers who speak Spanish, Portuguese, Vietnamese, Chinese, French Creole and other languages given the many diverse languages spoken by the families we serve.

In particular, we encourage applications from:
• Retired Catholic school or public-school teachers;
• Retired military who may have experience that would make them a strong teacher of global studies, math, science, technology, engineering and many other subjects;
• Retired college professors;
• Parishioners with business or nonprofit experience that would make them excellent teachers in science, technology, engineering, math, business or entrepreneurship or other subjects;
• Parents who successfully homeschooled their children; and
• Parishioners with Catholic youth ministry experience.

All candidates, as with any Catholic school teacher, are subject to CORI background checks and will need to complete the Archdiocese’s Protecting God’s Children training.

Please consider this opportunity yourself but also share with friends and family.

Evangelizing and sharing our faith with today’s youth is paramount as we, as a society, educate them to be the leaders of tomorrow. Pope Paul VI said: “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.” It is crucial — in the midst of this teacher shortage — that we make sure we have faithful men and women like you in our schools.

If you are interested, please visit

New Pastor, Not Yet !

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

A number of parishioners have inquired if a new pastor has been assigned to our Parish. Not yet. And when one is, we will sound the proverbial trumpet blast! In the meantime, I and the Parish Staff want you to know that we are waiting with you.

The Bible has at least 40 passages on the concept of waiting and so many stories of waiting – for liberation, for guidance, for freedom, for a leader, for salvation. But none depict a people sitting around idly while they wait. They are all doing the work of the Lord in relation to God, to one another, and to the community at large.

Each of us is waiting for new leadership, and in the meantime, we are busying ourselves about God’s work whether it be the Pastoral Staff or all of you, parishioners of St. Mary-St. Catherine of Siena. Life in the Parish continues as does your lives and responsibilities. And it is always a joy to look out at all of you during Mass as I offer up silent prayers for you and for a new Pastor.

Currently, we are preparing for September – the beginning of a new year in the Parish when all of our programs start up again – Religious Education for K- 8; Youth Group; Confirmation for Adolescents, grades 9 and 10; Faith Sharing Groups; Adult Faith Formation programs for adults who want to become Catholic and those who want to receive Confirmation, and more.

We are so grateful for Fr. Gianni, our interim Administrator, our priests, Fr. Anthony, Fr. Britto, and Fr. Mark. They continue to nourish us well. We are grateful, also, for all of our Parish volunteers. We couldn’t function without you!

We could use more help. We are in need of persons to assist with Religious Education, Adolescent Confirmation, and other ministries. Fr. Gianni commented that it would great if everything were to be in place for the new pastor!

Please call me to have a conversation about your interests or speak with me at the end of Mass. Together, we can continue to make our Parish the welcoming, spiritually nourishing, and vibrant community that we so love.

The Prophet Habakkuk wrote:
For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end…. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.

Let us pray for one another and let’s make a commitment to pray each day for the new pastor who will one day come at the “appointed time.” And when he arrives, let’s give him a wonderful St. Mary-St. Catherine of Siena welcome!

Sr. Nancy

Solemnity of the Assumption of
the Blessed Virgin Mary is August 15
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church

(966) “Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death.”506 The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son’s Resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians:
In giving birth you kept your virginity; in your Dormition you did not leave the world, O Mother of God, but were joined to the source of Life. You conceived the living God and, by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death. . . . she is our Mother in the order of grace

Note: When this Solemnity falls on a Monday or Saturday,
the obligation to attend Mass is abrogated

Ancestral Courage

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena
Faith under dark clouds

What is faith? The writer of the Letter to the Hebrews tells us: “Faith is confident assurance concerning what we hope for, and conviction about things we do not see.” It is not a function of organic vision. Rather, it is an act of seeing in trust.

Long ago, when I spent a month working at the “house of the dying” in Calcutta, I sought a sure answer to my future. On the first morning I met Mother Teresa after Mass at dawn. She asked, “And what can I do for you?” I asked her to pray for me.
“What do you want me to pray for?” I voiced the request I had borne for thousands of miles: “Pray that I have clarity.” She said no. That was that.

When I asked why, she announced that clarity was the last thing I was clinging to and had to let go of. When I commented that she herself had always seemed to have the clarity I longed for, she laughed: “I have never had clarity; what I’ve always had is trust. So I will pray that you trust.” Thus Mother Teresa became for me a member of that cloud of witnesses to which the Letter to the Hebrews refers: heroes of faith, who had conviction about things unseen.

So it was with Abraham and Sarah, who believed they would give birth to a child in their old age (the very idea was enough to make Sarah laugh out loud) and make “descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sands of the seashore.”

The Letter to the Hebrews celebrates the faith of Abel, dead but still teaching us; of Noah and his improbable ark; of Jacob, at death’s door, finally able to bless Joseph’s sons; of Moses, the child unguarded and abandoned, who would one day lead a nation) against impossible odds, into a territory his feet would never touch.

Faith felled the walls of Jericho and saved the prostitute Rahab. It was faith, the letter says, that discovered new lands, bestowed wondrous strength, and inspired uncommon courage in ordinary men and women. Some were pilloried, flogged, even chained in prison, stoned, beheaded, homeless, dressed in rags, penniless, given nothing but ill-treatment, living in caves and deserts and ravines.” (Heb 11:33) They were all heroes of faith, the letter continues, but they did not live to see what was promised.

How much we have to learn from the great ones who have gone before us, not only the Hebrew saints praised above, but our own as well—those who, after Christ, believed in him despite adversity. We imagine faith to ease confusion, dull the pain, redeem the times, but we miss the testimony of the clouds of witnesses. Our faith does not bring final clarity on this earth. It does not disarm the demons. It does not still the chaos or dull the pain or provide a crutch so we might walk. When all else is unclear, the heart of faith says, “into your hands I commend my spirit.” So it was with all our heroes.

These died in faith. They did not obtain what had been promised but saw and saluted it from afar … searching for a better, a heavenly home. (Heb 11:13)

John Kavanaugh, SJ
Center for Sunday Liturgy

Peace is the ardent yearning of humanity today. Consequently, there is an urgent need,
through dialogue at all levels, to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence. This dialogue must invite all people to reject violence in every form, including violence done to the
environment. —Pope Francis


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

If any of the above questions apply to you, we are here to accompany you on your journey of faith. 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 readings, discussions, and prayer time. 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.

Please contact Sr. Nancy Citro, SND deN
at (617) 242 -4664
for more information.

Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is August 15
Note: When this Solemnity falls on a Monday or Saturday, the obligation to attend Mass is abrogated

Care of the Earth

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

This article is a reprint of one written by me several years ago. The urgency that is
being described in various news reports these days to save our planet, Mother Earth,
caused me to reprint it this week and to share an experience that brings the need to
support efforts to address climate change in my life, and I hope in yours. – Sr. Nancy

February 12, 2005: I remember that day well, as often happens when tragedy strikes. I was in my office at Mother St. Joseph House (a Sister of Notre Dame Rest Home) when I received the phone call. Details were sketchy but the dreadful and unwelcome news was certain.

I asked the staff to gather the sisters in the Chapel as I had some important news to share. I prayed silently for wisdom and strength. Upon taking my place at the front of the chapel, I
looked at the sisters’ faces and I knew that the most merciful thing to do was to get to the point. And so I told them that our sister, Dorothy Stang, in Brazil, had been killed as she was walking along a road on her way to a meeting in the area of Boa Esperança (Good Hope).

It was said that when the assassins stopped her on the road, they asked her if she had a gun. She responded that her weapon was her Bible and began reading the Beatitudes from Matthew, Chapter 5. Her voice was silenced with six gun shots. Sister Dorothy had received many credible death threats for her work with the poor in their struggle for the protection of the environment, particularly the Amazon rainforest where they learned to farm and extract products for their livelihood without harming the environment. I heard that on her last home visit to Ohio, where she was from, she was encouraged not to return to Brazil because of these threats. She is quoted as saying:

“I don’t want to flee, nor do I want to abandon the battle of these farmers who live without any protection in the forest. They have the sacrosanct right to aspire to a betr life on
land where they can live and work with dignity while respecting the ecosystem.”

It was a very sad time, especially for those of us in the States who knew Dorothy and some of the other sisters in Brazil. It was a very sorrowful time for our sisters in Brazil who had lived and worked with her at one time or another. It was a devastating time for the Brazilian poor who labored with her shoulder to shoulder and considered her to be one with them. Many also had lost loved ones in their struggle to preserve the rainforest from destruction by loggers and ranchers who were illegally cutting down trees, using the land for cattle grazing and threatening the inhabit ants if they did not leave.

The poor of Brazil named Dorothy the “Angel of the Amazon.” On the day of her funeral, the people took turns, carrying her for miles from village to village to her
resting place where they adamantly stated that they were not burying her but planting her.

The struggle in that region of Brazil is ongoing and lives continue to be lost. But
they live in the hope that one day, justice will prevail. Their struggle is not just for their own survival. They know the importance of the rainforest for the world’s climate and for future generations. It is said that the “blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.” But too much blood has been and is being shed.

On his visit to Brazil a few years ago, Pope Francis met with some indigenous Brazilians who shared these struggles with him. In one of his many speeches there, the Pope spoke to our duty to protect the indigenous people. He also challenged us to take seriously our responsibilities as stewards of God’s creation to protect the environment—to develop a strong commitment to the Earth. “This creation,” he said, should not “be indiscriminately exploited, but rather made into a garden.”

Our “garden” is polluted and we are in what some call a “defining moment in history.” In the document Today’s Challenge to Action: the Care of the Earth, penned by several Sisters of Notre Dame, we are told that “climate scientists the world over as well as indigenous communities and world spiritual leaders agree that Earth is in crisis. This is a matter of very great importance. The natural balance of our planet which nurtured and protected humanity for thousands of years has been disrupted by human activity. The disruption is so devastating and is occurring so rapidly that scientists are telling us that we must act now to stop the momentum toward a situation in which human civilization as we have known it is no longer possible on Earth.

We are slowly coming to consciousness that we humans hold the fate of the planet, and therefore also our fate, in our own hands. We live in an era of decision. Our choices in the immediate future will direct the evolutionary process. We can continue on the path leading to death and destruction or we can change direction and give birth to a new earth of life-giving relationship.”

None of us can do everything but all of us can do something to reduce our carbon footprint and consumption of resources. Doing so will not cost us our lives or
livelihood as is happening in the Amazon and other parts of our world. If anything, it will only be an inconvenience.

So let’s educate ourselves and our children as how to best save Planet Earth. Support programs and legislation that preserve the environment. Converse with those that are detrimental to it. Recycle, conserve water, reduce the amount of electricity and paper we use, walk, bike, take the T, reduce speeds when driving, car pool, plant trees, etc.

Doing something is better than doing nothing. We can be the generation that helps to turn things around or we can be the generation that contributes to its demise and ultimately jeopardizes the future of our children..

The Power of Prayer

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

In the movie based upon Jane Austen’s classic novel, Sense and Sensibility, there’s a very poignant scene where one of her young heroines, suffering from acute pneumonia, is lying in bed hovering between life and death. A young man, very much in love with her, is pacing back and forth, highly agitated, frustrated by his helplessness to do anything of use, and jumping out of his skin. Unable to contain his agitation any longer, he goes to the girl’s mother and asks what he might do to be helpful. She replies that there’s nothing he can do, the situation is beyond them. Unable to live with that response he says to her: “Give me some task to do, or I shall go mad!”

We’ve all had the feeling at times when in the face of a dire situation we need to do something, but there’s nothing we can do, no magic wand we can wave to make things better. But there is something we can do. I recall an event in my own life several years ago: I was teaching summer school in Belgium when, late one evening, just as I was getting ready for bed, I received an email that two friends of mine, a man and a woman recently engaged, had been involved that day in a fatal car accident. He was killed instantly and she was in serious condition in hospital. I was living by myself in a university dorm, thousands of miles from where this all happened, and thousands of miles from anyone with whom I could share this sorrow. Alone, agitated, panicked, and desperately needing to do something but being absolutely helpless to do anything, I was literally driven to my knees. Not being able to do anything else, I picked up the prayer-book that contains the Office of the Church and prayed, by myself, the Vespers prayer for the dead. When I’d finished, my sorrow hadn’t gone away, my friend was still dead, but my panic had subsided, as had my desperate need to do something (when there was nothing I could do).

My prayer that night gave me some sense that the young man who’d died that day was alright, safe somewhere in a place beyond us, and it also relieved me of the agitation and panicked pressure of needing to do something in the face of agitated helplessness. I’d done the only thing I could do, the thing that’s been done in the face of helplessness and death since the beginning of time; I’d given myself over to prayer and to the rituals of the community and the faith of the community.

It’s these, prayer and ritual, which we have at our disposal at those times when, like the man in Sense and Sensibility, we need to do something or we will go mad. That’s not only true for heavy, sorrowful times when loved ones are sick or dying or killed in accidents and we need to do something but there’s nothing we can do. We also need ritual to help us celebrate happy times properly. What should we do when our own children are getting married? Among other things, we should celebrate the ritual of marriage because no wedding
planner in the world can do for us what the ritual of marriage, especially the church ritual, can do. Weddings, just like funerals, are a prime example of where we need ritual to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.

Sadly, today, we are a culture that for the most part is tone-deaf ritually. We don’t understand ritual and therefore mostly don’t know what to do when we need to be doing something but we don’t know what to do. That’s a fault, a painful poverty, in our understanding.

The Trappist monks who were martyred in Algeria in 1996 were first visited by extremists who would later kidnap and kill them, on Christmas Eve, just as they were preparing to celebrate Christmas mass. After some initial threats, their eventual murderers left. The monks were badly shaken. They huddled together as a group for a time to digest what had just happened. Then, not knowing what else to do in the face of this threat and their fear, they sang the Christmas mass. In the words of their Abbott: “It’s what we had to do. It’s all we could do! It was the right thing.” He shared too, as did a number of the other monks (in their diaries) that they found this, celebrating the ritual of mass in the face of their fear and panic, something that calmed their fear and brought some steadiness and regularity back into their lives.

There’s a lesson to be learned here, one that can bring steadiness and calm into our lives at those times when we desperately need to do something but there’s nothing to do. Ritual: it’s what we have to do. It’s all we can do! It’s the right thing.

Ron Rolheiser
Center for Sunday Liturgy –

Saints Anne and
Feast Day July 26

The parents of the Virgin Mary, according to tradition derived from certain apocryphal writings. St. Anne is one of the patron saints of Brittany and Canada and of women in labor.
As the grandparents of Jesus, Saints Anne and Joachim are also considered the patron saints of grandparents.

This year Pope Francis is also extending the opportunity for a plenary indulgence “to the faithful who devote adequate time to visit, in person or virtually through the media, their elderly brothers and sisters in need or in difficulty” on July 24. For more information visit the website of