From Our Pastor

150 150 Charlestown Catholic Community

So let it go and turn it over to the One who chose to give His life for you.
Leave it to Me… I’ll lead you home.

written by Michael W. Smith

At a family gathering recently, my sister Cathy was wearing a scarf that looked very familiar to me. It was one that our mom wore, and it made me smile. It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around it, but next month will mark the 10th anniversary of my mother’s passing. I remember those days vividly- the pain of the loss, but also the comfort that she was free from any pain and soon she would be again with my dad, and her mother and father and all those she loved who had passed, at peace in Jesus Christ. Like everyone else, I grieved, but the rites of the faith that we love gave me courage and confidence. The funeral Mass was filled with as much laughter as
tears, as many smiles as sorrow, as much hope as pain. The final song was the Battle Hymn of the Republic, an anthem that reflected her courage and resilience.

Untie him… and let him go. One of the hardest realities in life we all must face is the death of a loved one. The process of grief is different for us all, but our faith gives us something wonderful, the promise of eternal life. The Gospel of Lazarus’ coming out of the tomb, and Jesus’ words to untie him and let him go mean many
things to us- first of all, it points us to the resurrection, the victory over the cross that we will share in two short weeks.

I often think of the words of Pope Benedict XVI, “The world offer you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.” The world wants us to believe this is everything, that there is nothing but this earth. But there is so much more- the fullness of joy, and peace, and mercy, and the fulfillment of
eternal life that the world can’t give us and keeps trying to distract us from. We will feel pain and loss and grief in this world, in this life- Jesus felt it, but the call comes in finding Him in the middle of it- and rising through it with new hope- and that will lead us to our true home- not in this world- in the Kingdom of Heaven. That’s
the promise that keeps us focused until that gloriously happy day when we are together again!

I miss my mother- but I hear her voice in my sisters, and now in my nieces and great nieces, and I am comforted. It makes me so sad to see so many people who can’t seem to find the faith to let go of their loved ones- it doesn’t mean we forget them- no, quite the opposite- it means we love them enough to live joyfully in the confident hope that we will see them again. Easter is just around the corner- victory awaits. Leave it to Him, He’ll lead us, and our loved ones, home.


I am so grateful to Michelle Sylvia, Eleanor Hurley, and Margo Morin, as well as John Volpe and Tim Leahy, and
so many who came over the three days of our Collaborative Lenten Mission! I’m already thinking about next Lent

Please join us on Thursday, March 30th at 6:30 pm for a Reconciliation Service at St. Mary’s Church as we turn
the corner in the Lenten season and look up and ahead to Holy Week and Easter!

On Holy Saturday morning, April 8 at 9:30 am please join us at St. Mary’s Church and St. Francis de Sales
churches! Both parishes will be decorated and spruced up for Easter! Many hands will make light work as we’ll prepare to celebrate Easter and the season that it brings!

June 4th will be a very special day for the Charlestown Catholic Community as I am installed as pastor of St. Francis de Sales and St. Mary- St. Catherine Parishes by his classmate and friend, Bishop Mark O’Connell, Vicar General of the Archdiocese, at the 11 am Mass at St. Mary’s Church. A collation will follow at Bishop Lawton Hall, in the basement of St. Francis Church. Please share the good news and put this on your calendar- all are welcome! More info to come!

It’s so important that in our churches, we understand the importance of safety, so let’s keep in mind that no child should ever go alone anywhere in any of our buildings- if your child needs to use the restroom, an adult must accompany them. Thank you for your cooperation!

From our Pastor

150 150 Charlestown Catholic Community

Starting again is part of the plan,
and I’ll be so much stronger holding your hand.
Step by step, I’ll make it through… I know I can.
It may not make it easier, but I have felt you near all the way.
Coming out of the dark, I finally see the light now, and it’s shining on me.

written by Jon Secada, Gloria Estefan, Emilio Estefan

Sometime ago I was in a movie theatre and a thunderstorm hit, knocking out the power in the theatre. It was somewhat funny, since we all were already in a dark place, but it could have been scary. Everyone got up, calmly walked out the emergency doors in good humor, and I headed for home- I didn’t like the movie, anyway. For that moment when we were plunged into total darkness, it a little bewildering,

Today’s Gospel is all about darkness and light, and even as I am bedecked in rose (or pink) in the weekend when we lighten up and look ahead to the victory that Easter will bring us, the darkness that the world often presents us can seem scary- but we, who hold to the Light of the world- and He who calls us the light in turn- don’t have to be afraid- we can lead others by our lives, to faith, hope and love, to Christ.

I sincerely hope that you can join us for our Collaborative Lenten Mission on Monday at St. Mary’s, Tuesday at St. Francis, and Wednesday at St. Mary’s, at 6:30 pm each evening. We will have three outstanding speakers, music, prayer, and an opportunity to reflect about our calling to be that Light of Christ in the darkness in so many lives around us.

Laetare Sunday – 4th Sunday of Lent
March 23 Meeting at St. Francis’ Bishop Lawton Hall for all committees
St. Mary Church Easter Cleaning


The Parish could use some helping hands
to CLEAN the interior of
St. Mary’s Church for the Easter celebration
on Saturday, April 1 at 9:30 a.m.
Help is needed to DECORATE the Church for the
Easter celebration
on Saturday, April 8 at 9:30 a.m.
For those who are interested in helping, please let us know!
Call 617-242-4664 or email

From our Pastor

150 150 Charlestown Catholic Community

Come take my hand and walk with me awhile.
Let me teach you how to smile,
and I’ll show you skies where gentle breezes blow…
I’ll take you where peaceful waters flow.

written by James Weatherly

Years ago, I was at a football game, and I ran into a high school pal I hadn’t seen in years. After exchanging pleasantries and all the usual questions, he bluntly asked me whether this entire enterprise I was so deeply involved in was worth it- Jesus and his words and actions, suffering, His death and resurrection, the apostles and saints, the Church, the priesthood, the Sacraments, all of this- did I really believe it? I felt sad for my friend, because I knew he was searching, just like Jesus knew the woman at the well was in today’s Gospel.

Jesus saw this moment and seized upon it, He reached out and helped her understand the peace that the living water of baptism brings- not just when we first receive it, but every day of our lives. As we look up and look ahead to Easter, I pray the living water of new life that Christ brings renew you and reinvigorate you. Is it worth it? So much more and beyond.

Our Pastors
Fr. James Ronan (2004-2022), Fr. John Sheridan, (2022- )Fr. Paul Coughlin (-2004

From our Pastor

150 150 Charlestown Catholic Community

“It’s a terrible thing … to wait until you’re ready …
There is almost no such thing as ready.
There is only now.
And you may as well do it now.”

— Hugh Laurie, actor

Fr. John Sheridan

Everyone can remember a story when they first learned to swim. Some were thrown off the side and into in the water, others will remember that they just impulsively jumped in the pool, or ran into the pond, or lake, or ocean. It was scary, but it was exciting. A whole new world, if you will, opened- there was no looking back.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus reveals to His disciples what is ahead, but reminds them that challenges await. Peter wanted to stay in the moment, but we weren’t made for that. Sometimes we can be afraid of the future, because we don’t know what can happen, and we can feel unprepared for the challenges, but there is so much good that awaits us- we need to find the courage to let go and jump.

These are challenging days, but they can also be times when we discover the presence of God in new and unexpected ways, but the choice is always ours. May we have the courage and faith to let go of our doubts when we are at the crossroads in our lives, trust in His plan for us- to let go and jump in! The water, we’ll find, is fine.

Congratulations to Kendal Couch and Hannah O’Leary Who Are Now Members of the Elect

The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) is a program for those who seek to be full members of the Catholic Churchpersons who want to become Catholic or have been baptized Catholic but have not received the Sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist.

This year, our Parish is accompanying two women, Kendal Couch and Hannah O’Leary, who are faithfully participating in the RCIA program. Those of you who attend the 10:30 (now 11AM) Mass may recall being introduced to Kendal and Hannah in January, when they engaged in the Rite of Welcome and entered the Catechumenate stage of the program.
On February 26 at the 11AM Mass, the Rite of Sending Forth ritual occurred during which Kendal and Hannah were deemed ready to move from the status of Catechumen to that of the Elect by testimony of their sponsors and the support of our Parish Community. Therefore, Kendal and Hannah were “sent forth” to the Rite of Election at Holy Cross Cathedral. There, hundreds of RCIA participants from parishes in the Archdiocese of Boston gathered and were proclaimed to be, “the Elect”. The Elect are those who will be welcomed into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil this April.

Below you will find pictures of Kendal and Hannah as Fr. John engaged the community in praying for them as they prepared to go to the Rite of Election. Also featured is Kendal and Hannah inscribing their names in the Book of the Elect; and pictures at the Cathedral before and after the ritual (Hannah is holding the red Book of the Elect that was presented to Cardinal Seán O’Malley, at the service. Please keep Kendall & Hannah in your prayers.

If you or anyone you know would like to become Catholic or who was baptized Catholic but never received the Sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist and would like to do so, please invite them to contact Sr. Nancy. or 617-242-4554.

From our Pastor

150 150 Charlestown Catholic Community

I know the wind’s so cold… I’ve seen the darkest days,
but now the winds I feel are only winds of change.
I’ve been through the fire, and I’ve been through the rain, but I’ll be fine.
from Faith of the Heart, written by Diane Lee Warren

In a few weeks, the Boston Marathon will again capture the imagination of the sporting world, as tens of thousands of runners from all over the world gather in Hopkinton and take on this great challenge- up and down hills and through weather that can be brutal. The crowds that gather every step of their way cheer them on, encourage them, and give them strength even when it seems they can’t go on any further… but they do, and so many of them reach their goal.

We begin our Lenten journey now, marked with the ashes of humility, and I pray we encourage one another- we all carry crosses on this journey regrets, doubts, and fears, and they can wear us down. One of the encouraging things I see every year at the Marathon and in everyday life is how runners and all sorts of people support one another- bearing each other’s burdens gladly. We don’t have to do this alone.

Please encourage those around you on our journey- invite them to come to Mass, to the Stations of the Cross, to our Parish Mission and Reconciliation service, and to pray for them. May we have the eyes of faith to see the needs of those in our midst, and the courage to reach out, even when we feel weary, like Jesus felt in the desert. We’re not alone, the winds of change are blowing clear and warm, and victory isn’t far away.

This coming Saturday will be a special day to March forth, as St. Francis has a spring-cleaning day- please bring your supplies and your smiles. We’ll begin at 1:30 pm with pizza and refreshments in the hall and conclude at 4 pm with Mass in the Church.

March 20-23 will bring us a Collaborative Mission on the gifts of Faith, Hope and Love. Join us on Monday at 6:30 pm at St. Mary’s, Tuesday at 6:30 pm at St. Francis, and Wednesday at 6:30 pm at St. Mary’s. Bring a friend or family member and get a different perspective on these Christian virtues.

Catholic Appeal

Next weekend, the 2023 Catholic Appeal will officially launch here in our parish and across the Archdiocese. One of the most meaningful ways that we witness the presence of Christ and deepen the impact of our Church’s ministries is by supporting the Catholic Appeal. As your pastor, I invite you to prayerfully consider extending your generosity to this year’s appeal.

Many of you have already done so and I am deeply grateful. When our parish reaches its goal of $ 52,795 a portion of the additional funds received will be returned to us for use in our parish. To make a gift online, please visit
Thank you!

Turkey & Syria Earthquake Relief – March 5th, 2023

The Cardinal authorized a Special Collection for Turkey/Syria Earthquake Relief. St. Mary– St. Catherine Siena collection for this effort will take place at all the Masses on March 4/5, 2023

From our Pastor

150 150 Charlestown Catholic Community

For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God.

Everyone loves to laugh. Many of us have a movie or a TV show that makes us laugh, even if we’ve seen it a million times. Humor is a great way to bring people together- to help them laugh at the absurdities in life- to refresh our perspective a little bit. As a priest, I use it a lot to try to bring a point across. I have to believe God has a great sense of humor- God created us!

In today’s second reading, Paul wants to understand that this world’s so-called “wisdom” doesn’t hold a candle with God and His plan, for each of us and all of us. God is calling to a life that can be radically different than what the world wants from us- we are all called to live lives that are “counter-cultural”. That doesn’t mean we have to be radicalized or anything of that sort, but the mission remains for us to be in the world, yet not of it. There is the challenge, but there also is the opportunity.

As we turn the corner and look up and ahead to our Lenten journey, it’s important to keep in mind the seasonal obligations- no meat on Fridays, skipping a meal on Ash Wednesday & Good Friday (ages 14-59), and giving generously to the poor throughout this (and every) season. Rice Bowls for Catholic Relief Services in our churches, our parish St.
Vincent de Paul Societies, and our Harvest on Vine food pantry are perfect opportunities to give generously and joyously. Many people give up (or take on) something that is a challenge or an inconvenience this time- it helps us to be more aware, sensitive, and responsive to those around us.

There are plenty of opportunities to deepen our faith this holy season- discussions for men, women, and mixed groups as well as a Collaborative Mission in our churches March 20-22 with some great new speakers with new perspectives! The Sacrament of Reconciliation will take center stage on March 30th as we head into Holy Week and Easter in both churches- with two baptisms of adults at the Easter Vigil at St. Mary’s- and we enter the glorious months of April and May when our boys and girls receive First Holy Communion and young people receive the Sacrament of Confirmation.
Please pray for them!

Change is happening at St. Francis as Joan Rae is retiring from her role as Business Manager, as of Feb. 25.
I know how grateful we all are for her dedicated work here – especially throughout Covid and Fr. Mahoney’s retirement and the difficult period that preceded my arrival. She will remain very much involved in the pastoral and liturgical life of our parish family. We hope to have an opportunity to celebrate her soon- stay tuned.

I am grateful to so many who came to our meeting recently to talk about the future of St. Francis and how we need to build our parish. We’ve all got some work to do, but I believe in what we can accomplish together. I’m looking forward to March 4th and all the good work we can and will do together. Soon, everyone who signed up for the various committees (including a fundraising committee) will be contacted and we’ll get our marching orders about halfway through the month.

If you have any further questions, please contact me at or find me on Facebook and let’s get to work!

From our Pastor

150 150 Charlestown Catholic Community

If you choose you can keep the commandments, they will save you;
if you trust in God, you too shall live.
Sir 15:15

Fr. Sheridan

Sports are a big deal in our rectory. I’ll take the guys- to Fenway (or at least to Worcester to see the Woo Sox) this spring. Fr. Britto is a big cricket fan. I am a big baseball fan. We have both agreed that we cannot understand each other’s sport, though everyone tells us they’re a lot alike. The only things they share are bats, balls, and no time limit. We understand, though, the joy each sport brings to the fan, and both of us complain about the many rules our games have.

One of the important things about sports are the rules. Sometimes they can seem restrictive or frustrating or even unfair, but if we stop and look at them, we understand that they’re there for a reason, to keep some sense of balance and order. Music would be a discordant mess if there weren’t notes and measures- so are the strong and clear words we hear in readings today, particularly those that Jesus sets down in the Gospel.

God has given so much, at the same time He calls to live lives worthy, as St. Paul reminds, of the calling we- each and all of us- have received. The rules and laws given to us by God are intended not to punish us, but call us to deeper, more righteous, more holy lives. May our lives, acting in response to God’s calling, not only benefit us, but may they be a blessing to those around us.

From our Pastor

150 150 Charlestown Catholic Community

“People say, ‘What is the sense of our small effort?’ They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time. A pebble cast into a pond causes ripples that spread in all directions. Each one of our thoughts, words and deeds is like that. No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless. There’s too much work to do.” – Dorothy Day

One of the most important things my parents taught us growing up is not to waste time- that it was a terrible sin to watch it pass by and do nothing. Sometimes, we need to stop and pause and rest awhile- Jesus did- but it’s not wasted if it’s for a reason; to recharge our batteries and get back in the battle. Soon we will begin our journey to Jerusalem, and we need to get our focus for the battle, and we do it beautifully in service to those around us.

We have so many opportunities to serve here in our parishes, in Charlestown, in so many more places, and God is encouraging each of us to give and love and serve, particularly when it is difficult. God is calling you, there can be no doubt- if you’re looking for an opportunity to serve, please speak to any staff member; we’ll be happy to point you in the right direction.

Fr. John

Pope’s Prayer Intention for February 2023

Let us pray that parishes, placing communion –communion of people, ecclesial communion– at the center, may increasingly become communities of faith, of fraternity and of welcoming the most in need”.

World Day of the Sick, February 11

Join a Lent Faith-Sharing Group

From Our Pastor

150 150 Charlestown Catholic Community

In these times when social concerns are so important, I cannot fail to mention the Servant of God Dorothy Day, who founded the Catholic Worker Movement. Her social activism, her passion for justice and for the cause of the oppressed, were inspired by the Gospel, her faith, and the example of the saints.

How much progress has been made in this area in so many parts of the world! How much has been done in these first years of the third millennium to raise people out of extreme poverty! I know that you share my conviction that much more still needs to be done, and that in times of crisis and economic hardship a spirit of global solidarity must not be lost. At the same time I would encourage you to keep in mind all those people around us who are trapped in a cycle of poverty. They too need to be given hope. The fight against poverty and hunger must be fought constantly and on many fronts, especially in its causes.

-Pope Francis, Sept. 25,
2015, to the US Congress

Today’s Gospel is one that many of us know by heart- words that can sound trite, as we live in a world that seems to grow colder and more distant by the day to the disadvantaged everywhere. There is so much poverty- in our world, our country and in our midst, that we can become unwittingly unaware and uncaring to those in our midst. Jesus expects us to unfailingly to reach out to those in our midst- to be the givers, the peacemakers, the compassionate ones, never counting the cost, or even imagining the glory that our acts of love may bring to us.

Dorothy Day is an extraordinary example of someone who lived the Beatitudes, to the point that at her funeral, Cardinal Terence Cooke noted that perhaps a saint lived in our midst, and behold, the day of her canonization draws near. She lived a life of extremes and was at times controversial, but her desire to love and serve the poor and marginalized was second to none.

I see that love and respect revealed in so many ways here- particularly through our own Harvest on Vine. What a rich blessing it is- for not just those in our midst, but for all of us- an opportunity to joyously live Jesus’s words.

God is calling us through the Beatitudes to not just appreciate but respond to the invitation to live humbly, show mercy, and respond generously. The needy wait- may we respond- anyway we can.

From our Pastor

150 150 Charlestown Catholic Community

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.