What Next?

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

I think most all of us were looking forward to September bringing in a new era of hope and returning to a style of living around the city free from the challenges and hard restrictions imposed by the pandemic. And now as we need to
start wearing masks again and the news from near and far is so grim, everyone has to dig deep to find a positive energy. On the one hand, one could look around and see people who are suffering in unimaginable ways, for example, in Haiti and in Afghanistan. On the other hand, every person and family searches to find his or her footing given our current reality.

Recently, I was writing to families of school-age children regarding our religious education program. Conscious of how very stressed parents are as the opening of school fast approaches, the last thing I wanted to do was to increase anxiety with a list of to do’s. As I think about these times, it seems to me that preparing ourselves and our children to grow more deeply in their faith is really not a task on a checklist, it is more a gift and a rich, valuable resource.

Standing with people who have undergone profound losses and setbacks throughout my many years as a priest has often offered me moments of inspiration, even edification. For it is when we find ourselves in some of our deepest holes or facing the steepest of mountains and feeling helpless that our faith can often lead us forward. It is, in fact, a tapping into the faith knowledge of the infinite power of God manifest in God’s unconditional love for each of us.

For the person of Jesus Christ is meant to be that ineffable resource and strength for anyone who so chooses to accept such a friendship. I fully realize this perspective does not make sense and is not an empirically verifiable way of living. Nonetheless, it is a truth.

The story of Jesus Christ has been known for more than 2000 years and prophesized long before. Christ represents an entire absolute truth that is not a relative or subjective one, rather absolute. This truth is not a history story, although it certainly has a deep history. It is an ongoing, alive reality deeply enmeshed in the lives of men and women every day.

Now we look to September 2021 with an uncertainty we thought we had left behind and yet it is back. For me, this uncertainty, which could easily induce fear and anxiety, worry and stress of every form, can also become an invitation. It is an invitation to turn towards my relationship with Jesus with deep confidence and abiding trust.

I do not know, and no one of us knows how this next chapter of the pandemic will unfold in Boston or in the world. However, we have resources both materially, medically, and more importantly, in our faith. This faith opens a landscape of traditions, values, teachings, and relationships that can and will sustain us no matter what comes next.

Fr. Ronan

Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 28-29, 2021

In the reading from the letter of St. James we are urged to be “doers” of the Gospel, not
just listeners. Being a “steward” of God’s Word is a matter of listening to the Good
News, embracing the Good News and putting the Good News into action in our day-to
-day lives. And whenever we are uncertain as to what decisions to make or actions to
take as good stewards of the Gospel, St. James reminds us:
We can never go wrong if we resist popular values that are not compatible with the Gospel,
and we come to the aid of those who are burdened, distressed and poor.

There is More to It

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

A few weeks ago I was having a conversation with a friend who had recently returned from a family vacation. Of course, I asked him how the vacation was and how everything went. He explained that the weather was poor, rainy and often very hot and humid. The cabin they were staying in wasn’t very comfortable. He said the beds were poor and he slept badly, the children were usually unhappy and one of them fell and cut her knee that became a big deal. He went on
to speak negatively about his weeks’ vacation and concluded his answer by exclaiming that the toaster had burnt his English muffin that morning.

Well, we all complain and often we have a good reason for doing so. Sometimes it’s just to let off steam after some nasty traffic or a bad experience at the dentist or what have you. Yet we all know some of us can be experts at complaining and seem to delight in emphatically whining about all kinds of things to whomever will listen.

In the Bible, there are a number of instances of people complaining, – usually complaining to God. Sometimes the complaining is really dramatic like, “I’ve had it God, let me die rather than continue like this”! Sometimes the complaining is in the form of a question from one of the apostles to Jesus like: “We have given up a lot to follow
you, what’s in it for us?”

As I think about the times I have been complaining, I now start to see them as moments when everything is about me. That is, I want to tell you about times when I was uncomfortable, dissatisfied, frustrated, and inconvenienced. However, as I look back on those times there is always more to the story. There is something bigger than my issues at play in whatever is happening in my life. Some of it is the adage – glass half full or glass half empty metaphor which is excellent. In addition, it is about what we choose make of circumstances in which we find ourselves. For example, you may have heard the expression, “If you’re dealt lemons, make lemonade! “

I think complaining is not ever a satisfying response to the issues in which we live every day. I believe God knows about those issues and absolutely has a bigger plan in mind— but I need to be open to it and get out of my own way and my
own self-absorption. There can be opportunities that are amazing and truly delightful, often new approaches, experiences, and people available when my complaining ceases and my wonder at the possibilities increases.

In the end, we are all the work of God’s hands, hands that are loving and want only the very best for each one of us. This does not mean that suffering, setbacks, inconveniences, and losses are not part of that journey; and all of our lives include those experiences. Nevertheless, I believe it does mean that God is never absent and the more we lean into God’s love and mercy the more our complaints might just yield beautiful surprises.

Fr. Ronan

Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 21-22, 2021

In today’s Gospel, we hear that a number of Jesus’ followers left him because his
message was too difficult for them to accept. In essence, they did not believe in him.
He then asked the Twelve if they wished to leave as well.
Peter responds by making a profound profession of faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior.
The Twelve made a choice and stood by their choice, remaining loyal to their commitment to Jesus.
A good question for our reflection might be this:
Are we satisfied with the stewardship we exercise over our baptismal commitment?
Are we just “along for the ride?”
Are we keeping Christ in front of us as we make decisions about our daily activities, our
relationships, our parish, issues in the workplace, issues such as peace and justice?
What is the quality of our stewardship

The Treasure Within

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

One of the joys in which each parent delights is the discovery of the different talents and gifts of his or her
child. The discovery of learning a new word, growing another inch, and getting a new tooth are all celebrated with
loving pride and admiration by doting parents—and rightly so! When I visit the homes of young parents in the Parish, I always enjoy the conversation which, for the first moments, always is about their beautiful and remarkable new baby.

I suspect that God looks on us with a similar joy. The One who created us and gave us all we have and are, delights in each of us. The talents and gifts, our bodies and aptitudes, all are gifts from God. And we are created in the image and likeness of this very God, too.

There is not one person reading this article, including the one who wrote it, who has not received an abundance of gifts too numerous to list and imagine. It is so easy to think that all we have is ours or that we have enabled it to come about on our own. But if we stop and really take some time to reflect, we will realize that nothing we are or possess would have come about without the grace of God. How well have we used all that we have received? Have we taken the time to acknowledge the One who has given to us all that we have?

Time, after our health and our faith, is, perhaps, the most precious commodity we have. How do we use the limited amount of time that has been measured out by God for each of us? Do we take time for granted? Do we waste time or behave as if we have all the time in the world to get to what we know is most essential in life? How can our days be transformed into time well spent?

It seems to me the only way to do this is through daily prayer. Daily, each of us could do well to offer the day ahead to the God who gave it to us. This used to be called a “morning offering”—a simple and a good prayer. Surely, if this is our prayer and our sincere intention—to use every moment of the day ahead in service to the God who has given it to us—the day will be well spent. And such a day will delight the One who has given us all out of love.

Fr. Ronan

A Sample Morning Prayer

All that we do without offering it to God is wasted.”
– St. John Vianney

Faithful and loving God, thank you for keeping me safe through the night
and for giving me the gift of this new day.
Today, may each thought, word, and deed of mine be a reflection of your divine life within me. Amen.

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
August 14-15, 2021

In today’s Gospel we hear Mary’s cousin, Elizabeth, bestow the gift of two blessings on
Mary when she greets her. Elizabeth blesses Mary not only because she believes that
Mary is the mother of the Lord, but also because she recognizes that Mary has complete
faith in God’s promise. When Elizabeth prophetically pronounces Mary “blessed …
among women” and proclaims that the fruit of Mary’s womb is blessed, she uses the
same term that Jesus uses to bless people in the Beatitudes.
Good stewards recognize the Spirit-driven love and courage that inspired Elizabeth’s hospitality toward a young,
unmarried, pregnant woman and the honor Elizabeth bestowed upon Mary who would ordinarily be shamed for bearing this child.
In what ways can we extend the blessings we receive in the Eucharistic celebration to others in order to honor them and offer them God’s hospitality?

Summer improvements at our beautiful Church!

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

When you enter the Church next weekend, things will look different as we prepare the front vestibule for the statues of our Patronesses, Our Lady of Guadalupe and Saint Catherine of Siena. The rug on the stairs will be removed, stairs leveled and painted, and a new rug will replace the tired one that is currently there. Following this work, pedestals will be built that will accommodate the two statues.

The week of August 8, work will begin in our sanctuary! The thirty plus year old carpet will be removed and the floor underneath will be restored and refinished. If all goes well, this work should take about three weeks from start to finish. We will continue to celebrate Mass in the upper Church, but things will just be moved around a little bit.

If anyone has any questions or comments about these projects, or any others, please feel free to call or email me.
Wishing everyone well and praying that all this rain will give way to a beautiful August.

Blessings to all,

James Santosuosso, Business Manager

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 7-8, 2021

The Letter to the Ephesians urges us to be mindful that part of our life together in the Eucharist means being kind to one another, compassionate and forgiving, just as Christ has forgiven us. What can we do this week to show our kindness, compassion and forgiving attitude toward others in our family of faith? How can we be even better stewards of our faith community as, what St. Paul refers to as “Imitators of God?”

“Live like you were dying”

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

The readings this weekend remind me of a country western song by Tim McGraw. It’s a song about a man in his forties who has been given the shocking diagnosis of an illness that will end his earthly life. He responds to this devastating news by intentionally choosing how he wants to live the remainder of his days on earth. The lyrics gave me pause, not because the concept is new but because, of late, my own immortality has come to the forefront—though I keep trying to push it back.

Within the past couple of months I have had the privilege to accompany family members as they bury loved ones who are younger or just slightly older than I. And it seems this is the case in the recent stream of communications I have been receiving about those who are very ill or are journeying home to God, some of whom I have been gifted to visit. In all of these situations there has been no fluff, no non-essentials; conversations are all about things that truly matter or there is just a quiet “being with” as I internally acknowledge with gratitude that I am on holy ground and that the presence of God is permeating in and around us.

As the country western song continued, I was disappointed when the man began relaying the “bucket list” of things he did after he got “the news,” like skydiving, rocky mountain climbing and riding a bull (it is country western, after all.) But then … I heard him say also that he loved deeper, spoke sweeter, gave the forgiveness he had been denying, became a better husband and the kind of friend one would like to have. He even began reading “the Good Book.” And then it occurred to me that the songwriter was describing the kind of balance we are called to live in life—intentional time for self, others, and God in a way that demonstrates who we truly are as precious children of God.

Our lives tend to take on a pace that can rob us of this kind of intentional living. I guess some might say that if one is fortunate enough not to die suddenly, there can be some intentionality to the way one decides to live the rest of one’s life. But in reality, we already know that life on earth is temporary whether we die young or after a length of days. We don’t have to wait for medical professionals to tell us that it’s going to end. We know this early on in life. It occurred to me that this knowledge is truly a gift because it can allow us to choose how to live our lives today with the deliberateness of faith-filled people, trusting that God is with us just as He was with the Israelites in the desert as described in today’s first reading; just as He has been from the beginning of time and will be forever.

As St. Paul states in today’s second reading, “I declare and testify in the Lord that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds; that is not how you learned Christ … so put away the old self … and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, putting on the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth.” And in today’s Gospel, Jesus enjoins us “not to work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life.” As a prominent writer posited, our eternal life does not begin when we die … it begins the moment we are conceived for it is then that we begin our journey with God. We are called to live in the fullness of God’s love and presence in the here and now on this side of the veil, not only after we transition to the other side.

And so, we are called to live each day, dying in an ongoing way to those parts of ourselves and things in our lives that get in the way of our taking responsibility for the wellbeing of ourselves, others and our world. Jesus is our North Star. He is “the way, the truth and the life.” He has modeled and spoken about a way of life that gives us life, and he remains with us always so that we might have life “to the full.” If we believe this, how then shall we live?

Sr. Nancy Citro, SNDdeN

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 31, August 1, 2021

In today’s Gospel we hear Jesus proclaiming that he is “the bread of life.”
He then offers an invitation to come to him. For us, the invitation is to live the Eucharistic life in Christ.
What does it mean for our parish family to live together in the Eucharist?
What does it mean for us to share the Eucharist together, to participate in the “bread of life” together?
Does it mean we love each other, support our community of faith, work together?
Do we carry each other’s burdens? Celebrate our joys?
What are the practical implications of being good stewards of our Eucharistic life together.

The Transfiguration of the Lord – August 6, 2021

In Year B, the reading for the Transfiguration comes from Mark’s gospel. (The Transfiguration also appears in the other two synoptic gospels, Matthew and Luke.) In Mark, Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up a high mountain, apart from the other apostles and disciples.

There, Jesus is transfigured (changed in form and appearance) and appears in dazzling white clothes. Elijah, the great prophet, and Moses, through whom the Israelites were given the law, appear with Jesus. A cloud appears, overshadowing them, and a voice states, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” Jesus charges the three to not share with anyone what they had seen “except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead.” They keep their experience to themselves, pondering what Jesus meant by rising from the dead.

How are we to understand the Transfiguration? The story of the Transfiguration is also proclaimed on the second Sunday of Lent—a key part of Jesus’ journey towards the Cross. The Catechism of the Catholic Church draws parallels between Jesus’ Baptism and the Transfiguration. Jesus is baptized at the start of his public ministry. His baptism proclaims the mystery of our first regeneration—we die and rise again with Christ. The “Transfiguration ‘is the sacrament of the second regeneration’: our own Resurrection (St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 45, 4, ad 2). From now on we share in the Lord’s Resurrection through the Spirit who acts in the sacraments of the Body of Christ.

The Transfiguration gives us a foretaste of Christ’s glorious coming, when he ‘will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body (Phil 3:21)’” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 556). During the Prayer after Communion, we pray that God might “transform us into the likeness of your [his] Son, / whose radiant splendor you willed to make manifest / in his glorious Transfiguration.” The Collect, or opening prayer, tells us that the mystery of the Transfiguration “prefigures our full adoption to sonship.” The Transfiguration, initially revealed to Peter, James, and John, reveals to all of us a taste of what is yet to come.

The Transfiguration is the fourth of the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary.

Copyright © 2021, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved.

A Love Without End

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

I woke up this morning thinking about this Sunday’s Gospel story of Jesus multiplying loaves and fish to feed the multitude of people who were coming to him after he had crossed the Sea of Galilee. It seems that this is the only miracle of Jesus that is depicted, with some variations, in all four Gospels, even appearing twice in both the Gospels of Mark and Matthew. For some reason, my mind drifted to a part of my own family story.

I come from a “right off the boat” Italian family – my parents and three oldest siblings arrived after having known the ravages of war. My older brother, who has since passed, and I were born in the United States. Adjusting to all that was foreign to them was no easy feat. And we were not a family of means, so my parents both worked six days a week. My mother arrived home from work each night, changed her clothes and began preparing the evening meal – always a simple first and second course and always from “scratch.” No canned food, no frozen dinners, nothing processed, no take out, everything fresh – and she always had a plan. All this after a day’s worth of stitching collars on raincoats, using a feet propelled sewing machine and then, weathering the Green Line.

Regardless of how hungry we were or how many friends dropped by, there always seemed to be enough food to go around; and I can’t remember a time when we didn’t have some leftover as well. My mother was always the last one to sit at the table because she was always preparing what was coming next. No matter how many times we called her or told her to come to the table so that we could all eat together, she was always the last to arrive and even then took time to make sure that we all had what we needed.

One Sunday, we all decided that none of us was going to eat until she sat at the table with us from the very start of the meal. We sat with tempting delicious plates of homemade pasta before us, conversing around the table with an eye on the doorway, waiting for my mother to enter. In she came and when she took in the scene, a quizzical look appeared on her face as she wondered why we weren’t eating. Was there something wrong with the food? My father told her to sit down, and for the first time and ever after, we all began eating together.

Devoting her life to her family – working, cooking, sewing, cleaning – was what gave my mother meaning. My sister and I helped my mother as much as we could, but my mother led the charge, seeing it as her God-given vocation. Her love for God, who was the center of her heart and the strength that flowed through her veins, and her love for us, was never ending; she always had a watchful eye, and she demonstrated her care for us in such unassuming ways.

Both then and now I stand in awe of the power of that love that emanated from her whole being. I don’t mean to convey that we had a perfect family or that my mother was perfect. Just that there were times that felt perfect. As the family grew and our doors were opened to others, invariably someone would shake their head and ask, “How does your mother do it?”

This is kind of how I feel when I think of the life of Jesus. I shake my head and wonder, “how did he do it?” I don’t mean how did he perform the miracles, as I believe they came from a place of deep union with God and a deep love for God; and I don’t ask if the miracles really happened, as some skeptics do. I mean, what enables one to live such an unwavering life of purpose and meaning geared toward the wellbeing of others?

One Gospel story after another reveals Jesus’ care and concern for us and his watchful eye for our wellbeing. Jesus’ compassionate gaze upon all who needed healing and his desire for all to be healed captures me the most. When the leper said to him, “if you will it, you can make me clean,” Jesus replied, “I do will it. Be made clean.” When the woman was afflicted with a hemorrhage for twelve years, she just touched his clothes and was healed. In another section of the Gospel, many were healed just by touching his tassels. Jesus was so filled with the desire to heal that his whole self emanated with healing power, so much so that even his clothes could not contain it and became instruments for healing.

The Gospels are replete with stories of Jesus’ unending love for the people of His time. He spent his life teaching, feeding, healing, challenging, caring, never for his own glory but for our benefit and to fulfill his God-given call to, “bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free.” He did so unassumingly, to the point of sacrificing his own life for the benefit of humankind. He didn’t just do it 2,000 years ago. He is alive today with the same desire, calling us to be in relationship with him so that we can
benefit from all that He has to offer. This is a broad brushstroke of who Jesus is for me, and I can’t help but stand in awe of Him. Who is Jesus for you?

Sr. Nancy

Seventeenth Sunday
in Ordinary Time
July 24/25, 2021

The story of the multiplication of the loaves and the fishes is a familiar one, and has many lessons, not
least of which is how our willingness to share who we are and what we have.
Exercising good stewardship serves to release God’s power and bountifulness on the world and its people.
Do we realize that there is enough for all if we are willing to share?
Are we aware that God is at work when we share our time, our money and our other resources in His name ?

Lost & Found

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

Supposedly it goes with aging – forgetting where something is – not remembering where you last saw/used or placed an item. While I resist that as an exclusive characteristic of someone over ’60, I have to admit some truth to the theorem. Losing one’s keys seems the most annoying, perhaps only bested by misplacing a cell phone.

Most of us can identify with the emotion of discovering something is lost – seems like it happens just when we need it ..! And can you recall how you feel when the object is found, especially if the search has gone on for a bit and others have been helping? The relief is huge.

But there are other kinds of losses we all know about: jobs, homes, friendships, money, health, agility, independence, even freedom that may not be resolved as we may hope. Truth is, life includes many moments when we face loss, and some are devastating. Sometimes our losses, big and small, can nurture a self pity and that can lead to magnify the loss in our lives.

One common response to certain types of loss is, “Why?” We search for answers and we often seek to find out whom or what is to blame for the loss. And often enough the answer is elusive and our anger is directed to God: “Why did
God let this happen to ME?” This course may cause us to turn away from the very One who seeks to comfort, sustain and direct us in times of trial.

So how do we live with loss? The movement of life is only in one direction – there is no going back. The pain of loss and change can break us or can open us to a new way of being. Instead of asking “Why”, in faith, one can ask “What”:
“What does God want me to do now? What can I do to move forward? What can I learn from this loss?”

I recall being at a very low point in my life, struggling with change and loss. I wandered into a bookstore and was browsing around. There was a display of book marks, little plastic strips printed with a quote or saying. One read, “The
will of God will never lead you where the Grace of God will not sustain you”. I bought that book mark and took great comfort in that truth. I needed to accept the loss and changes and seek to move forward, to learn, to grow, to adapt and to trust.

Marion Howard once wrote: “Life is like a blanket too short. You pull it up and your toes rebel, you yank it down and shivers meander about your shoulder; but cheerful folks manage to draw their knees up and pass a very comfortable
night”. God gives to each of us whatever we need to live through the losses of our lives. When we believe that, actually trust that truth, then the loss can yield something to be found.

Maybe Charles Schultz is right when he says: “Life is like a ten-speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use”. Indeed, we need to try out the other gears – they are there to be used and when we do, we may find a speed that really works very well for us.

Friends, the God who made us, who knows us better than we know ourselves and whose love for us is constant and unconditional will never abandon us. As we go forward with the losses and the finds of our life, look around. There is
some new insight and experience awaiting, and God is behind us all the way.

~ Fr. Ronan ~

Sixteenth Sunday Ordinary Time
July 17/18, 2021

The Letter to the Ephesians reminds us that Christ is creating a new world order:
one that brings about relationships based on love, peace, reconciliation, hope and unity.
As a Eucharistic community, we are stewards of Christ’s new creation.
How are we promoting peace and reconciliation?
How are we showing love for our neighbors?
What are we doing to encourage unity and understanding among those with whom we gather around the Lord’s Table each week?

In An Instant

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

All of us have seen or heard of this example: a child wants something seen at the store and insists a parent purchase it – say a candy bar. The parent patiently explains that it is close to dinner and there will be no candy before supper. After the child sulks and whines, the parent offers to purchase the candy, but the child cannot have it until after supper. The child’s anger and insistence on being given the candy bar – right now – is on display for everyone to see in the check-out line at the supermarket!

A recent television commercial promises that if you act NOW, this new carpet will be delivered to your home tomorrow. Another promises a new flat screen T V can be had with super speed. And yet another indicates that with just one click of the mouse, one can have much faster internet service and instant access to …. The whole
culture of “instant” and “faster access” to whatever seems to be spreading to everything, and I wonder what it means.

And are instant mashed potatoes really that good? Remember the term delayed gratification? The whole point seemed to me to be about realizing that something good was going to come one’s way – but only after waiting, working, saving, studying, learning …. And instant gratification is all about having that “good thing” right now!

Is it just me or do we seem to have slipped into a culture where instant gratification is now becoming the only norm?

Why does everything have to be faster? Who has placed this high value of everything happening in an instant? Who or
what is pushing this illusory truth? And at what cost do we have “faster and instant”?

One of the dangers of this immediate gratification mentality is that we can find ourselves dismissing as of little value or
reducing to irrelevant achievements, knowledge, institutions and people who do not conform to the philosophy of the immediate. If something cannot be summed up in a sound bite, it is boring or insignificant. If persons cannot satisfy
our “perceived” need in the twinkling of an eye, then they become disposable.

Let’s stop and take some time to reorient ourselves. All around us we delight in God’s creation – nothing too instant about that. People – you and me and everyone else – we are not instant. Relationships and experiences, growing and learning, working and sweating brought you to be the person you are. A friendship is a precious jewel and gift – not an instant thing. Love – while the culture might say otherwise – is an infinite, mysterious, overwhelming and wonderful experience that takes work and grows over time – never instant. Infatuation, yes, that is instantaneous; love is another matter.

After the year we have all lived through, perhaps it is a good thing to pause and savor the moment instead of looking for the next “thing” coming down the pike. This summer more than ever, take time to value the people we love, the experiences we cherish, the accomplishments we have labored to achieve. In this post-pandemic time, stop, reflect, assess, and take account of what is truly important in life instead of getting high on the newest fastest whatever. Some parts of life require immediate action yet many more might be at risk if not given the time and attention they truly deserve.

Is it possible that one of the reasons why “instant and faster” often leading to busier and busier have become normative is because so much of what occupies us is not enough? We are always moving forward and seeking more – I believe God wires each of us this way! We are touched by this truth when we pray, turn to God and live in love. For example, often people speak of the peace found when they go to church, sit in quiet and pray. Exactly. Saint Augustine said it best: “Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee”.

Fr. Ronan

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 10/11, 2021

In his Letter to the Ephesians, Saint Paul teaches that God, the Father, has established a divine plan to bring all of creation to Christ and that He has blessed us with an abundance of divine gifts to help implement that plan.
Christian stewards know what their gifts are and remain committed to using them in the service of the Lord.
Do we know what our gifts are?
Do we believe that God has given us these gifts?
Are we committed to using our gifts to serve the Lord?

July 4, Independence Day !

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

When we as a nation were still reeling from Covid and the vaccine was just on the horizon, President Biden held out July 4 as the goal when Americans could once again safely gather with family. The freedom from the fears of the pandemic, he hoped would fade and healing of the nation begin. And so it is we can celebrate and remember all of the countless blessings we enjoy on this cherished July 4.

Some of the earliest memories I have of summer fun include July 4 celebrations. Most often we were at a big old house in Peabody, high on a hill and the view from there was great. The fireworks could be seen from miles around and so folks would come up the hill and relatives and friends as well would arrive for the FIREWORKS on the 4th of July. Being too young to stay up till long after dark meant I had to plead for the privilege, and often my pleas were successful. Only problem was, I think I still fell asleep with the excitement of the evening, before the fireworks began.

The more meaningful part of the celebration wasn’t the show, or the special foods, as well as the ice cream and other good stuff. The most meaningful was that we all were together to share this special evening. Brothers and sisters, mom and dad and cousins with uncles and aunts and assorted other friends and family all found their way to the hill for a beautiful summer evening of food, fun celebrating and sharing. And of course, what we were really celebrating is that we were free to do precisely that.

The freedom you and I enjoy every day as Americans is precious and comes to us at a very high price. This holiday is so special and necessary because it helps us remember, and not take for granted the gift of our freedom and the cost our forbearers and many of us have paid for it. Yes, service in the military is one such cost. However, it is more than those of us who were servicemen who paid that cost. It is all of the families – mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters and countless friends who gave their family and friends, either for some years or forever, in service to the country. It is all those who have labored to keep peace, order and security within the country who have paid a price. It is also the
countless citizens who work hard and pay heavy taxes to support the country and her mission who also contribute.

Freedom, as the saying goes, isn’t free. Many have paid the cost and continue to do so. On this Independence Day weekend, when we gather with friends and family to celebrate and share, gratitude ought to be the emotion in our hearts, and prayers for those who continue to pay the cost ought to be on our lips. Let us remember in prayer also those who do not enjoy the liberty that is ours. And of course, ultimately let us be thankful to God for the countless blessings we share in this great land.

The work of this great nation is not complete. We are a work in progress. There remain challenges of poverty, ignorance, racism, and countless prejudices that separate us one from the other. Our greatness will most brilliantly shine not in our economic accomplishments, but rather when we truly stand,

~ Fr. Ronan ~

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 3/4, 2021

Today’s Gospel reveals Jesus being amazed that the people in his hometown of Nazareth do not accept
his teaching and ministry; he is amazed at their lack of faith (Mk 6:6).
Good stewards recognize and participate in Christ’s teaching, reconciling and healing presence in their community.
Are we good stewards of our family of faith?
Do we value and support the ministries that take place in Christ’s name?
Are we attentive to the movement of the Holy Spirit in our parish and encourage those who work to enhance our life of faith?

Don’t be afraid

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

It seems to me the most powerful motivation in our daily lives is fear. I’m not speaking about the kind of fear that is nail biting and panicking, rather it’s much more subtle and it shapes our decisions and frames our daily choices and actions. One of the delightful things about children is they are often fearless and while that can be, of course, dangerous in one sense, it is wonderful to watch their freedom to explore, inquire and enter into all kinds of moments.

As we mature, we learn we have to measure up both to our own standards and expectations of family, teachers, employers and the broader community. Of course, it is a learning process for all of us and a beautiful one that includes successes and failures. On one level, fear is excellent in keeping us safe and helping us reach our goals. On another level, it can be crippling, holding us back and leaving us feeling incomplete and unsatisfied.

In all of this, one other critical intersection is between faith and fear. That is, to face our fears, consider what having faith really means, seek an appropriate balance, and step forward guided less by fear and more by faith. In the life of Jesus, He often urges people not to be afraid rather to believe.

This weekend we read the story of the father whose daughter is gravely ill, he seeks out Jesus and begs him to come and heal her. Naturally, he is afraid for his daughter’s life and Jesus counsels him not to be afraid rather to have faith. Every one of us has been in crisis moments when fear has gripped us and yet we wondered what role faith might have in such moments. Seems to me the fear is based upon our expectations of what ought to be, what we hope to be or in some way directed toward our desired end. On the other hand, faith may call us to let go of that end and trust that going forward will lead us to a place that will be all right whether or not it is the place we thought we ought to be.

Here in the first days of summer 2021, after the most turbulent year in the nation’s history everyone is seeking to return to some place of normalcy. At the same time we’re not sure what normal is going to look like in our work, in our
family, community, nation or the world. How can a person of faith look towards tomorrow? Can I look towards tomorrow, uncertain of the details and/or the outcomes, nonetheless with hope? I believe that is the gift that our faith offers each of us; not to hold on tightly to the script we imagine to be the right one, rather to trust that God will see us through tomorrow whatever that might be.

Father Ronan

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 26/27, 2021

In today’s second reading, St. Paul teaches the community at Corinth about a spirituality of giving. He urges them to give and helps them understand that through their generosity, they will in turn be recipients of a spiritual abundance. They will receive from those who are the beneficiaries of their own giving a reciprocal gift that amounts to an equality of giving that deepens their relationship with Christ Jesus.
A good reflection this week would be to think of the ways your own life has been enriched by your generosity.
How might you have reaped a spiritual abundance through your own generous behavior?