From our Pastor

150 150 Charlestown Catholic Community

“I have always dreamed of a far-off place,
where a great, warm welcome will be waiting for me.
Where the crowds will cheer, when they see my face,
and voice keeps saying, this is where I’m meant to be.
I will find my way. I can go the distance.”

From Go the Distance, from Hercules

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again,
this time more intelligently.”- Henry Ford

The internet is filled with stories of inventors, writers, businesspeople, athletes, artists, and other folks who, like Henry Ford, failed in countless endeavors, but never gave up until they succeeded. It’s very inspiring to read these stories, especially when we can feel overwhelmed or frustrated by our own limitations, but I always think of the words of Pope Benedict XVI that each of us, in our own way, have been called to greatness- not as the world sees it, but the greatness that Christ has prepared for us.

Will it be easy? Nothing great is easy, but in Christ all is possible. In today’s Gospel, Thomas doesn’t understand the promise of the Kingdom of Heaven, but Jesus comforts him with the promise that awaits him- all he needs to do is to stay focused on the promise and live his life, as St. Paul writes, worthy of the calling we have received. We may fail at times, and feel like that the stone that builders rejected, but as Christ is our cornerstone, we will not fail.

It Takes A Village…

Every pastor and pastoral staff know that a parish cannot run without the
involvement of its parishioners.
And so, this is a call to all of our parishioners to volunteer your time in various ministries and activities
in our Parish.
Some of the ministries in need of your presence are:
The Baptism Committee,
The Funeral Team,
Hospitality Committee,
Faith Formation,
Liturgical Ministries and more!

Please contact Sr. Nancy at 617-242- 4664 or for more information.
We look forward to your involvement in continuing to make our Parish a vibrant and welcoming community!


Pastoral Assistant for Faith Formation

Are you willing and able to share your time and talent with our parish?

We are hiring!

The Pastoral Assistant for Faith Formation coordinates the Religious Education program for students in grades K-8, including Youth Group, along with Confirmation 1 and 2. The Program Coordinator attends meetings with parish staff and meets and works regularly with the Pastor, Pastoral Associate and the Parent Advisory Council to plan classes,
Masses and Family Formation activities.

Please reach out to or if you are interested in applying!

A word of sincere congratulations to our young women who received the Sacrament of
Confirmation from Very Rev. Jonathan Gaspar, and the girls and boys who are receiving first Holy
Communion this weekend- it’s extra special to have Fr. Jim Ronan with us to concelebrate!

Thanks to those who prayed with us last Saturday on the feast of St. Catherine of Siena for so
many troubled people who gathered in Boston. May the peace of Christ reign in the hearts of all
people of good will.

Please note that I will be away May 10-18 on a family trip.

If you haven’t done so, please consider giving online to our Parish Family- it’s very simple and tax deductible!
Give Dianne a call at the parish offices and she can guide you through the steps. It will help us through the long summer months to keep our ball rolling!

Please remember to mark your calendars and join us on Sunday, June 4th for the 11 am Mass at St. Mary’s for the Inauguration of our Collaboration of St. Mary– St. Catherine & St. Francis de Sales parishes and the installation of the pastor- a collation will follow at St. Francis de Sales.

-Fr. John

From our Pastor

150 150 Charlestown Catholic Community

The house I grew up in was just off routes 128 and 9, and we often had people show up at our front door at all hours looking for directions or make a phone call, in the days before cell phones and GPS (yes, young people, there were those days). We were taught to be careful, yet courteous to these unexpected visitors, understanding how it can be confusing and what a small amount of kindness and help can do.

This weekend some troubled, very lost people are gathering in Boston, looking for something. It would be easy for us to disregard these people, to pity them, even to resent their presence, disrespect, and vitriol. By our prayers and actions, offered in love, we can help these soul-sick people find the way.

There will be those who will reject us, as we seek to hear and follow the voice of the shepherd, and many may say hurtful, angry, and sad words, but I pray they will find in our concern and love for them the true Shepherd of our hearts and our world. Please remember them in your prayers this weekend and always. Mary, Queen of peace, pray for us.

From our Pastor

150 150 Charlestown Catholic Community

Last week I saw the play “My Fair Lady”, and I truly enjoyed it – it’s a great story, with tremendous music and acting, and it made me think how language can change everything- how words can build us up, but it can also tear us apart.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus, the great Teacher, speaks of the great truths that we celebrate these holy days with two of his disciples on their road to Emmaus, and they discover Him in the Eucharist, as their hearts burned with the hope that His resurrection would mean to us all.

We are called to share the Good News, by our words, actions, and lives- all of us can change the lives around us in God’s holy name. May the Easter message burning within us like the fire on the Easter candle attract others, not just by the brightness of its light, but by its warmth, too.

From our Pastor

150 150 Charlestown Catholic Community

I am so very grateful to so many who gave so much in so many ways throughout Holy Week- particularly Sr. Nancy and our incredible staff- from the very public celebrations to the millions of quiet and powerful ways when great things took place- thanks so very much for everything from a very tired but very happy pastor.

Now, our work takes on a new tone – sacramental season begins now – baptisms, confirmations, first communions and weddings, as we all move into a new gear. There is so much to be done, but filled with joyful hope, we look up and look ahead to so much.

Please keep our Confirmandi in your prayers who will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit on Saturday, April 29th at 4 pm and our first communicants, who will receive the Body of Christ on Sunday, June 7 at 1 pm.

Our St. Vincent de Paul Society will be collecting clothes on the weekend of May 20-21. Please stay tuned for updates! Please make sure you mark your calendar for Sunday, June 4 at 11 am Mass at St. Mary’s Church and a collation to follow at Bishop Lawton Hall at St. Francis de Sales!

Pastoral Assistant for Faith Formation

Are you willing and able to share your time and talent with our parish?

We are hiring!

The Pastoral Assistant for Faith Formation coordinates the Religious Education program for students in grades K-8, including Youth Group, along with Confirmation 1 and 2. The Program Coordinator attends meetings with parish staff and meets and works regularly with the Pastor, Pastoral Associate and the Parent Advisory Council to plan classes, Masses and Family Formation activities.

Please reach out to or if you are interested in applying!

From our Pastor

150 150 Charlestown Catholic Community

I love to watch movies when you have to wait and see what is going to happen – the suspense can drive you crazy sometimes, but it’s worth it, especially when things work out in a way you don’t expect. It’s very much like life.

In today’s Gospel, all seems lost at first, but suddenly, mysteriously, gloriously, miraculously has happened, and everyone is puzzled and overjoyed, and nothing is ever the same again.

Every day is an opportunity to experience God’s loving forgiveness and everlasting grace, often in ways we never expect. It’s up to us to share these truths to others to give that gift of faith we have received, so many people need that gift.

At the Easter Vigil at St. Mary’s, we welcome Kendal and Hannah into the loving arms of our Catholic Church – thanks so much to Sr. Nancy for her dedicated work – and may God bless them and give the grace to do His will every day!

May the joy and hope we receive at the empty grave – the wonder, the joy and the hope warm our hearts, our lives and inspire us to share the Good News with all we meet. Rejoice! He is Risen!

Change is in the Air. For some time, the extraordinary, multi-talented Katy Fleming has run the St. Mary- St. Catherine Faith Formation program, and as she steps back from this
important role to our thanks, we need someone who can help us administer, in collaboration with St Francis de Sales Parish, this invaluable ministry.

JOB OPENING: Pastoral Assistant for Faith Formation
Are you willing and able to share your time and talent with our parish?
We are hiring!
The Pastoral Assistant for Faith Formation coordinates the Religious Education program for students in grades K-8, including Youth Group, along with Confirmation 1 and 2. The program Coordinator attends meetings with parish staff and meets and works regularly with the Pastor, Pastoral Associate, and the Parent Advisory Council to plan classes, Masses and Family Formation activities.

Please reach out to or
if you’re interested in applying!

From Our Pastor

150 150 Charlestown Catholic Community

I love to go to New York City- it’s always exciting, I visit the places I used to read about and revisit the places I’m so familiar with, there’s always something new in the Big Apple. It’s home to so many people, cultures, languages, and ways of life- it is the crossroads of our country, and our world.

At the end of the day, though, I’m always happy to go home to Boston- where so many people I love, and places are familiar and warm to me are, and always will be. I love to wander in this world, but my heart is never far from home.

Jerusalem is something like modern day NYC- it’s a touchstone to so many, but with all its glory and majesty, it’s not our home- ours is the Kingdom of Heaven. We pause alongside Jesus as we enter the city with Him and take in all that surrounds us, but these days of Holy Week call us to a deeper journey of our hearts, minds, and souls. These days will inspire and challenge us, but will lead us to victory, the victory that will lead us back to our true home, the fullness of the Kingdom of Heaven Jesus has won for us through the Cross.

On Holy Saturday night, at the Vigil at St. Mary’s, Kendal and Hannah, who have been preparing for months for this Holy Week, will be brought through the Sacraments of Initiation, please pray for them as they take these final steps on their journey with us- to our forever home!

Something is coming in May with our Society of St. Vincent de Paul! As you’re doing your spring cleaning, collect your gently used clothing and shoes and bring them to the parking lot of St. Catherine’s Rectory over the weekend of May 20-21 and help us help others!

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.