From our Pastor

Latest notes from Fr. Sheridan

From our Pastor

150 150 Charlestown Catholic Collaborative

Cold is the morning, warm is the dream… chasing the answers ‘til I can’t sleep.
Will I be stronger, or will I be weak when you’re not with me?
Who am I without my armor, standing in my father’s shoes?
All I know is that it’s harder to be loyal, brave, and true

From Loyal, Brave, and True written by Crabtree, Hartman, Golan, Gregson

In this weekend’s Gospel, Jesus challenges us to focus on who we belong to, the world or to God. We can be so easily seduced by our culture, our society, and our world to give into the temptation to turn away from what our conscience knows what is right- we can show indifference to the call for each of us, by our words and actions, to be instruments of peace, we can ignore the plight of the poor and the struggling in our midst, we can turn our eyes and our ears from the cry that each human life is sacred and has dignity, from the moment of conception to natural death, we can turn away from our calling as Christians, and particularly as Catholics, to be make a difference in this world.

Beyond our citizenship in this country and our world is our membership- by our baptism- in the Body of Christ, and our Lord makes this truth crystal clear. We are blessed to live in this free land, with all our rights and responsibilities. Jesus doesn’t deny the importance of governance in this world, but He, as we celebrate later next month, is our true King, calls us to something greater than this world can ever give, and ever know. Our King is calling us today and every day, in every moment, to be loyal, brave, and true to Him- in every way. May we hear the clarion call- may we find the courage to follow it- and live it.

From our Pastor

150 150 Charlestown Catholic Collaborative

Wandering the road of desperate life… aimlessly, beneath the barren sky.
Leave it to Me, I’ll lead you home.
So afraid that you will not be found… it won’t be long before your sun goes down.
Just leave it to Me, I’ll lead you home.
So let it go and turn it over to the One Who chose to give His life for you.
Just leave it to Me, I’ll lead you home. Leave it to Me, I’ll lead you home.

from I’ll lead you home, by Michael W. Smith

Today’s Gospel is such a revelation- something that we all need to hear, about a King who wants so much to share his generosity with all of us, and how many people reject this invitation to the feast. I’m sure all can feel the sadness and frustration of the King as he sees how so many folks turn away from his invitation- especially when we see empty pews in our churches. As Catholics,
we have a responsibility to spread the Good News of Christ, and reach out to the lost sheep in our midst and bring them in.

So many people- family members, friends, do not join us at Mass- folks that we love so deeply who for one sad reason or another choose not to receive the Word of God, the Body of Christ, the community of his faithful. We need to address this sad circumstance and address it NOW please join me and encourage someone you care about- a family member, friend, coworker- this week, to come to Mass with you. Your invitation may be the very words they need to hear. You don’t have be an expert to do this- be yourself. The Holy Spirit will give you the words you need.

As we begin now to look up and look ahead at a season of change and renewal, this is a perfect
time to personally take your baptismal calling and proclaim the Good News- it may seem awkward
at first, but the change that will take place will be worth the effort- be the one who leads them
home to the feast!

From Our Pastor

150 150 Charlestown Catholic Collaborative

Looking up. Looking ahead.

Join us on Sunday, Oct. 29th at 6 pm at St. Mary’s Church, and Sunday, Nov. 5 at 9:30 am
at St. Francis de Sales Church for special Masses of Remembrance for those
who have gone before us, particularly in the past year at our parishes.

Wednesday, Nov. 1st is All Saints’ Day, a holy day of obligation.
Mass will be offered at 9 am at St. Francis de Sales, and at 6 pm at St. Mary’s Church.

Work is beginning on painting the inside of St. Francis de Sales church,
courtesy of Painters Union Local 35. What a blessing this is for us!

I will be out of the state Nov. 13-17.

From our Pastor

150 150 Charlestown Catholic Collaborative

One moment someone whispers, “Thank you!”
Just then, another heart cries, ‘How could You?’
When Jesus, who sees us, He says, ‘I hear you. I’m near you.’
It may be miles and miles before the journey’s clear.
There may be rivers, maybe oceans of tears.
But the very hand that shields your eyes from understanding…
is the hand that will be holding you for miles.

From Miles written by Nichole Nordeman

There are moments in life when we don’t know why things happen- we may never know why. One of the most important things I’ve learned when I walk through these times with people is not to even try to explain why- there are no answers often, and we have to struggle with the darkness and pain. These are the moments when faith takes over, when we don’t give up, but we let go and we find Christ in the midst of our questions, doubts, and fears, when we move from, ”Why me?” to “What now?”

This weekend’s readings call us to an understanding and acceptance that there is a bigger plan than we can see, and although it’s only human and perfectly natural to question why things so often as they are, we’re called to let go of our doubt and trust His will. Mary did- so can we.

In exceptional gratitude

Please allow me to share a word of sincere gratitude to everyone who worked very hard to bring last Sunday’s installation celebrations about- those prepared the church and the hall, those who led us in the Mass by sharing their gifts in welcoming, word, song, service, and sacrament, those prepared, served, and cleaned up after our reception, Sr. Nancy, James Santosuosso and our incredible collaborative staff and councils, Bishop Mark and the concelebrating priests, our many guests and friends in the Town, family members, and many more who joined us online and shared our joy. It was a special day, and I hope everyone experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit.
There is much to do, there is much to share. Let’s get to it!

Mass Schedule change

In light of the heating season starting soon, beginning on Oct. 16, Daily Mass will be held at St. Catherine’s Chapel, Monday through Friday at 8 am and Saturday at 9 am. It will allow us to save heat at St. Francis, since the St. Mary Church building is already being used. Funerals, holy days, and weekend Masses will be held as usual at St. Francis. Thank you for your understanding as we look up and ahead.

Come to the Waters of Healing
A Retreat for Post-Abortion Healing

“I had never heard about Project Rachel until I read the blurb in my parish bulletin. If it hadn’t been there, I shudder to think where I would be now. It’s not just a ‘blurb’, for me it was life changing. The retreat was an experience I will take with me for the rest of my life. I received back the grace of God within me and felt a true sense of peace and self- forgiveness.”

-A Retreat Participant

Saturdays: Sept. 23, Nov. 11 9 am – 5 pm
Location is confidential. Pre-registration is required. Limited to 10 participants.
Call (508) 651-3100 or
Sponsored by the Project Rachel Ministry – Archdiocese of Boston
-Fr. John is a Project Rachel priest.

Looking up. Looking ahead.

Please note that I’ll be out of the state Oct. 1-7, at a Catholic Stewardship conference.

Join us on Sunday evening, Oct. 29th at 6 pm at St. Mary’s Church for a special Mass of Remembrance for those who have gone before us, particularly in the past year at St. Francis and St. Mary- St. Catherine.

Wednesday, Nov. 1st is All Saints’ Day, a holy day of obligation. Mass will be offered at 9 am at St. Francis de Sales, and at 6 pm at St. Mary’s Church.

Work is beginning on painting the inside of St. Francis de Sales church, courtesy of Painters’ Union Local 35. What a blessing this is for us!

I’ll be out of the state, on retreat, Nov. 13-17.

Fr. John

From our Pastor

150 150 Charlestown Catholic Collaborative

Truth is, You know what tomorrow brings, there’s not a day ahead You have not seen.
So, in all things be my life and breath, I want what You want, Lord, and nothing less.
When You don’t move the mountains I’m needing You to move,
when You don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through,
when You don’t give the answers as I cry out to You. I will trust in You

from Trust in You, written by Lauren Daigle, Michael Farren, Paul Marbury

I’m often asked if I wish I knew what lies ahead for the future, and my answer is always no.
Today’s readings point us to see that God’s plans and dreams for us
may be very different than what we often imagine them to be,
and we’re called to keep focused on what is around us and on what lies ahead.
Who knows what the future brings? We know.
Will there be disappointments, heartaches, and pain? Yes, there always have been,
but there will also be joys, victories and dreams achieved we never imagined!
Our faith gives us the courage to walk through the changes in our lives to accept God’s will even though we may not understand or even welcome it to see God’s hand in all that is in our midst, to learn the lessons from the moments in our lives
and, above all, to keep going.
We are called, each of us, as ambassadors of Christ, to look up and look ahead,
just as this Collaboration is all about, to have the courage to let go of what was,
and have the faith to plan for a new generation. We can do this for them. We owe it to them.
As we begin a new era together in Charlestown, may our Blessed Mother point us to her Son,
the Hope of our world, and may we run- without hesitation- to what He is calling us to.
Blessed Mother, St. Francis de Sales, and St. Catherine of Siena, pray for us.

Thanks, Most Rev. Mark O’Connell, Vicar General of the Archdiocese, my classmate,
and friend. Thanks to the concelebrating priests today, our many guests,
those who lead us today and every day in word, symbol, song, and service, reception hosts,
setup and clean up teams, our Collaborative staff, parish councils and volunteers, friends,
and everyone who is joining us in many ways.
Look up. Look ahead. There is cause for rejoicing!


Registration for RCIA classes is now open. This program is for those who have been baptized Catholic but have not received First Communion and Confirmation and for those who would like to become Catholic.

Orientation is on Monday, September 25th at 6:30 at the Parish Center, 46
Winthrop Street. Please call Sr. Nancy if you are interested: 617-242-4664 or email
her at

September 29 is the Feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael

“Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.”

St. John Paul II

Clergy Trust

Clergy Trust video featuring Fr. Ronan

From our Pastor

150 150 Charlestown Catholic Collaborative

This story was shared with me recently:

A lady asked a farmer: “How much do you sell your eggs for?” The old vendor replies “50 cents an egg, madam.” The lady says, “I’ll take 6 eggs for $2.50 or I’m leaving.” The old salesman replies, “Buy them at the price you want, Madam. This is a good start for me because I haven’t sold a single egg today and I need this to live.” She bought her eggs at a bargain price and left with the feeling that she had won.

She got into her fancy car and went to a fancy restaurant with her friend. She and her friend ordered what they wanted. They ate a little and left a lot of what they had asked for. They paid the bill, which was $150. The ladies gave $200 and told the fancy restaurant owner to keep the change as a tip…

This story might seem quite normal to the owner of the fancy restaurant, but very unfair to the egg seller…The questions it raises are: Why do we always need to show that we have power when we buy from the needy? Why are we generous to those who don’t even need our generosity?

I once read this somewhere, that a father used to buy goods from poor people at high prices, even though he didn’t need the things. Sometimes he paid more for them. I was amazed. One day his son asked him “Why are you doing this Dad?” His father replied: “It’s charity wrapped in dignity, son.”

Each one of us can do better. God gave us the power.


Fr. John


Saturday, September 23, 2023 Noon

At the statue of Our Lady across from St. Francis Church (303 Bunker Hill Street)


September 1 through October 4 is the SEASON OF CREATION – a time to reflect more deeply on the call to ecological conversion,
both personal and communal.

Let’s reflect on these words from Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’: (LS 217 – 219) – “The ecological crisis is a summons to a profound interior conversion needed to bring about lasting change…Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s magnificent handwork is essential to a life of virtue…it is not an optional or secondary aspect of our Christian commitment. It entails a loving awareness that we are not disconnected from the rest of creation but joined in a splendid universal communion.”

And on these words from Thomas Berry’s The Great Work: “The universe story is our Sacred Story…We will recover our sense of wonder and our sense of the sacred only if we appreciate the universe beyond ourselves as a revelatory experience of the Creator. The Great Work now is to carry out the transition from a period of human devastation of the Earth to a period when humans would be present to the Earth in a mutually beneficial manner…

The Great Work is the work of all people. No one is exempt.”

From our Pastor

150 150 Charlestown Catholic Collaborative

If confession is the road to healing, forgiveness is the promised land.
I’m reaching out in my conviction, I’m longing to make amends…
So, I’m sorry for the words I’ve spoken, for I’ve betrayed a friend.
We’ve got a love that’s worth preserving, and a bond I will defend…
From Between You and Me by DC Talk

It’s a sacrament that scares everyone, and one that many of us avoid- the Sacrament known as Reconciliation, Penance, or Confession. Everyone has or knows stories of people who experienced difficult moments in “the box”, as it were, but I sincerely hope that there have been moments of peace, or relief, even joy, in hearing another voice say, “You are absolved from your sins.” It’s important to stress in the Sacrament that it’s not me who absolves, it’s Christ who does- I am simply His grateful minister, middleman, if you will- I just say the words- it is He who imparts the grace.

I have heard confessions in some unusual circumstances and places, These are moments when I
have been profoundly changed and made a better person by the grace, humility, trust, and courage people have shown wherever I’ve honored, privileged, and humbled by the role I have in this moment as confessor. Please don’t hesitate to see me or any of the priests to receive this precious gift, the gift of relief and joy.

Fr. John

From our Pastor

150 150 Charlestown Catholic Collaborative

Where did I misplace my faith? Where did I set it down?
Which one the day that I forgot, what this was all about?
And I came so close to throwing it all away… but I’m taking it back again.
So come and rejoice… what was lost is found.
When did I get so sensible? Make me a fool again.
My life was a half empty glass, now it is full again.
And this road we take is never an easy place,
But somehow we’ve found our way…

Rejoice, written by Steve Mac, Wayne Hector

I love to make people laugh. I know that God has a great sense of humor, and I believe that His humor reveals itself in so many ways, at the heart of each of us and beyond us- and sadly, we miss it. There are sometimes in my life when I will pause in the midst of the frantic world and look for Him, and I can find Him drawing me, all of us, into something deeper than the moment in front of us, drawing deeper into something extraordinary, warm, and funny, because it’s so real and human- I discover His presence and can’t but share it with others.

Following Christ is gloriously ridiculous. It makes no sense- it will get you nothing on this earth, and yet as Jeremiah in today’s first reading proclaims it, God finds us a way to dupe us into it, and it’s the things like this that make this give our lives meaning and are so beautifully worthwhile. It’s a wonderful contradiction!

From Our Pastor

150 150 Charlestown Catholic Collaborative

There come times in life when we ask ourselves, “Is this what I’m called to be? Can I do this?” I had a moment like that right before my ordination; I panicked as I thought to myself that I was unworthy to follow through with this incredible undertaking. In a panic, I ran into my classmate’s room and told him. His response floored me. He simply said, “Do think I am? No one is. That’s kind of the point!” He was right- and I followed through.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus chooses Peter to lead this ragtag group of guys not because he was smarter or holier, but because he was willing to do what he was asked, even with all of misgivings, doubts and faults- let’s face it, Peter had plenty of them!

God chose you and me to do His work not because we’re smarter or holier or more creative or more talented anymore that the next person (far from it, in my case)- all He asks us to do is trust that He called each of us to do our part to fulfill His will. If we each spent less time trying to figure out His will- which is beyond our comprehension- and more work doing our part of it, maybe we’d be happier with God and ourselves.

From our Pastor

150 150 Charlestown Catholic Collaborative

“I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.” John 15:11
The joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the people of our time, especially of those who are
poor or afflicted, are the joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the followers of Christ as well.
Gaudium et Spes, Preface

We’re months away from Advent, but the summer sky is full of stars. As children, we were encouraged to look up, to the stars, to find inspiration as they point out for us the way. In Scripture, Abram is assured of God’s promise of the future by the stars in the sky. The star of Bethlehem led shepherds and kings to the Christ Child. In the Book of Revelation, the woman is presented with the twelve stars around her, reflecting the tribes of Israel.

Look up. Look ahead. I use this phrase a lot around here- I find it helpful for me to focus on my priorities, my work, my vocation. We have spent too much time, wasted too many dreams, looking back to a world that simply doesn’t exist anymore (and maybe never did) and looking down, awash in sorrow, pain, and grief, feeling almost incapable of looking ahead with any expectations. Yes, there is much to look at and be sad about today in our world. Does that mean we should ignore the problems of our lives, our world, our times? Most certainly not.

We are called to address the problems, worries, and doubts of this dark world, not with sad resignation and fear, but with humble and open hearts to the possibilities that only the Holy Spirit can give. Some people are afraid to look ahead because they’re vision is limited to the earth, only to the here and now- our Christian faith calls each and all of us to look ahead with hope- that’s the key here. It seems that years ago people spoke so joyfully about the future- they seemed to dream more today, there seems so much dystopian visions, doubt, and fear foreboding- have we lost the ability to hope and dream of a new world, new ideas, new possibilities?

Our loving God reminds us that as much as He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, He is also the God Who makes all things new, Who refreshes and renews us every day, every moment, with His grace and love. The timeless God of all that was, is and will be, calls us to newness of life, to cast off our sorrow and fear. Is it risky? Of course it is- anything worth it is. It’s a chance we’re taking, and it’s worth everything, and whatever we may lose on this earth, we will receive so much more of the blessings God will give us. I take great inspiration that perhaps the most important document in the Second Vatican Council, its Pastoral Constitution, is entitled Gaudium et SpesHope and Joy. It is THAT Hope and Joy that attracts us to Christ, to bring some of those gifts to the world.

“We must attract them by joy in order to lead them to its source, the heart of Christ.”
St. Katherine Drexel