From our Pastor

150 150 Charlestown Catholic Collaborative

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 Collaborative

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 Collaborative

“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 Collaborative

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 Collaborative

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.

From Fr. Sheridan

150 150 Charlestown Catholic Collaborative

A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up and throw it back into the ocean.
People watched her with amusement.

She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!”

The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied,
“Well, I made a difference for that one!”

The old man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought about what she had done and said.
Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved.
-adapted from “The Star Thrower” by Loren C. Eiseley

Carry your candle, run to the darkness. Seek out the helpless, deceived, and poor. Hold out your candle for all to see it. Take your candle and go light your world.

This weekend’s Gospel is meant to be a shot to the bow- a reminder that each of us have been challenged to make a difference in this world. All of us have been called, by virtue of our baptism-
to get out there and make this world a better place.

It’s easy for us to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of problems in out there- or worse, to be self-satisfied that we’re doing enough. There is also the possibility that we can be fooled by others we’ve all been, taken in; it’s happened to everyone who has reached out- it’s part of the package of any kind of ministry.
We can never do enough- but that can’t deter us.

What God may be calling us to do may seem overwhelming to us- but we need to understand that all what we do is to bring Christ through us to those around us and start from there. It may call us out of our comfort zone but we need to pray for the courage to listen and respond. The winds of change are always blowing, but we should welcome them-
the Holy Spirit is calling- I pray we all listen… and respond.

”Go light your world” was written by Christopher Rice


Full adult membership in the Roman Catholic Church is achieved with the reception of the sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation. Most Catholics born into our faith receive Baptism as infants and Eucharist in the second grade. Usually, Confirmation is received in the tenth Grade. Due to circumstances of all kinds,
a significant number of adults have never received the Sacrament of Confirmation.

Maybe… It’s Time: to deepen your relationship with God who loves and cares about you. To re-engage
your world again as a Catholic more informed about your faith and its impact in your life. To re-new yourself and
others through the unique power of the Holy Spirit who guides us in Love and Truth.

Candidates 18 years of age or older will attend seven 90-minute classes with orientation on
Wednesday evening at 6:30 on January 25th.
Please contact Sr. Nancy Citro, SNDdeN at 617-242-4664 or for additional
details and to register for the program.

The Dreamer

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. envisioned a community of goodwill and understanding that “does not begin by discriminating between worthy and unworthy people … It begins by loving others for their sakes.” Let us thank God for the leadership and vision of Martin Luther King Jr. who incorporated Gospel values in the non-violent struggle for equality, justice, freedom and peace for all human beings. “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

Join us for Mass at 9:00 a.m. in St. Catherine of Siena Chapel on Mon., Jan. 16.
(The Parish Center will be closed that day.)

From Pastor Sheridan

150 150 Charlestown Catholic Collaborative

A million days… in everyone I’ve seen Your face…
I know I’d never be alone.
Even if darkness comes our way…
For You… all the stars are singing.
With You… everyday I’m feeling… Alive.
A Million Stars, written by Michael W. Smith

In 1996, I was privileged to go to the Olympic Games in Atlanta. It was an amazing experience- I attended several events and met people from all over the world. Many people remember that Games by that terrible act of terrorism that shook us all. I was far away from that scene, but I went in the next day (I had a ticket to an event), and I remember stopping in the middle the stadium, in the middle of the fear and worry around the world, to see the Olympic torch, burning brightly.

There was a determination that day I experienced from everyone around me that the light of human possibility, symbolized by that torch, was not going out by violence, hatred, or fear. After a respectful moment of silence and prayer, the crowd cheered loudly, joyfully, and fearlessly that day as the great athletes took to the track, representing their countries, representing hope. Hope won all the glory that day.

The glorious feast day of Epiphany (Christmas to our brothers and sisters in Christian Eastern churches) speaks of the light Isaiah prophesied the star that led the Magi to the Christ child, the glory of the Lord that shines to all people of good will. Yes, the Christmas season is concluding for us, but I pray the light of joy and peace we feel in Christ shines in us on
the Epiphany Day, and through us to a world so lost in the darkness of fear and doubt.

A friend of mine reminds me that we’re called to be stained-glass windows of Christ, to let the light He is to shine through us in different colors, different ways. The beautiful windows of our parish churches teach and inspire us with the lives of our Lord, his Mother, great saints, martyrs, and teachers of our faith. They allowed the light of Christ shine through their lives, all in different ways. Now, it is a new time. Let’s return the favor by reflecting that light to others with our hope, our confidence, our love.

Christ, be our light.

With You… everyday I’m feeling… Alive.

From our Pastor – January 1, 2023

150 150 Charlestown Catholic Collaborative

It’s a new year with new hopes and possibilities! There is much to do, and beautifully, we begin around Mary, the Mother of God. We begin with words of hope on the World Day of Prayer for Peace- we pray for peace in our hearts, our homes, our town, our country, and our world.

There is much we see every day that can send us into worry and even despair, but Mary challenges us to stand courageously and not fear! Peace does not mean just quietly getting along with others, it often means to speak and act out on behalf of others- for life, for dignity, for justice, for Christ!

The winds of change are cleansing and refreshing. As Catholics, may we be the voices which effect change in our world- by our words, our actions, our very selves, we are called to live out the Christmas challenge to proclaim Christ in our world- for the poor, the sick, the troubled, the forgotten. It may bring about discord for others, but only from those who are afraid- we’re not afraid to speak, to act, to live, for Christ!

~ Fr. John Sheridan

Thank You

Thank you – to all of those who took time out of their busy holiday schedules, and/or used their talents and treasure to help out with the Christmas activities of Saint Mary – Saint Catherine of Siena Parish. To those who helped clean and decorate our Church for Christmas – thank you.

To those who picked up the flowers and delivered them to our church – thank you.

For the Advent Wreaths in our Church and chapel – thank you.

For the wreaths that are on the front doors of our Church – thank you

To all of you who pulled a tag from the giving trees or donated a gift to someone in
need. Thank you

To those who so generously donated to Harvest on Vine food pantry – thank you.

To those who helped deliver the gifts – thank you

To all the Altar Servers, Eucharistic Ministers, Greeters, Lectors, Musicians, Singers,
and Ushers who assisted in our Liturgies – thank you.

To Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, and Santa – thank you.

To all who celebrated Christmas with us, and those travelling who kept us in prayer –
thank you

Your generosity is a true reflection of Christ and you are all appreciated very much!

From our Pastor

150 150 Charlestown Catholic Collaborative

and so she rocks Him gently, she knows she’s been a part
of something more she can ever ponder in her heart.
The past has been confusing, but the future’s looking bright…
‘cause Mary holds the Light in arms tonight.
From Mary holds the Light by Clay Crosse

I begin with the warmest of wishes for a Blessed Christmas for each one of you, your families and all those you love. May the peace and hope of the newborn Christ rest and rise in your hearts and souls this happy day and throughout the year to come.

I am very grateful to the incredible group of people in both parishes who give of themselves every day so selflessly- top-notch staffs, Councils, volunteers and so many people who very quietly, heroically, and lovingly do the work of the Church. I thank those who give so generously their time, talent, and treasure throughout this year of often tumultuous change.
We are blessed in so many ways.

The light that drew the shepherds and Magi is within us, now- it’s our vocation- each of us- to share it with the world- may that light reflect and attract others- not just by its brightness, but by its warmth. Encourage someone you love to join you at Mass. We’re called to be light to others- and the light is Christ. Let it shine. Merry Christmas!

This is an important step in our parishes’ collaboration, the development of a combined bulletin. I am very grateful to Dianne Ludy and Joan Rae for their cooperation in bring it together. As we begin this venture, we may have a lip up or two, and I encourage your input and response in putting together something we all turn to for information, inspiration, and enlightenment. May our Blessed Mother guide us through this period of transition to where He is calling us to be.
Thank you!

Message from our Pastor

150 150 Charlestown Catholic Collaborative

I took my tree down to the shore, the garland, and the silver star…
to find my peace and grieve no more… to find some peace inside my heart.
On every branch I laid some bread, and hungry birds filled up the sky.
they rang like bells around my head, they sang my spirit back to life.
One tiny child can change the world, one shining light can show the way…
through all my tears for what I’ve lost, there’s still my joy for Christmas Day.

From There’s Still My Joy, written by Melissa Manchester and Carole Bayer Sager

This past week has been difficult for so many in our Town- we had four funerals- and I hope that the warmth that Christmas will bring will give us hope to look ahead to the promise of eternal Christ bring us. I urge you as we turn the corner and look ahead to find the light present in the memories of all those we remember and the light shining in the eyes of expectant children and all people who look with joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Next week the bulletins of St. Mary- St. Catherine and St. Francis will be combined- I want to stress that this is not a merging of the parishes- this is a way to facilitate a closer relationship- I believe that it will prove to be a convenient and helpful way to share information. Soon we will be recasting our Mass schedule- daily and weekend- to make it more accessible for everyone. I hope you will encourage your neighbors and friends to join us for Christmas Masses at our Churches. Though we’re all too aware that the Covid nightmare
we’ve been walking through isn’t over yet by a long shot, the numbers of folks coming week after week to our churches I pray give us all a sense of hope and optimism, and my prayer is that it will continue to grow beginning this holy season and throughout the coming year.

As we rejoice in the season of light, we pray for our Jewish brothers and sisters, who mark the joyous season of Chanukah, as they struggle throughout our country with a troubling surge of antisemitism. May we speak out- through our words and actions- in defense and love of our sisters and brothers.