On Friday, September 2nd, we received the good news that Cardinal Seán O’Malley has appointed Fr. John Sheridan as Pastor of St. Francis de Sales and St. Mary-St. Catherine of Siena Parishes.
A native of Newton, he was ordained in 1990 and has served in a variety of assignments in the Archdiocese including Pastor of St. James Parish, Salem; the Cranberry Catholic Collaborative in Middleboro, Lakeville, and Rochester; and currently of Blessed Mother of the Morning Star Collaborative in Revere, Chelsea, and Everett.
Because of commitments Fr. Sheridan has in his current Parish, he will begin his work among our Parish and St. Francis de Sales Parish on the first weekend of Advent, November 26/27. Fr. Sheridan is from a big family and loves sports, music, technology, and movies.
Fr. Sheridan has done a number of Masses on Catholic TV. If you would like to hear one of his homilies, you can see him on youtube.com or catholictv.org or tune in this September 24th for the 9:30 am Mass.
Let us offer prayers of thanksgiving to God and let us pray for Fr. John Sheridan, that he may be granted all of the graces he needs as he begins the process of completing his work at his current Parish and transitions to our Parishes in Charlestown.
TO STRUGGLE By Fr. Ronan (reprint with updates)
Once I heard it said that if it were possible for one to bundle into a package all of one’s problems and struggles and place it in a bucket and everyone else did the same, and then each could select the bundle one preferred to carry, one would choose one’s own. Of course, I question how valid such a theory might be. Rather it seems that, objectively speaking at least, some struggles are more difficult to carry than others.
The privilege of being a parish priest invites me into numerous realities of people’s lives. For example, I just hung up the phone with a man who explained he has been diagnosed with ALS. Earlier in the day, I spoke with a family whose precious son lives with autism. Walking across town on my way to Mass, a parishioner stopped and asked if I would bless the three little children he had with him who had been in an abusive home and now live with him and his wife.
Not all struggles appear huge and often one’s problems and suffering are not obvious. At other times, our challenges are very public and the pain is, too. We work at convincing ourselves that we should be able to manage things on our own. Perhaps we feel too ashamed and fear being judged negatively so much so that we cannot imagine the benefits that can come from sharing our situations with others. And so we deny ourselves the opportunity to receive support from those who are ready and willing to listen and walk with us.
Suffering is a part of life and no life seems to escape it. Depending on one’s support systems, which often times include reliance on God’s grace and a faith community to support them, there are individuals and families who are gifted with the courage and perseverance to forge ahead in the midst of life’s struggles, pains and losses. As a priest, I have witnessed that faith, prayer, and community are always invaluable resources for us, but especially when we are in pain. The recognition that “I am not alone in my struggle” is crucial.
Our Charlestown community is equipped with professionals who are eager and competent to help, but also there are persons in our community ready to be a source of friendship and support. Truth is, no one is truly independent and no one can make it on his or her own – we all need one another. And even more so, we need God, Who is waiting for us and Who knows us so well and loves us so deeply and unconditionally. Perhaps this realization is one of the gifts that come from suffering.
The month of September is designated as National Recovery month. Every year the Charlestown Coalition collaborates with other groups in our town to offer various events which increase awareness of substance use, prevention, and recovery, and to remember those who, sadly, have lost their lives as a result of substance use. Our Parish often remembers these intentions in our Prayers of the Faithful at our Masses.
On Sunday evening, September 18th, we will gather at the 6PM Mass, as we have done in Septembers past, to especially pray for those in recovery, those who struggle with substance use, and for their families. The Paschal Candle will be lit in remembrance of those who have lost their lives to this dreadful disease. After Mass, you may inscribe the names of those you want included in our Parish Book of Intentions and they will be lifted up in prayer at every Mass. All are warmly welcomed to join us in this time of prayer and always.