Dear Brothers and Sisters,
After a very important invitation to the Worcester Catholic Women’s Conference from last weekend’s bulletin, we return to the explanation of the structure of the parish. Two weeks ago we spoke about the Finance Council, and this week we will speak about the Parish Council.
As the Finance Council assists the pastor on financial matters caring for the temporal goods of the parish (assets), the Parish Council works on the human, spiritual, and pastoral side. The Archdiocese of Boston describes the purpose of it as “to assist the pastor in his leadership role of planning, organizing, initiating, promoting, coordinating and reviewing the evangelization, worship, religious education and service activities within the parish.” As members of the parish, the members are able to give their personal insight on pastoral decisions. Since they are diverse in their composition, they are also able to represent the community in the decision making. They will be assisting the pastor to set long and short term pastoral goals for the parish. Additionally, the council will also seek out the needs of the people of the parish and beyond and involve the whole parish in the response of those needs. Finally, by Canon Law the pastor has to consult the parish council before making bigger decisions whether spiritual or financial. The council will be formed by 10 parishioners representing all three communities. Some members will be appointed and others will be voted in. Speaking with a number of parishioners, listening to their suggestions, 6 members from the English community have agreed to give their names to be chosen. We will choose 3 out of those 6. They will serve 3 year terms that can be renewed only once. Next week we will publish their names with a little bio about themselves.
As these brothers and sisters will be serving first of all God in this very important role, it is crucial that all of us first of all pray to the Holy Spirit. We read in the Acts of the Apostles how before electing St. Matthias, they prayed to the Holy Spirit for guidance. We will not be choosing a person to be the new apostle, but nonetheless, we will be choosing those who will help the guidance of the parish. There is a beautiful prayer used in different parishes before the election of new members. I kindly ask each of you to please pray this prayer for seven days before the naming of the “candidates.”
O God, We ask you to send your Holy Spirit to guide our parish in the selection of members for our
pastoral council. We are a parish that wants to do your will and carry out the mission Jesus entrusted to us. Help us find the men and women who will work with our pastor and guide us in our mission. We need men and women who will listen to the wisdom of the spirit and the needs of the people. We need men and women who are open to the ideas of others and who will work to bring us all together in unity as brothers and sisters in Christ. We need men and women who have a great love for you and for our parish. Continue to bless our parish so we can be a people filled with joy and faith as we live out our call to follow your Son, Jesus. Amen.
Next week I will instruct you on how to cast your vote for these brothers and sisters.
As we begin this new year, we are very excited to share with you the changes we are making to our music ministry. After much prayer, thought and discussion we will be making some changes in order to best serve everyone. We will be starting once again the children’s choir and we will be making the 11:00am mass a more child friendly mass. As a result, the adult choir will be moving to the 4:00pm mass on Saturday. We will also be adding some music to the 7:30am mass on Sunday and are making some small changes to a different style of contemporary music at the 5:00pm mass.
Next week, members of the music ministry will be speaking at all the masses to encourage participation in the adult choir and the children’s choir. Please prayerfully consider joining us!
CAR RAFFLE DRAWING
The CAR RAFFLE DRAWING, will take place this Sunday, September 18th, at 7:30 pm at the St. Mary of the Assumption Parish Gymnasium (301 Haverhill St. Lawrence, MA 01840; entrance thru White St.) The event will be broadcast live through the FACEBOOK LIVE of St. Mary's Parish: https://www.facebook.com/StMaryLawrence. People do NOT need to be there in order to win. Once the winning tickets are drawn, the people from St. Mary’s Parish in Lawrence, will be in charge of communicating the news to the winners.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
This week I would like to call the attention to something important, so we will pause our explanations regarding the structure of our parish. The Worcester Catholic Women’s Conference is about to take place on Saturday, October 1, 2022. They usually always sell out, so we would like to encourage women to participate in this year’s conference. Below is a witness experience of a parishioner who attended in the past and enjoyed it. Last year we had a strong presence from parishioners from IC Church. If you decide to participate, you can register and purchase the tickets online https://wcwconference.com and if you would like to carpool, or go as a group, please call the parish office.
Also this weekend, we celebrate Catechetical Sunday. It is a moment in which we thank and pray for our catechists. They are men and women who serve the Lord by instructing the children and youth on the ways of God. Please keep them in your prayers as they begin another year of our Religious Education program. If you would like to be a catechist or volunteer in our CCD program, please contact Margie at the parish office.
I have attended the Worcester Catholic Women’s Conference since the first one in 2018. It was quite a leap of faith to attend in 2018. I left the conference in awe of our wonderful Catholic faith. The theme was “to know, Him, to love Him and to serve Him”.
I have been involved in youth ministry and Religious Education for many years and it struck me at one point – if they don’t know who created them - nothing else matters so this really spoke to my heart. The conference affirmed my conviction of how this was so important.
In 2019 the theme was “The Eucharist: Source and Summit of Our Faith.” We hear this time and time again but what does this mean? The conference was so instrumental in helping us understand – everything flows from the Eucharist and goes back to the Eucharist. What did this mean for my life? I need to spend some time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. I have a habit of bringing bags of stuff to adoration and God says “just come to Me”. It is simple and He doesn’t require much – just being.
In 2021, the aftermath of Covid, the theme was “Joan Up with the Armor of God." This conference was an eye opener to me. St. Joan of Arc always seemed like someone I could not relate to however after the conference I felt more equipped and more convicted to go forth and “Be not afraid. I was born for this”. I pray everyday now to put on the armor of God – the helmet of salvation…the breastplate of righteousness…the shield of faith…the sword of the Spirit (the Word of God)…..the belt of truth. WE are in a spiritual battle.
We are now in 2022…..St. Therese is the patron Saint this year. The theme is “Embracing the Cross”. A homily that I have heard and gone back to often is – “Do you drag your cross or do you embrace it? Please consider attending this conference. You deserve it. I feel every year afterwards to go forth and share the Good News.
I would encourage every woman to prayerfully consider attending this year’s conference. You will be happy that you did. You owe it to yourself.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
These coming weeks, I would like to bring to your attention some structures that we have in the parish that are fundamental to the governing and the organization of the parish. You may have heard things here and there, but I would like to take this time to go over each one of them. This week we will start with the Finance Council.
The Archdiocese of Boston summarizes their role in the parish. “The Parish Finance Council is critical to the sound management of a parish. For this reason every parish is required by the Code of Canon Law to establish a Finance Council, which acts as a consultative body of the faithful to assist the pastor/administrator in the administration of the goods of the parish [that include the monetary goods, besides buildings, etc.] and to ensure accountability to the archdiocesan bishop and parishioners.” Most of the councils are defined by Canon Law, which is the rules that the whole Catholic Church follows all over the world. A bishop may adapt certain regulations to best fit their local church (dioceses). Here in Boston, the finance council is expected to “review and discuss budget and management of income and expenditure; review actual results compared to budgets; consider and consult on operating and capital requirements.”
Our mission as priests is to provide spiritual care for the people of God, as well as administer the goods of the Church. Although we receive basic training in best financial practices, most of us have never owned a business nor have dealt with financial analysis. Therefore, the Church envisions the parishioners who are experts in certain areas to offer their expertise to help the pastor in the decision making of these matters. “For this reason, it is important that the Finance Council be composed of individuals who have had experience in the areas of business, finance and accounting. While the Finance Council’s membership should be as balanced as possible (e.g., gender, age, racial/cultural background, etc.) membership must include individuals who have working knowledge in the areas of business, finance and administration.”
Our Finance Council is composed of bankers, business owners, financial analysts, lawyer, human resources, and they represent all three communities of the parish. These are the current members of the Council:
Mr. & Mrs. Silmar and Lorena Bueno
Mrs. Tracey Carter
Mr. David Chevrette
Mr. Sean Fay
Mr. Steven Pisan
Mr. & Mrs. Luis and Linda Velasquez
Please pray for them as they have worked hard through our difficult times in reviewing the Profit and Loss reports, annual financial reports, and give great inputs in the administration of the parish. All their work is always assisted by our Finance & Operations Manager, Helena Siciliano, who is a paid staff member from the parish who helps us in the day to day operations from bookkeeping to creating all sorts of financial reports.
Father Steven Clemence