Dear Brothers and Sisters,
This week in the United States, we begin the celebration of “Catholic Schools Week.” Such an important aspect of our culture could not be celebrated only in one day. It’s an opportunity for us to recognize the value, importance, and contributions of Catholic Education to our society. Here is a brief explanation of the history of Catholic Education, taken from the website of the USCCB:
“Catholic education in the United States goes back to at least 1606, when Franciscans opened a school in what is now St. Augustine, Florida. Further north and a bit later, Jesuits instructed such dedicated Native American students as Kateri Tekakwitha (1656-1680). By the latter 1600s, English colonists had set up their own public schools, often with a heavily Protestant, if not blatantly anti-Catholic cast. Even in Catholic-founded Maryland, Catholics were a minority, and in 1677, in Newtown, the Jesuits established a preparatory school. In New Orleans, the Franciscans opened a school for boys in 1718. Ursuline sisters arrived there from France in 1727 to open an orphanage, school for street girls and health facility. This was the first formal Catholic charity in the present United States. Catholics in Philadelphia in 1782 opened St. Mary’s School, considered the first parochial school in the United States...Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton founded the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph, set up a school for poor children in Emmitsburg, Maryland, in 1809 and made the creation of parochial schools a lifetime cause.”
In our parish we have the privilege to have a Catholic School. Founded on 1910, it has shaped the lives of thousands of boys and girls. Often parents are concerned about the college education of their children. However, it is the lower grades that build the foundations of their character and their values. In the case of our school, we go beyond that. With great teachers and administration, we help the children to be first and foremost Holy, good students, loving, and eager to serve one another. This focus is central to our schools Mission Statement: "The Immaculate Conception Parish School Community’s mission is to nurture the development of the whole child in faith, academics and service within a Catholic, Christian learning environment."
Currently we are having some financial difficulties with our school. We are serving some families who are not able to pay full tuition, but they do want to provide their children with a quality Catholic education. We have taken a leap of faith by accepting these students. Now, we want to take a greater leap accepting even more students. However, to offer a Catholic education to more students we need your help. We will create a program in which parishioners, alumni, and people of good will can help the parents who want their children to attend Immaculate Conception School and provide a quality Catholic education for their children. With our help, we can bring our mission of development of the whole child in faith, academics and service within a Catholic, Christian learning environment to more children. For those who can attend, I invite you to come to the school Mass we will have on Monday, January 27th , at 9am in the upper Church. Please come and see the students in action. We need your help. They need your help. Catholic schools were first created and flourished with the support of the people of God. Now we also need your support.
On behalf of all the priests and the staff of IC, I would like to thank everyone who has sent us cards, gifts, and baked (delicious) goodies during Christmas. Your kindness was very much appreciated. On behalf of the parish, I would like to applaud all those who decorated the Church. It was remarkable and brought so much beauty! Thanks, also, to all the choir members and cantors who made these past liturgies so beautiful. Also, to those who serve and contributed in any way, thank you. Lastly, a word of appreciation to all who congratulated me on being installed as pastor. It was overwhelming all the love and kindness shown by you. The Cardinal was very happy with the mass and the reception prepared by so many of you. So THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!
DISTRIBUTION OF THE BLOOD OF CHRIST
Given recent reports from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the CDC, the Archdiocese of Boston has recommended that all parishes, shrines and chapels within the Archdiocese refrain from distributing the Precious Blood to the faithful until further notice. This is particularly important to us, since in the surrounding area, the rates of the Influenza-like illness activity is “high.” We are monitoring the situation and will resume the distribution of the blood of Christ as soon as possible.
NEW MUSIC DIRECTOR
It is with great joy that we announce the hiring of our new music director, Mr. Jason Gaudette. After looking into countless resumes and interviewing different candidates, our search committee was happy to recommend Mr. Gaudette. He has extensive experience in music ministry and in various parishes since 1991. He is very excited to begin his ministry here at IC and will be writing more about himself, so that we can get to know him. Please welcome Mr. Gaudette into our community. We are grateful for Jonathan Cote, our interim music director, who has led us in music in these past months. Also, a word of thanks to the members of the search committee for their effort (and patience) helping us finding a new music director.
God bless, Fr. Steven
My Dear Friends in Christ,
As we proceed with the New Year in the life of the Church allow me this opportunity to bring to your attention two very serious and deeply troubling legislative bills being considered by the Joint Committee on the Judiciary at the Massachusetts State House. If enacted into law these proposals would significantly expand abortion access in Massachusetts beyond what is currently permitted. The proposed legislation goes far beyond the Roe v. Wade decision of the Supreme Court. I urge you to learn about the specific details of the proposals by way of information provided in this week’s bulletin insert. With your help and the help of your family, friends and neighbors, we must make every effort to ensure that these bills do not become law in Massachusetts. Your voice and the voices of all opposed to unprecedented expansion of abortion will make a difference. It is of critical importance that the women and men who represent us in the Legislature know where we stand on the protection of life. With the assurance of my prayers for you and all your loved ones, I remain,
Devotedly yours in Christ,
Archbishop of Boston
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
During the short time that I have been here in Marlborough, I was amazed to learn about the history of our community. From the construction of the church, and later the school, their expansions and renovations, to the history of the parishioners and the many people who have served IC over these 150 years. Looking at all the good and the sad, it makes me wonder how the words from St. Paul became a reality among us. In his letter to the Galatians, he writes, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for YOU ARE ALL ONE in Christ Jesus.” Today looking into the IC community, we can say that we are truly one body. In recent months we have been tirelessly working together to reopen our church, you could see the Irish, Italian, Polish, French, Hispanic, Brazilian, Filipino, Vietnamese, Indian and many more other ethnicities standing side by side. Reciting the same prayers, adoring the same God, praying together as ONE in our parish. On the evening of January 20, 2019, when the news about the fire in the church was made known, we were all concerned about our spiritual house. The morning of the following day, we all were grieving about our loss and thanking God that a greater disaster had not happened. This weekend we come together once again, as one body, in prayer, thanking God for allowing us to be back in our Church. Hopefully, these occasions of bringing the whole parish together can increase more and more as we go forward.
Besides being one, our mission statement states that we are also “a community that strives to be authentic witnesses to the Church: one, holy, catholic and apostolic.” This weekend we can visually see that present among us. The presence of Cardinal Sean O’Malley, certainly manifests the apostolic tradition, as he is a successor of the apostles. As we gather together from all the different corners of the world, it shows how our parish is universal, that is, Catholic. We come together in prayer, asking God for us to be Holy! That is always a work in progress! But if in this process we have harmed or neglected someone, or those who came before us, we ask for forgiveness. There is nothing that should separate us from our faith or one another. In the same, as Cardinal Sean has gone out of his way to create communion, so should we. Reaching out to the far away, helping the needy, and keeping the doors of our heart wide open to receive the gifts that God wants to give us.
Let us ask the intercession of the Immaculate Mary, that She may help us in our mission of creating communion and accompany us in our journey to holiness.
Father Steven Clemence