Dear Brothers & Sisters,
It feels more and more like spring these days! As we begin this beautiful time of the year, there is one more exciting news that I would like to share with you. As we did a year ago, we will be having our Annual Car Raffle coming up! And this year we will be having 3 cars!!!
Last year, some parishes got together to be able to run a fundraiser that greatly benefited each parish. The idea is that parishioners would get a stack of tickets to sell them to their family and friends. In our parish, among all our communities we sold 3,000 tickets, generating an income of $35,814 for IC. This year, with your help, we hope we can sell at least $4,000 tickets. Surely it is a great financial help for us. However, there is one greater benefit of running this raffle. It is the opportunity that we have to speak about our faith. Generally speaking, we don’t get to speak much about religion to others, much less in a public environment such as at work or in schools. It was very interesting how last year on our altar server day, many kids realized that they had people in their school that were also Catholics, went to the same Church, and were also altar servers. That happens because they serve at different masses, but never spoke in school about it. These tickets would give us a gentle opportunity to speak about our faith and our parish. We ourselves may also realize that the people that we know may also be fellow Catholics, attend the same Parish, and maybe at the same mass as we are, just sitting at the opposite side of the back of the church.
The process of the tickets is fairly simple. Those parishioners and friends who would like to help us would request an envelope from Lee Ann or from some volunteers at mass. Each envelope contains 20 tickets, a small flyer for the raffle, and a sheet to keep track who purchased each ticket. The drawing for the raffle will be on September 17th, 2023 at 7:30pm at St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Lawrence. It is a must that the stub contains the name and the phone number of the person who purchased the ticket. Whether all the tickets are sold or not, everything must be returned to the parish by Thursday, August 31st, with the unsold tickets, the stubs of the sold tickets with the money. If someone sells the tickets from one envelope, and would like more tickets, please contact the parish office. This year here, we will have a special prize for the person who sells the most tickets!!!
The three cars that we are raffling are two 2023 Honda CR-V Ex and one 2023 Honda Civic Sedan Sport. You will see the poster at the church door and from time to time you will see one of the cars at the entrance as well. We would like to thank Jayson Navarro, our parishioner, and Lundren Honda Dealership for helping us with the cars.
We invite each person or family to please take an envelope of tickets (each envelope has 20 tickets) to sell it to their family, friends, neighbors, acquaintances and thus help our parish!
Dear Brothers & Sisters,
I hope you are still experiencing the graces of Easter! Remember that we celebrate Easter for 50 days!!! As if that was not enough cause to rejoice, we have some exciting events about to happen in the parish that I would like to point out to you.
Next weekend, we will officially start our “Wedding Season”. We have 21 Weddings scheduled so far in the next few months to be celebrated in the parish. There are a few other weddings from parishioners who will be having their ceremony elsewhere. Among these couples, we have a great variety of backgrounds, ages, and time together. As we pray for all of them, I also exhort to pray daily for the vocation to married life. It is a beautiful vocation and not often spoken about. Holy couples are the source for every other vocation, and families are very much under attack nowadays.
Next week, we will also have our first round of first communions. Both our Brazilian and Spanish communities will be celebrating their first communions on Sunday at 9:00am and 1:00pm respectively. Our English first communions will be the following weekend, Sunday, May 7th at the 11:00am Mass. All together we have over 80 children receiving Jesus for the first time. Let us also keep our youth in prayer that they may continue to grow closer to Jesus in their journey.
The Weekend of May 13th & 14th is full of graces. First of all, on Saturday, we celebrate Our Lady of Fatima. There are many people devoted to her and still many more who could learn more about it. The latest Netflix movie on Fatima was quite good. On that day we will be having our confirmations here in the parish. Bishop Reed will be the celebrant this year. The mass will be at 2:00pm for anyone who would like to attend. Earlier that day, one of our seminarians, Gabriel Hanley, tall, lean who sings very well, will be ordained Transitional Deacon at 10:00am at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross along with a few other men by Cardinal Sean. If you have never been to an ordination, it is something to be seen! Please call the office for more information. Then, the following day we celebrate Mother’s Day. Besides honoring our earthly mothers, we shall also do a crowning of the Blessed Mother at the 9:00am,
11:00am, and 1:00pm Masses. As we get our processions back in place, this one will be a short one. We will be crowning the statue of Mary that is in the front of the church. All are welcome to bring flowers to Mary and deposit at her feet. On that day, Birthright, one of our pregnancy help centers in town, will be having their annual fundraiser to help mothers in need.
Although it is not a local event, the weekend after that one there will be the priestly ordinations at the Cathedral also at 10:00am. And that leads us to the final weekend of May where the Church celebrates Pentecost, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Church. It is a very intense period, but also a very special and grace filled time. That should lead us to our “last” weekend of events which will be June 10/11th. The Brazilian community will be doing their annual Brazilian Festival on Saturday late afternoon/evening. Then on the following day, we will be doing the Corpus Christi Procession. We don’t have all the details yet, but we are looking into the possibility of celebrating one big trilingual mass at 11:00am outside and then march through downtown Marlboro with the Blessed Sacrament. We have started looking into our wood-dust carpet that this year should be even bigger and prettier.
Last but not least, there is a very important mission to all of us. You may have heard that there will be a Satanic Conference held in Boston next week. The Archdiocese has instructed us not to protest, because that would only generate more attention to them. Instead, we will do what we do best, namely, to call to God in our prayers. Over the three days (April 28, 29, 30), we are all urged to pray the Rosary, and the prayer of St. Michael for that intention. There will be a prayer card available this weekend for you to take home, along with a pledge form. Our Church will be open all day, as it is every day from 6am-7pm, for everyone to be able to pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament. The Rosary is our strongest weapon against the devil, so it is time to use it up! I count on you!
Dear Brothers & Sisters,
On this Second Sunday after Easter, Pope St. John Paul II declared it “Divine Mercy Sunday” in the year 2000 following the canonization of Sister Faustina Kowalska. She was a nun in Poland who had many revelations of Jesus and compiled all of them in her “Diaries”. In one of the revelations, our Savior asked that the second Sunday after Easter be dedicated to his Divine Mercy. But what really is Divine Mercy? What is the meaning of the picture of Jesus with the two rays coming from his side? What are the graces reserved for those who pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy?
The word “mercy” comes from the Latin “Misericordia” which is a combination of words “miseria” (misery) and “cor” (heart). In other words, mercy is to have a heart for those who are wretched or in misery. However, the original biblical word from “mercy” comes from the Hebrew word “Rachamin”, which stems from the word “womb”. In the Jewish tradition, God when He forgives, he regenerates us once again. If by sin we are estranged from God, by mercy/forgiveness, we become children of God once again. It is very much connected with baptism, as the birth of a new creature. The word of mercy in the OT then makes us meditate on the passage from the prophet Isaiah 49:15, “Even if a mother forgets her child, I will never forget you.” Divine Mercy is something that can never be exhausted, and God never gets tired to forgive us as long as we ask for forgiveness.
In one of Sister Faustina Kowalska’s visions of Christ, He commands her to portray the image that she saw. Jesus is dressed in white garments with blue and white rays coming from His pierced side, representing the blood and water which “gushed forth from his side as a fountain of mercy.” It took about 12 attempts until the artist got the image close to what Sister Faustina saw. Then at the bottom of the image, Jesus requested to have the words “Jesus, I trust in you.” Along with the image, Jesus also promised many graces through that specific image.
In another vision, Sister Kowalska was told the promises from Jesus to those who pray the chaplet. “I promise that the soul that will venerate this image (of Divine Mercy) will not perish. I also promise victory over (its) enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I Myself will defend it as My own glory. (#48)”; “…whoever approaches the Fount of Life on this day will be granted complete remission of sins and punishment. Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to My mercy.” (#300); “I desire that the Feast of Mercy…be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter…The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion (in a state of grace on this day) shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment.” (#699); “Whoever will recite it will receive great mercy at the hour of death.” (687); “The souls that say this chaplet will be embraced by My mercy during their lifetime and especially at the hour of their death.” (754); “My mercy is greater than your sins and those of the entire world.” (#1485); “At three o’clock, implore My mercy, especially for sinners; and, if only for a brief moment, immerse yourself in My Passion, particularly in My abandonment at the moment of agony…I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of My Passion.” (#1320). It is certainly comforting that in light of all of our shortcomings, sins, and deviations of God’s path to know that God is willing to not only to forgive us, but to transform us into vessels of mercy.
A Rabbi described Mercy as “it includes showing kindness to those who don’t deserve it, and forgiving those that deserve punishment.” As much as we are in need of Mercy, so is the whole world. Indeed, when we pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, which is very quick, we repeat “Have Mercy on us and on the whole world.” So I would invite to you participate with us at the Divine Mercy Service this Sunday at 3pm, and to come back to adore Jesus in our 24h Adoration, so that the world may also experience the mercy of God, and to be able to “forgive one another,” as Jesus commanded us.
Dear Brothers & Sisters,
Christ is Risen, He is truly Risen, Alleluia!
This is one of the most ancient greetings from the Church. As we read in the Gospel on this Easter Sunday how the women told the Apostles, and after seeing for themselves, they confirm it. We know that this is true, but how does that change our life, or what is the impact of the resurrection of Christ in us?
Imagine the people who are afraid of water because of a childhood trauma. Whenever they come in contact with water, or even at times think about water, they can panic. Once they overcome their fear, they can enjoy swimming, going to the beach and other water-related activities. Another scenario can be that of a snake that bites people and through their fangs insert poison into someone. Certainly, we should not be around them because they are dangerous. Now, imagine a snake that has no fangs nor venom, would it be dangerous and lethal? The same way we can speak about love. Because of certain traumas and things that happened in our past, we can be afraid of loving others, or even allowing other people into our lives. We can fear being heart-broken again, or hurt in a different way, so in order to avoid it, we don’t love. This is trickery from the devil. In the letter to the Hebrews, it says that the devil enslaves man through the fear of death all their lives (Heb 2:15). He enslaves or shackles us in a way that we can’t move. Just like in the scenarios above, we miss out on the fun of swimming because of the fear we have. Jesus comes to overcome death, that is, he conquers death in a way that is no longer scary. It remains there, but it can no longer affect us. Similarly like the snake, once the fangs are removed, it can no longer poison us, or kill us. It becomes harmless.
By the death of Christ, our sins are forgiven. The punishment that we should have received for our sins falls on him. However, if our sins are forgiven, we are still not saved. We remain with our same lives, just without the condemnation hanging over our heads. To focus on the death of Christ is incomplete. The passion of Christ is his death AND RESURRECTION. It is only by the resurrection that we receive a new life. Only by him rising again can we be saved. And if we are raised with Christ, meaning, if we experience this resurrection, St. Paul says, then we no longer are worried of the things of earth, but rather of the things of above. (Col 3:1-2). He goes on to say that we are dead (to the world) and now the life we have is “hidden with Christ in God.” We are only capable of love, to reach out to others, regardless of their actions, if we are completely united with Christ. As we experience his death by our self-denial, we are raised with a different mind. In a way, we already experienced that in our baptism, which is a symbolism of Christ’s death and resurrection. When we are bathed in the waters of baptism, it represents that the old man with our sinful nature (original sin) is buried in those waters. Then as we rise from the waters, we rise as a new man, a man in Christ. St. Paul would describe it as, “If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation.” (2Co 5:17) This new creation given to us in our baptism, and renewed or relived on Easter is this opportunity to live a new life. In other words, the life of anger, lack of forgiveness, “selective” love, resentment is past and conquered. In turn, a love of patience and selfless love, forgiveness appears.
On Easter as we celebrate the resurrection of Christ, we have the opportunity to start a new life. It is not a life by effort as many times we think is the only way we can put up with others. The new Life of Christ risen from the dead is a life free from the shackles that prevent us to live the life of Christ in us, without an effort. As you can see on the icon of the front page of the bulletin, Christ breaks the doors that lock us away from others. I hope that you may all experience today the power of the resurrection and may allow the graces of Christ to flow into your lives, especially in those areas where we need help.
Father Steven Clemence