Dear Brothers & Sisters,
These upcoming days we will have some awesome celebrations. Starting this weekend, the Lord will invite all of us to love Him and our neighbor with all heart, soul and mind. Then on Wednesday we have the celebration of All Saints Day, and then the following day we honor all the faithful departed. I would like to reflect on these three celebrations with you this week.
The readings this Sunday are not new to us. We all know it by heart. But if we were to look a little deeper on its meaning, would it still be familiar to us? What does “love of God” entail in our daily lives? Imagine that we love another person. I suppose that we would go to their house, talk to them, and have memories about them, right? Well, the same can be said of God. We are called to come to his house (come to Church), talk to him (pray), and have memories (contemplate what God has done in our lives). There is a saint who would stop at every church when he was a kid he would go out with his mother. After the third stop, she asked him, my son, why do you need to go into every single church? He replied saying that he had to stop by to say hi to his friend Jesus. I suppose we would do the same if we were walking down the street and passing in front of the house of our best friend. This love of God means to love with Him with word and deed. It does not mean only to say more prayers. It means to have a deeper relationship with Him that, as a consequence, will impact our lives. The moment we realize that God is on our side to help us go to heaven, then our actions will follow that desire. Now, love of neighbors is the same thing, but directed towards the people around us (both inside and outside our household). To love the other is to do the same that we do with God. We are invited to go to their house, talk to them, and have memories of them. On the flip side of the coin, we are also called to open our house to receive people, to allow people to talk to us, and to do things to create memories in people’s lives. The call to love our neighbor is a universal call. The same way we are called to love our spouses and children, so we are called to love the homeless, the widow, and the stranger to be biblically precise. In light of this, I urge you to pray to God and talk to him if He calls you to minister to those in need. We have Saint Vincent de Paul who does exceptional work with the people in need. In addition, we would like to start 2 new ministries in the parish. Our first one is the Hospitality Ministry which will be directed towards the people that come to church and those who are homebound (please see the announcement page for more info). Due to the recent arrival of the Haitian refugees in town, we are starting a TASK FORCE TO THE NEEDY. That group will respond to whatever humanitarian need we have around us and the globe. This way they would be coordinating the efforts of our parish in helping the needy! Whoever is interested in this ministry please reach out to their email email@example.com. Remember that we are called to love our neighbors by word (prayer) and deed!
On Wednesday as we celebrate All Saints, it is important to understand who the saints are. They are not extra-special people or who had special powers. They were normal people like us. Some were from noble families while others were poor. Some were famous and had accomplished lives, while others were “no-ones.” There are some sayings that I believe reveal their essence. “Saints were not people who were perfect, but they tried; the saints were not people that didn’t fall, but got up after every time they fell.” Some of these sayings were said by people who were saints themselves. I like reading their little biographies because it shows that if they were saints, we can all be saints as well. Therefore, let us come on Wednesday to Mass, not because it’s a day of obligation, but rather to come to see our heavenly friends who are willing to help us with more than finding our keys. Our Holy Day Schedule is 7:30am, 12:10pm, 6:00pm, and 7:30pm Spanish and 7:30pm Portuguese.
On Thursday, the day after our heavenly brothers intercede for us, we are called in turn to intercede for all the faithful departed. This is the day in which the whole Church prays for their brothers and sisters who need our prayers to assist their passage to heaven. I know that we honor our loved ones on Memorial day here in the US, but as Christians this is the day we are called to pray for those who are deceased. Indeed, there is a special blessing (plenary indulgence) that is given to anyone who visits a cemetery in the week following Nov. 2nd (while praying for the Pope, receiving communion, and going to confession). Lastly, here in the Parish we will have our book out for every mass where we can write the names of our beloved deceased. On the next page we have the names of all those who were buried in our parish in this past year. We will have additional masses for the deceased on Nov. 2nd at 7:30am, 6:00pm (English), 7:30pm (in Portuguese and Spanish).
Dear Brothers & Sisters,
I wanted to have written a follow up letter from last week. However, we have another pressing issue that requires our attention. The Archdiocese, on behalf of the Massachusetts Catholic Conference, has asked us to share with you this important message. Especially now in October that we promote Life, it is very fitting that we take action. I do ask you to make your voices heard in protection for those who don’t have a voice and even for ourselves in the near future. People who are experiencing pain and fear do not need a medication to terminate their lives, but rather, they need people who walk those difficult times with them. They need compassion, not euthanasia. Please read the message below. Both our State Senator and Representative are sponsoring this bill. Therefore, it is of utmost urgency to contact them, since they should be representing our values. It is a slippery slope once such a bill is approved. The terminology of the bill could be left for different interpretations, which could lead to an abuse of the law, that gives room for other people to ask to end their lives. This is what happened in some countries in Europe which today allows people with severe depression to have access to medication to end their lives.
Say NO to Physician Assisted Suicide in Massachusetts
LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD NOW!
The Massachusetts State Legislature is again considering passing into law two deeply troubling bills this session which would legalize Physician Assisted Suicide. The bills, House 2246 and Senate 1331, are identical in text and titled “An Act relative to end of life options”.
“The Catholic Bishops of Massachusetts stand united in our strong opposition to Physician Assisted Suicide. It is an affront to life and a dangerous precedent for determining end of life issues. Physicians are trained to care for the ill, not to hasten death.”1
Here are some troubling facts to consider before you act:
1. The bills would allow a physician to provide a deadly drug mixture to an individual diagnosed with less than 6 months to live that, when consumed, would cause death.
NOTE- The diagnosis could be wrong. Countless individuals have outlived that 6-month diagnosis and enjoyed many more precious months and years with family and friends.
2. No Real Safeguards - A vulnerable individual who is physically disabled, depressed, or fears being a “burden” may be subject to undue influence by others to take the drug mixture, especially if there is a financial benefit as an incentive.
3. The primary focus of elected officials should be dedicated to legislation providing quality health care, mental health care and palliative care to the sick and dying – particularly in the underserved, poor and minority communities that suffer the most at the time of need.
How can your voice be heard?
Call or email your legislators, let them know you are a Massachusetts voter, and say NO to Physician Assisted Suicide! Log on to www.macatholic.org and follow the links to find contact information for:
* Members of the legislative Joint Committee on Public Health who will be considering these bills.
* Your individual State Senator and Representative via address and zip code link.
* Representative: Danielle W. Gregoire: 617-722-2140.
* Senator: James B. Eldridge: 617-722-1120.
For individuals without internet access, please call the Massachusetts Catholic Conference at 617746-5630 for legislative contact information.
1 Boston Pilot - Statement of the four Roman Catholic Bishops of Boston, Fall River, Springfield, and Worcester (December 8, 2017)
Dear Brothers & Sisters,
For a long time I have desired to write this letter and I have been waiting for a good occasion for it. However, it has been very difficult to find. In this month of October we dedicate to “Respect Life Month,” we are called to pray for all the babies (born and unborn), the sick and the dying. Surely I pray for all of you every day, and now I hope this is the right time to address you in this letter.
Often when we think of “Respect Life,” abortion seems to be one of the first things that comes to mind. We all know that respect Life covers all parts of life, from conception to natural death. Certainly, we do need to speak more on each of the stages of life. Our first reflection should be what are we doing about “life” as individuals, as children of God, and above all, as a Parish? I hope that individually we were able to contribute to the baby shower for First Concern, the Tootsie Roll drive we had last week, Saint Vincent de Paul, and other charitable initiatives. But individually we can do very little. The saying goes that “it takes a VILLAGE”, doesn’t it? Maybe it’s time for us to get the village together.
I have been here at IC for just over 5 years now. There were a lot of things that happened and they needed to be addressed. It took a lot of time and effort what had to be done. But there is still much more that is necessary to do. For many nights I have stared at the Blessed Sacrament wondering and discerning what I should do. One of the things that I found out is that there is very little that I can do on my own. Whatever the Lord has put in front of me I did with the best of my abilities. I know that it was not great, and far from what is ideal. There is very little that can be done regarding the past, but we have the whole future ahead of us. My heart has been burning to start a parent’s group, a hospitality ministry, a youth and young adults ministry and hold important talks to people of all ages, such as funeral arrangements, mental health and etc… As I said before, there is very little that I can do and I do poorly (this is not false humility, it’s reality). We have great people sitting in the pews of this parish that are being called by God to work in His vineyard. The youth are struggling tremendously and we as the Church and a parish, have just began helping them this semester. Couples are struggling in their marriages and parents don’t know how to help their kids anymore. People who are lonely or maybe even feel disconnected are seated next to us, and we don’t even say good morning, or extend our hands. We know that we have a group of refugees that have landed here in Marlborough and we have not visited them (yet). As Jesus would say, “the harvest is abundant, but the laborers are few.” (Mt 9:37)
I urge all of you to start a time of discernment to know what God calls you to do. We need leaders, people to come up with a plan and execute ideas, and hands, lots of hands, to work in the Lord’s Vineyard. Yes, I know, we are all busy and don’t have much availability to help…I think the same. However, first, if we all do a little bit, we can go a long way. Second, we do spend a lot of time doing things that are not essential and at times they are a waste of time. Third, and maybe most importantly, THERE IS AN URGENCY IN RESPONDING TO GOD’S CALL. People are by the second getting lost, suffering, losing hope, distancing themselves from God. And again, what are we doing? If it would not be by the intervention of some people in our lives, we would also be lost by now. Maybe some of us would be divorced, others might have had fewer kids, maybe even having a vice or two…Christ encourages us not by a utopian effort, but by what we have received. “Love one another, as I have loved you”. He simply asks us to give what we have received. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel, but simply pass onto others what He has already given us.
I hope this letter is only the beginning of a special time in our parish. We are already starting a youth ministry for Middle schoolers this month (we invite you to bring your kids to our retreat) and High schoolers next month. The hospitality ministry is starting to take shape. But we need your help to do the rest. People need your help to be reached out. Christ needs your help to make His kingdom present here. I should add that the other ministries also need help, such as Saint Vincent de Paul, Knights of Columbus, the Monday Cenacle, Bible Study, Religious Education Program. It is certainly a lot for so few of us, but not much if we all pitch in. Imagine what people did when they built our church almost 150 years ago. As it took a village then, it takes a village now.
Dear Brothers & Sisters,
Please see below a letter from the Knights of Columbus.
The Knights of Columbus was founded in 1882 by Father Michael J. McGivney in New Haven, Connecticut. Fr. McGivney had a mission to aid the widows and orphans at the time, as when the husband/father of the family passed away, the wife/mother were left helpless and with no money or security. Many times when that happened, children were taken from the mother and relocated to other families in the area by order of the state. Father McGivney did not want this to continue, so he wanted to form a band of brothers to be there to aid the widow and orphan in their time of need.
Back in the 19th century, Catholics were the minority, especially in the area of New Haven, CT, where it was mostly a Protestant community. Father McGivney broke new ground and reached out to the community to help break the barriers and to solve the differences between the faiths. He was successful in doing this, and while he was in the height of this endeavor, he became ill and passed away at the young age of 38. After his death, the Knights of Columbus continued to expand and grow within Connecticut, and into other states in New England. They focused on 4 areas of brotherhood: Charity, Unity, Fraternity, and Patriotism. Together Brother Knights joined each degree of these areas, and grew their local councils promoting their Catholic faith, all in an effort to continue to aid the widow and orphan, and to help the communities throughout the expanding states.
Fast-forward from 1882, to present-time in 2023, The Knights of Columbus are now more than 2-million strong, world-wide, and help in humanitarian efforts throughout the world. One area in particular the Knights of Columbus supports year-round, are those with intellectual disabilities, working closely with The Special Olympics, headquartered right here in our own backyard of Marlborough. Each year, the Knights of Columbus launches their historic “Tootsie Roll Drive”, where the Knights of Columbus hand out Tootsie Rolls after Mass, and other locations, in exchange for any donation individuals wish to make in support of this worthy cause. All proceeds go to support those with intellectual disabilities in the form of development, wheel chair ramps, and many, many other ways to help those in need with intellectual disabilities.
This Columbus Day weekend Oct 7-8, after all Masses, the Knights of Columbus members will be standing outside in their familiar yellow smocks, handing out Tootsie Rolls. Any donation is accepted, and, we also have a QR Code that can be used and it goes directly to our secure website for additional donations for this cause. Council 81, Knights of Columbus, in service now for 130 years, serves both Immaculate Conception and St. Matthias parishes in Marlborough, and we are also in alliance with St. Michael Parish in Hudson. Between the three parishes in both Marlborough-Hudson, we continue to promote the values that Father McGivney started. Father McGivney, is now known as “Blessed Michael J. McGivney”, as he is on his path to sainthood. Please check out our website: www.kofcmarlboro.org, for more information.
Vivat Jesus! (which means, Jesus Lives)
Brendan Butler, Grand Knight, Marlborough Council 81
Mike Gibson, State Warden, Knights of Columbus
Father Steven Clemence