From Father Steven
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
When I first arrived in the US, back in 2005, I was somewhat familiar with the celebration of Thanksgiving. My knowledge, however, was limited to what I had seen in the movies. I knew about food, the family gathering, and that it was a big deal. At my first thanksgiving here, I was surprised to the whole dimension of THANKS-GIVING. In other words, the whole aspect of giving THANKS was amazingly awesome to witness. Before the meal, the family that hosted me shared a time that they were thankful for. Their reasons were beautiful and inspiring.
The concept of giving thanks should be very familiar for us Catholics as well. We do that every Sunday when we come to mass. The original word for mass comes from the Greek Eucharist (like eucharistic ministers and eucharistic prayer), which means, THANKSGIVING. This particular action, even though it “lacks” stuffing, cranberries, turkey, and other thanksgiving dinner favorites, it does lead to our salvation. When the priest invites the congregation to “GIVE THANKS TO THE LORD”, we respond, “it is RIGHT AND JUST.” Then he continues, “it is truly right and just, our DUTY AND OUR SALVATION, always and everywhere to GIVE YOU THANKS, LORD…”.
At this time, personally, and on behalf of the priests and the whole parish, I would like to GIVE THANKS to God for everything that he has done, is doing and will continue to do. But it is also RIGHT AND JUST, MY DUTY (and salvation), always and everywhere to THANK YOU, PEOPLE OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION COMMUNITY. It would be unfair to name a single person who has helped me, because there are so many who did, and there are still others that I might not be aware of. Without your support, your kindness, your smiles, your words of encouragement, and your prayers, we would not be able to go through this year. The efforts of so many volunteers and staff, that day after day, contribute with their time and talent to the growth of our community. A special word also to the different committees, councils that help our IC community to flourish through their advice and hard work. All those who are engaged in the work of our school, who constantly share God’s love with our students and their families. We must thank also the many groups and ministries of our parish, who help us with the work of the sanctification of our parish. I would also like to add a special thank you to those who continue to financially support our school, our parish offertory, the special collections and particularly those who contributed to the fire restoration. All these donations are deeply appreciated. In short, THANK YOU!
Please read the message below from Evelyn Walton, from Birthright, who also wants to thank you.
As in past years the parishioners of Immaculate Conception have showered our local Hudson/Marlborough Birthright with generous donations to support their ministry of helping pregnant mothers in need. In addition to $855.00 in monetary donations we received abundant diapers, blankets, onesies, sleep and play outfits, snowsuits, crib blankets, bath necessities, diaper bags as well as lovingly-handmade sweaters and blankets! Your generous support enables Birthright to be a valuable community resource for pregnant mothers by offering pregnancy tests, material and emotional support, referrals for housing, furniture, medical care and other services a pregnant mother may need as she chooses life for her precious unborn baby. Because Birthright is an all volunteer organization every donation directly benefits these mothers and their babies. May God bless each of you for your generous response in reaching out to pregnant mothers and their babies with love, hope, and a helping hand!
From Father Steven
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Thank you all who stopped by the 24-hour adoration! It was a great blessing to our parish.
Onto our next adventure then! MARCH FOR LIFE in DC!!! We are looking into the best way for us to go to and from DC and we are looking into different ways of joining this pilgrimage. We will leave on Thursday evening, January 23rd. In the morning we will attend a mass that Cardinal Sean celebrates with all the Catholics of the Archdiocese of Boston, we will participate in the rally, and then we will return home on Friday, January 24th. We anticipate the cost to be about $100.00 per person. More information will be forthcoming. Please read the story below from Massachusetts Citizen For Life.
I don’t remember a lot about being seven, but I remember Alex. He was a German exchange student who lived with us after my brother returned from his stay with Alex’s family in what was then West Germany. I remember Alex pointing to the eastward horizon from our backyard one day, trying to help me fathom where his home was, and squinting in my attempt to actually see this mysterious land with very tall people whose words sounded so different.
I remember Alex telling me a story about a high wall that went on for miles, sliced the land in two, and trapped people on one side. I recall being frightened not only by the notion itself but by Alex’s tone; the way he described the wall sounded a lot like his description of German food or the Autobahn: it was just an accepted part of the culture. A few years later, like you when you saw the impossible — the Berlin Wall suddenly toppling one night on TV, hoards of elated people atop it, yelling, waving, dancing — I felt a mix of amazement and disbelief. And I wondered, “Which powerful person finally brought it down?”
Yesterday, I came across an article in The Wall Street Journal that offers one highly inspirational answer: ordinary people. To be sure, influencers like President Reagan and Saint John Paul II undoubtedly caused the foundation beneath the concrete slabs to waver. Yet, according to the Journal: “ . . . formerly secret documents from the Stasi archive and German government collections, along with interviews, reveal that the sparks that detonated the powder keg the night of Nov. 9, 1989, came from the men and women in the middle: largely unknown officials and average East Germans in history’s path. Their actions—some intentional, some not—produced the chain of events that, wittingly and otherwise, leveled the Berlin Wall that night.”
The article reminded me of how easy it is to become overly dependent career politicians with pro-life voting records or industry leaders with deep pockets and Capitol Hill connections. But, like any human rights battle, ours will be won because of us: the unknown, average citizens who march fearlessly into history’s path.
On Friday, January 24, 2020, hundreds of thousands of “ordinary” people will convene once again in Washington, D.C. for what has become an extraordinary annual testimony. I hope you will join us! Abortion has become a lot like the Berlin Wall. It has divided, trapped, endangered, and killed. Worse, it has become commonplace. But brave leaders have begun to speak out against this evil of our time and call for freedom. The foundations of what our society has come to call “reproductive healthcare” weaken a little each day. Now, it’s up to us, the powerless but just, to topple the wall of lies. I look forward to marching with you in Washington and standing before the Supreme Court to remind our leaders of the purpose and worth to each human life.
Those that are interested, please sign up with your name and your phone number at the back of the Church this weekend or contact Lee Ann. Hopefully we will have one bus on our own, if we manage to have enough people interested. The seats will be reserved on a first come, first served basis.
God bless, Fr. Steven
From Father Steven
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
This week I would like to give you an update on the Church Restoration Projection. First of all, I would like to thank you for your patience and your cooperation during the time in which we are celebrating at St. Mary’s Chapel.
Soon after the fire happened back in January, I recall being somewhat overwhelmed with the thought of what we had to accomplish to bring the church back for our use. I asked the archdiocese insurance representatives how quickly “all the work” can be completed, imagining that it would only take a few months. Naively, I might have mentioned publicly that after the summer the church would be ready. They all chuckled out of respect to me, but they knew that it would take much longer than that. Once the work began, a more realistic timeframe, although still wishful, was projected for November by our committee. The response to my question at the meeting was actually, “Father, if the church is ready within the year that would be miracle.”
We have explored many options to improve the church while being mindful that all work must proceed in a financially responsible and liturgically appropriate manner. Recently, the Archdiocese provided direction on how to proceed. The final program involves improving the lighting system, updating the sound system, upgrading the sacristy, removing the fans, painting the ceiling, refinishing the pews and replacing the flooring. Restoration of the pews and replacement of some of the light fixtures will not be completed until mid January.
We are working diligently to be able to have a Christmas Miracle this year, that is, to celebrate Christmas in the Upper Church. We will need to rent chairs for use in the Upper Church until the pews are ready in January. You will notice a lot of activity in the Upper Church between now until Christmas. The next steps include putting down new flooring and electrical work for the upgraded lighting package.
The current approach is to have the church ready for decorating by December 19th. If everything goes according to plan, and the Big Boss up there continues to help us, we should make it!
I ask you to keep the whole project and the workers in your payers. I take advantage to remind you all about our 24 hour adoration starting this Sunday evening and going through Monday evening.
From Father Steven
Let us pray for all of those the Lord has called this year.
Robert E. Bennett, III Ann Romanazzi James Breen
Patricia Correia. Lucille P. Langevin Dolores “Emmie” LaFreniere
Paul H. Connor, Jr. Lorraine Y. Rochefort Edith W. Remick
Lorraine E. Foley Susan Terenzoni Claire Hartmann
Adnan Saman Patricia F. McManus Patricia Pazzaneze
Barbara Keating Phyllis Bradway John D. Drummey, Jr.
Claire Belmonte Ann Gove Michael F. Farrell, Sr.
Steven W. Turcotte Frances Sullivan Robert E. Durand
Diane Chimera Frances O’Reilly Francis P. O’Connell
(Joseph) Michael Buttiglieri Donald Zanca John Michael Yanchewski
Elsie M. Wellington Donald G. Ackroyd Lorraine LaForte
Juanita Shaughnessy Mark Cabral Donna Brita
Franics J. Kane Priscilla J. Richardson Sabina Palange
Rich Berte Norman Cole Alfred Sandini
Dorothy J. Breen Theresa St. Maurice Theresa Grasso
Paul Fricault Sheila Bourdeau Ann Riva
Ernest W. Thebado, Sr. Jane Correia Charles Callahan
Divino Simias da Costa Fabiana Alicea Alfred J. Foley, Jr.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May they rest in Peace, Amen.
May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God rest in Peace.
Father Steven Clemence