Dear Brothers and Sisters,
How many times have we heard that the Church is dying? Or people don’t get married in the Church anymore, nor have kids? The Church is not as vibrant as it used to be? Or even that people don’t go to confession? We have heard this so many times that we have to believe it as if it was true. I wish you were to stay with us priests for a week to see that things are not like that. For those of us that attend mass weekly, we can see that it’s not true, but many people out there still believe it. In order to help them see the face of our Parish, we have decided to participate in the Labor Day Parade.
I often joke with some priests that here in the parish we only have good problems. We have a lot of people coming to the masses, we have 3 baptisms a month, we spend quite some time in the confessional, there is a long list of couples getting married in the Church and so on. At times we can only see one face of the parish, but when we get to see all of it together, as we did in the procession of Corpus Christi, it is almost overwhelming!!! I have tried to put together some boards with pictures that show this in the past, but I was never able to do it. But soon you will see how many babies our parishioners are having, how many couples we have recently married, all the children who received their sacraments last year, and all the men who have responded to the call from God and are in the seminary. As we do this project to help you see what God is doing in our parish, it would be important to somehow display a glimpse of the parish to the rest of the city.
The Labor Day parade in Marlboro was first instituted back in 1952. Since then, it has grown to become the largest in Massachusetts. It is a very beautiful and traditional moment for our city when the children and the elderly come together. Therefore, it is necessary that we are also part of it! Our parish has stood here for almost 170 years! There is a mandate from Christ that we are encouraged to announce his love and make disciples of all the nations (Mt. 28:19). I hope we all strive to do that daily in our lives and with the different interactions we have with people. Now we have this prime opportunity to do it for our fellow “Marlboronites.” The theme of this year is Divine Mercy. Therefore, we will be singing the chaplet of the Divine Mercy in English, Portuguese and Spanish, while sharing God’s love with everyone. We will also be distributing hearts with messages of love as we go along the route as well. (We still need more hearts. They can be 6”x6” and be dropped in a box at the entrance of the church). Rain or shine we will be there, just as the apostles and many other missionaries were never stopped by the weather to share the message of the Gospel of Love.
The other day Cardinal Sean spoke about how Peter was not qualified for the job he had. He was a rough man, illiterate, and was not even a good fisherman…we only hear him catching fishes when he followed the tips of Jesus. Nonetheless, he was chosen to lead the Church. Maybe we feel that we are not good fits to be apostles, and we should leave it for someone else more qualified. Christ has chosen you!!! And there is no one else in the world that can do your job. Let’s not sell ourselves so cheap. Jesus paid a very high price for us. He shed His blood and ultimately gave His life for us. Don’t be afraid of sharing your faith. Whether to say grace in your house or in public places, act in accordance with the Gospel and not like the world, and COME TO PARTICIPATE IN THE PARADE WITH US! If we are going to demonstrate a lively church of happy people, WE NEED YOUR HELP! You can help us sing, distribute hearts, and pray for the people who are there. I’m sure that there is a person waiting to see your smile! After the parade, we will gather at Meehan Hall for a little picnic! So, you can also help the “walkers” by providing some refreshments. In case you are with your family at the parade, please come and join us! Please pray for this initiative that God may touch people’s hearts, fill them with love, and help those far away to return back to the Church. For anyone interested in participating in the parade, please wear red or white shirts, and meet us by 11:15am at the parking lot across Collins Funeral home.
Father Steven Clemence