When collecting each week the donations from the poor box in the church, I am always moved by the generosity of both our year-round and visiting parish family who remember those who need extra financial help in these challenging times. On top of that, over recent days a few people have quietly handed me substantial sums of cash, insisting on anonymity, and instructing that the proceeds be forwarded to families in our community who need food or other essentials of life. These charitable overtures mean more than you will ever know (this side of Heaven) to the families who benefit from them!
A note of gratitude should be extended, too, to a group of dedicated and trustworthy women who donate their time by counting the weekly parish contributions. To Millie Berry, Colette Crowley, Nina Haynes, Eileen Latham, Mary Pieroni, and Susan Whitman, a heartfelt thanks for all you do behind the scenes to keep the parish fiscally operational.
Finally, many thanks to everyone who made the Christmas Season a time of holiness and happiness at St. Joseph’s Parish – from Colette Crowley, Delia Sullivan, and Mike Iarocci, who decorated the church, to Margaret Sweeney and the music minsters who supported the liturgies so prayerfully and beautifully, to the liturgical ministers, to the Eventbrite team who helped with crowd management, to our terrific ushers who welcomed the faithful, maintained good order, and sanitized the church building after each celebration. And of course, thanks to all the wonderful parishioners and visitors who heeded the call, “O Come, All Ye Faithful.”
With prayerful thanks and best wishes,
Fr. John Mahoney
I am happy to announce that the following Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion have been approved and reappointed by Bishop Libasci to administer the Body and Blood of the Lord: Jay Bartlett, Jane Maki, Barbara Vitale, Xena Bartlett, Janet Peltier, Susan Whitman, Peter Eisenhauer, Mary Pieroni, Jan Wolowski, Frederick Germain, Nancy Sweeney.
Limited in scope to the distribution of Holy Communion at Mass at St. Joseph’s Church, and with permission to those institutions immediately served by the Parish, these dedicated Catholics are deputed to faithfully distribute the Eucharist to the People of God under my guidance and direction. May they be strengthened and comforted by the Blessed Sacrament they distribute. These appointments are for a three-year term, expiring on December 31, 2023.
Fr. John Mahoney
On a wintry day a few weeks ago, just before Christmas, a mother of four contacted the rectory asking about assistance with grocery needs. Her work hours had been reduced and she had run short of money to feed her family. I explained that through the benevolence and generosity of St. Joseph’s parishioners and visitors we were able to help. I thought you would like to see the gratitude letter she sent later:
Dear Father Mahoney,
Yesterday was a day I’ll never forget. The children came home from school all with a look of wonder on their faces. The aroma of homemade beef stew, bread and fresh baked apple pie overwhelmed them. I told them of my visit with you. We are all so thankful to you and the church. Please know the boys had full bellies and were very happy after their meal. Thank you!
We all like to be told, “Good job!” Deep in our hearts, we long to hear the affirming words that Jesus heard as he broke through the waters of the Jordan at his Baptism: “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” Our truest identity stems from our own Baptism and subsequent outreach to others. This thank-you letter from the mother affirms that the infusion of the Holy Spirit and the fruits of baptism have taken root among those who come from near and far to worship here at St. Joseph’s. As Isaiah puts it, “You are a light for the nations … the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, has glorified you.” What a blessing to have you here! All are welcome, all are welcome, all are welcome in this place!
Fr John Mahoney
So many have longed for the year 2020 to be over, to move away from the pandemics that have wounded us collectively and individually. With 2021 on the calendar now, it feels like maybe, just maybe, we can start anew at some point. Given the chance, we, along with all of creation, have the capacity to renew, that is, to be “new again”—not only each year but each moment. An essential ingredient to renewal is peace. The Church calls us to follow Christ, the Way of Peace, as Pope Benedict said on this day in 2007, “with hearts full of hope, notwithstanding the dangers and difficulties that surround us.” Let us pray for and choose peace for ourselves and for the world in all that we renew this year.
PRAYER DURING A HEALTH CRISIS
Compassionate and Loving Father,
In the face of confusion and concern impart to us the calm of your presence.
In You allow us to find hope and healing.
Be with those who serve the sick and give them Your caring hands.
Be with those who lead and give them Your Spirit of wisdom.
Be with those who have fallen ill and give them Your comforting heart.
Wrap your arms around our world and hold us in your love.
Allow us at this time of trial to then serve as instruments of your love and peace.
We ask this in Your Name. Amen.
The transition from the old to the New Year can be a time for reflection on the past along with hope for the future. As we look back on the previous year, we are reminded of the many challenges the Church and the world are facing right now. Still, amid these trials, we can place our trust in God and have hope for good health and peace in the world, for the Church, for our own lives, and for the welfare of our families.
It is very fitting, then, that the New Year is celebrated in union with the Solemnity of Mary, The Holy Mother of God, a holy day that celebrates her divine motherhood of our Savior. We can learn to have unconditional trust and hope in our Lord, even in times of doubt and fear. Mary is with us, our “Queen of Peace.” Accordingly, New Year’s Day is also celebrated as the “World Day of Prayer for Peace.”
In his encyclical of this year, Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis spoke to the need for a neighborly approach to charity that fosters prayer and peace in our hearts and in our communities: “A truly human and fraternal society will be capable of ensuring in an efficient and stable way that each of its members is accompanied by God and neighbor at every stage of life, not only by providing for their basic needs, but by enabling them to give the best of themselves ….” Caring for those in need is not only at the heart of the Gospel message, it is a Divine command.
I wish you all a New Year filled with hope, peace, and charity, brotherhood and sisterhood among us, and health and happiness in the Lord.
With prayerful best wishes,
Fr. John Mahoney