Peabody, MA

Pastor’s Letter

on Jan 26, 2015 in Pastor's Events

NEWS IN THE PEWS

TIME AWAY. You know you really need a vacation when someone who hardly knows you says “you should take a rest.” This actually happened when a seminarian friend of Godfrey was talking with us about what priests face in today’s world of pastoral ministry in multiple places. I then proceeded to tell him “well, it just so happens that I am going to do that tomorrow.” We laughed. One thing I have learned is the importance of taking care of one’s self. For this reason I will be away from our parishes until January 29. After my primary care physician discovered that my vitamin D level was low, he informed me that this happens often in places that lack sunshine. So now I refer to my winter vacation as physician recommended vitamin D therapy! I am also glad that as I return Father Steven will have a chance to get home to Brazil soon. He has been a great help and is adjusting well as a new priest to all the stress and strain of serving our parishes, school, retirement and ethnic communities.  God willing we will return recharged to take on Lent and Easter. We are grateful to Father Paul McManus and other priests who will cover Masses and funerals as needed. Please keep us and our travel in your prayers.

CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WEEK. I regret that because of scheduling these travels that depend on others, I will miss some of the Catholic Schools Week activities at Saint John’s. Our school is such an incredible asset to our ministry by what is can offer to children who study in an environment of faith and love, shaped by the gospel. About this let me say a heartfelt word of thanks to our teachers and staff and all who promote and support
Catholic Schools. Parishes all contribute to the support of schools and so I thank the people of both Saint John’s and Saint Thomas and other parishes for the money they are able to send to the Archdiocese for school support.

CHILD SAFETY. Many of you probably read about the resignation of the pastor, principal and teacher of a Catholic School in Revere. The lack of details makes it difficult for us to know or comment on what happened but the action take is certainly a wake-up call to all of us – clergy, teachers, catechetical leaders– who need to know how to respond promptly and effectively to any situation that may involve harm to children. As you may
know all parish and school and all volunteers who have any possible contact with children or the elderly submit criminal investigation checks or CORIs. Also important is training in child safety which we provide for staff and volunteers through a program called Protecting God’s Children. This program helps everyone to be more alert for signs of when children might be endangered. This is difficult to talk about but it is so important today.
We ask the cooperation of all our people by keeping an eye open for any child that may wander away or be at risk for any reason.

THE LIGHT IS ON FOR YOU is a program you may recall for making the sacrament of reconciliation more available to people by having every church and chapel open their doors for confession every Wednesday evening during the Lent. We are preparing to do that at both our parishes. At Saint Thomas parish we looking at improving
the setting for the sacrament. The old confessionals have become unappealing for a good celebration of confession, allowing both anonymity for those who want, or a face to face approach. The renovations at St. John’s required building two new reconciliation rooms, one in the main church and one in the chapel which we will use
on these Lenten evenings. If you could have seen what I saw in the faces of dozens of children who recently made their first confession, you might understand better how uplifting and renewing this sacrament is. Keep in mind our regular times for confessions before the 4 PM Mass at both of our churches. Any time is a good time to receive God’s mercy and peace. We are blessed to have daily confessions available nearby in the Carmelite Chapel at the North Shore Mall.

Take care and I will see you when I return. God bless! Fr. John