This past Monday we celebrated the funeral of Phyllis Webber, a regular at the 11:30am Mass. The family was kind enough to allow us to keep the beautiful red roses for the weekend Masses, after which they will be made into rosary beads. Phyllis lived nearby and was very active in the senior community in town. As one of the pastors who has served and worshipped with her it was so nice to see how the Catholic Faith and the message from its gospel was so imbued in her everyday movements. I will miss her mischievous smile and always supportive prayers. On Wednesday I concelebrated the funeral Mass of Rev. Jim Burke’s mom, Rita, at his parish in Westwood. I remember her from our home parish of St. Anthony’s in Allston. Of the many gifts she gave to St. Anthony’s, the greatest was her son Jim who was ordained in 1977. They say mothers of priests go straight to Heaven, and so I ask you to pray for her son James and his siblings, that God may lessen their grief and fill them with the hope that one day they will be reunited with her and their dad in Heaven. On Friday, I concelebrated the funeral of Angela O’Keefe from St. Margaret’s in Burlington. Angela died earlier in the week from the flu. I had come to know Angela, her husband Jack, and children (including her son Paul who is Brother Paul OFM) when I began my seminary years at St. John’s and at St. Margaret’s, a field placement for much of my seminary formation; while at St. M’s that I was appointed pastor here. Angela loved the Church, her parish, and her priests. Each year I have received a Christmas card from her and Jack accompanied with a gift. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see them often, but for run-ins at wakes and funerals. It is funny how God provides for us, I ended up running into Angela and Jack at Union Station in Washington DC, just after the March for Life. Rushing to the train I almost literally ran into them. I stopped and spent a few minutes with them, she spent time telling me how much she loved watching me on Catholic TV Mass, suggested I lose a few pounds (she was too much like a mother figure), and then gave three warm embraces. If not for that encounter I would have gone to the funeral sad that I hadn’t kept in better touch with her, but didn’t God arrange that little meeting for me. And so goes our journey of faith and how we see our encounter with God in our lives….I believe God provided that moment in the train station to enjoy one last embrace from someone I loved and whose support I enjoyed.
Believe it or not between all of these funerals I did manage to get some work done in the parish. I want to thank Joe Merriam for helping me to replace all the bulbs in the chapel, for which 70% were missing, and for which I only noticed because last Monday morning one of the front lights went out during Mass and thus caught my attention. The staff and I spent time reorganizing the storage space in the two sacristies and rear sanctuary to provide the new Art & Environment Volunteers easier access to the supplies they will need to decorate the sacred space for Lent. All of the altar server robes have been put in the closets of the back hall and we have put in an order for replacements at a cost of $1100.00. The existing robes are ten years old and while we have repaired them, we needed to retire some of them, particularly our summer robes. Also because we have an increase in high school altar servers and because some have grown rather tall, we have had to order seminarian style cassocks and surplices for them.
I am meeting with the Parish Council-Finance Council over the next two weeks. I hope everyone enjoys the Super Bowl. The 7:00pm is cancelled tonight and resumes next week. Also please support our missionaries and purchase a quart of soup. Thanks.
Drink moderately tonight as morning follows. Go Patriots!