This past Tuesday, I and the Pastoral Staff attended the funeral of our own Father Jerry Shea. The celebrant for the funeral was his Eminence, Cardinal Archbishop Séan Patrick O’Malley. Concelebrating were Bishop Robert Hennessy, Episcopal Vicars the Very Reverend James Flavin, the Very Reverend George Carlson, Pope John XXIII Rector, the Very Reverend Brian Kiely, Monsignor Cornelius McCrae, former rector of that seminary and present Spiritual Director of St. John Seminary, Father Paul Aveni, Administrator of Our Lady of the Assumption Parish, Father Joseph Hennessy, Assisting Priest at OLA, Father Don Clifford, former Pastor of OLA, Father Jack Shatzel (Jerry’s closest priest friend and homilist), and some twenty two other priests. The previous evening, Bishop John Dooher, Bishop of the South Region presided over his wake. Jerry was a parishioner of St. Ann by the Sea, and so as his pastor, I would like to extend my thanks to Cardinal O’Malley, Bishop Dooher and all my brother priests for the pastoral care they extended Jerry’s family and friends. A special word of thanks to Father Paul Aveni, Administrator of Our Lady of the Assumption who offered Jerry’s family that church in which he celebrated the Tuesday daily Mass for over thirty years, and where he celebrated his 50th Anniversary of Ordination. I was so pleased to see so many of our parishioners who attended the wake and or funeral. Father Jerry was a big part of our parish and the Ocean Bluff-Brant Rock community and he will be sorely missed. As I said last week, I will miss his coverage for funerals, but more so his friendship and company. In Bishop Dooher’s remarks at the wake he mentioned that when Father Jerry was a young priest he was very supportive of the young seminarians in the Framingham area and of those pursuing vocations to the priesthood. I am working with my staff to find an appropriate way to memorialize this holy man of God and true friend of St. Ann by the Sea parish is Ocean Bluff. We offer our condolences to his sister Maureen Shea Smith who is a parishioner and who attends our Saturday Vigil Mass. Please keep his family in your daily prayers asking God to console them in their loss and to be happy for God’s gain.
May Jerry enjoy the fullness of Priesthood as he now experiences his place in the high priesthood of Christ at the Heavenly banquet.
I want to express my thanks to all those who helped us celebrate such a beautiful Easter Triduum. The church and chapel were beautifully decorated and I want to thank all those who volunteered several nights and many hours to decorate the sacred space for the differing liturgies. Each of the liturgies enjoyed the assistance of lectors, ministers of holy communion, altar servers and ushers, and to each I am very grateful. I hope you take time to thank our Choir Director Chris Kerins and Music Director Joe Kodzis and choir members for lifting their voices and enhancing our experience of each liturgy with the sacred music they provided. Also a word of thanks to Dan McKenna for volunteering to clean up the exterior grounds for the Easter celebration. Lastly, thanks to Ed Neary and Tom Burke who were responsible for all the work in painting the church and putting in new floors and renovating the bathroom and installing new flooring in the hallway and family room.
As we approach the warm weather we turn to outside work, and I hope that we can get the fish pond repaired, the pond filled and then stocked with new fish. We need to be more careful of the pond as debris that either fell or slipped into the pond created a tear somewhere in the fabric thus leading to a major leak, one which drained the pool, and in which we lost seven fish. These things happen…it’s a little of a learning process when it comes to matters like this. I can’t wait to reopen it and welcome Spring.