5th Sunday of Lent

03-24-2023Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian Manning

 Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Mary’s, 

Just a reminder that next weekend begins “Holy Week” with the Celebration of Palm Sunday. Palm will be blessed at the 4 PM Mass on Saturday and blessed Palm will be available at all the Masses. Extra additional blessed Palm will be available on the table in the elevator ground level lobby after all the Masses until Thursday at Noon or until all are taken. 

Time Change: Lenten Service for Ukraine: Praying for Peace (Saturday March/25 at 1pm) Note the revised start time of 1pm. Christ the King Ukrainian Catholic Church, 146 Forest Hills St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130. Cardinal Sean O’Malley OFM Cap. and Bishop Mark O’Connell will be in attendance for the service. Parishioners are welcome to attend. 

So far in the scripture during this Lent, Jesus has been presented as the source of Living Water and also the Light of the World. In this weekend’s scripture, He is proclaimed as the Resurrection and the Life. Carefully the Gospel of John has been leading us toward this ultimate sign of Jesus. The various stories in the gospel passages about being raised from the sleep of death: the soldier’s daughter, the widow’s only son and similar do not appear in the Gospel of John. Instead the author John tells us a long version of the story of the raising of Lazarus. Although the story is about Lazarus, the main character, in fact, is Jesus.


Fr. Brian Manning

03-17-2023Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian Manning

Saint Patrick’s Day – Friday, March 17th: Cardinal Sean has granted a Dispensation from the Lenten Fast and Abstinence on Fridays because of this feast being the Patronal Feast of the Archdiocese.

This weekend in our first scripture reading we read of the story of the journey of Samuel to Bethlehem to the house and family of Jesse. It is in this city that God informs Samuel that he should anoint the future king of Israel. Samuel met all the older sons of Jesse and concluded that they could each be sufficient to the role, but surprisingly none of them were the choice of God. God reminded Samuel that He as God, sees differently, namely that He can see into people’s hearts. Finally in the story the youngest son is summoned for Samuel, and this youngest son named David is the choice of God.


Fr. Brian's Retirement

03-10-2023Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Mary’s,

In the last week I received a letter from Cardinal Sean in which he informed me that I will be able to retire from the role of Pastor of Saint Mary’s Parish and become a Retired Senior Priest around the early part of this coming June, 2023. I am over 74 years old and during this June I am rushing even closer towards 75 years of age. I am shocked to realize at this point that I have been a priest for almost 49 years and am now one of the “old priests” of the Archdiocese. I know that endings are necessary as are beginnings. I began my priestly service at Saint Mary’s almost 14 years ago. When and where did all the time go? Certainly my heart and head are caught up in a giant jumble of feelings and emotions.



03-08-2023Reflections and Resources

The liturgical season of Lent has long been associated with the preparation of catechumens (people preparing to become Christians) for the reception of the Sacraments of Initiation—Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist—at the celebration of the Easter Vigil. Lent also provides those of us who are already initiated into the Church with the opportunity to ready ourselves to deepen our commitment to our God and to each other, through the renewal of our own baptismal vows. On the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Sundays of Lent this year, we hear gospel stories which have been deliberately chosen for the catechumens. Each of these stories is from the Gospel of John; they are the story of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well (March 12), his healing of the man born blind (March 19) as well as his raising of Lazarus to life (March 26). We, along with the catechumens, learn from these stories that Jesus is the living water, the light of the world and the resurrection and the life. What a great opportunity to understand more about who Jesus is in our own lives, and in the life of the Church!


Second Sunday of Lent

03-05-2023Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

 The sacred scripture this weekend is actually about new beginnings and also transformations which start new beginnings. We can often get lost in the words of scripture because much of it does not easily scan with the modern mind, and as a result, we miss what the scripture is really about. I often think that scripture is like manuals which come with new electronics or new software programs. We know the words, and they are written in sentences, but what they really do mean is beyond us. People who write manuals are supposedly “technical writers” who are to give the reader and user a set of directions which are practical and can be followed. Yet, manuals like scripture often need someone in between to help to understand the written words. When someone starts to “decode” the first reading we learn that God had promised Abram (soon to be called Abraham) a rich heritage and numerous descendants and all he had to do for these promises was leave his home. In the Gospel, the Transfiguration is one of the most awesome changes or transformations recorded in scripture.


First Sunday in Lent

02-26-2023Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

As we begin 2023 Lent this Sunday, we start with a story from the very beginning of the Bible, and it is a story that talks about how “all our problems etc.” began. It is clear when we hear the story; Adam and Eve could not resist the seduction of the serpent. They did not realize that they were being tested, and unfortunately they failed. However, our later reading in the Gospel when Jesus is tested by the Devil with three ever so desirable temptations, namely food, celebrity status and power, He resisted. Our second reading this week is from Saint Paul, and it illustrates the differences between these two events. It is ironic that human disobedience brought about sin and death and then through human obedience we are freed from sin and death. Despite it all, we are truly blessed with the gift of salvation.


Parish Updates

02-19-2023Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

Instead of a Pastoral Reflection this week, this is a brief letter to keep everyone in the loop on life here at Saint Mary’s Parish. Obviously the church year is spinning along with Ash Wednesday and Lent just around the corner. Soon, (yes soon!), it will be Holy Week with the most spiritual Services and Masses for Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Vigil & Easter Sunday. Hopefully during this special Season of Lent you will be able to grow spiritually by intentional practice and prayer. Perhaps you might consider coming to the Stations of the Cross Service each Friday at 7 PM in the Chapel (lower level of the church) during Lent. An intentional devotional prayer service during Lent is a graced way to grow in closeness to God and meaningful purpose in your life.


Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

02-12-2023Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

A common theme often expressed in our culture is that we are all special and equal, but then we also add silently “Well, I am extra special.” We tend to like to have positive thoughts that we are egalitarian in principle and thought, but in fact by practice we often think we are either “special” or “exempt” from the responsibilities or rules of life which other people should observe. Our topics in the scripture this weekend are a further set of reflections upon the meaning of the Beatitudes in that we must consider the spirit and letter of the (holy) Law and also our personal freedom to choose.


5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

02-05-2023Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

In this weekend’s Gospel, we discover a continuation of the Sermon on the Mount. The great Beatitudes “sermon” focuses on the inner qualities or dispositions of all people. The Gospel this weekend focuses clearly upon those who are followers of Jesus Christ. This means it is focused on us. This talk of salt and light is a talk about us being salt and light. Both these images have been commonly used through the centuries and cultures to describe good and decent people. Someone who is consistently good to others is often called “the salt of the earth”, Often, when a good person dies, it is often said that there is a little less “light in our world.”