The Blessing of a Family

12-30-2018Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

This week our scripture passage for the Gospel comes from the special section of Luke’s Gospel called the “infancy narrative” section. This entire part is the first two chapters of Luke. All of these stories that are related by Luke are specially prepared ones. We may think that they are “historical,” but upon reflection, we realize that they are telling in symbolic form some important truths. Luke is not just telling fabulous and heart-warming tales for the sake of telling tales, rather he is actually engaged in a very profound theological reflection on the nature and person of Jesus Christ.

When we stand back at a distance and listen to all of the stories and then ultimately all of Luke’s Gospel, we then realize that these beginning stories are really setting the framework for the great story of Jesus Christ in the Mission of Salvation for all of us. These stories help to nuance the great story of the public ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus. These stories begin our engagement and involvement with the inspiring story of Jesus Christ


God's Best Wish for Us

12-23-2018Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

This year Christmas jumps out at us all of sudden. This very weekend is the Fourth Weekend (Sunday) of Advent and then “there you have it!” Christmas Eveis the next day. We are almost caught unaware that the day has arrived. The message of our Sunday readings does not have time to dwell in our hearts this week and take effect. Sunday’s Mass is a just a breath and then we start Christmas.


Tend to What Is at Hand

12-16-2018Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

For many centuries we have called the Third Sunday in Advent “Gaudete (“rejoice”) Sunday.” We change the color of our vestments at Mass from the somber Advent purple to a deep and vibrant rose. Note that this week’s Advent wreath candle is also rose or pink. Our readings for this Sunday reflect this bright color in purpose and meaning. In fact, the whole speed and rhythm of Advent picks up today. As Christmas gets closer and closer, the more restrained mood of Advent’s early days is abandoned. The famous “O Antiphons” are sung and proclaimed beginning this week. You can feel Christmas in the air. We can feel or intuit that something very big is about to happen. And this weekend the liturgy is urging us to employ this sense to recognize that Emmanuel, God-with-us, really is with us now.


What Really Matters

12-09-2018Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

The darkness of winter light and the bitter cold of this season are growing more and more each day. In many ways, our life gets harder this season. Also sometimes life gets a little weary for one and all so that the readings at Mass this weekend are most welcome. They announce ‘good news.’ They will lighten the burden and keep us going forward.


The Messiah is Already Among Us

12-02-2018Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

Wow! Dear God! Is it really the First Sunday in Advent? Is Christmas really that close? Why is life running along so quickly? We start a new “Church Year,” with a civil year to start shortly. Last weekend we ended our Church year with a big noise about Christ the King and this week we begin our year with a quiet reflective tone. Our scripture readings for this initial Sunday of Advent remind us that we are people who hear the melody of the future.


God's Reign Has Already Begun

11-18-2018Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

The Wheel of Life always continues to turn and now we are approaching the end of our Church Liturgical year. The scripture at Mass now starts to focus on the second coming of Jesus Christ and the end times. “End times” is not necessarily a fun and happy topic for most people. Today’s readings, however, help us with a perspective of how to understand the end for any one of us, no matter what age we are.


Do We Really Give for the Good of Others?

11-11-2018Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

Our Gospel reading this weekend dramatically and beautifully illustrates the generosity of the poor. In our Old Testament reading from the Book of Kings, we learn about Elijah encountering a pagan widow during a famine. God had told him that there would be a great drought and that a pagan woman would aid him. When Elijah saw the woman, he asked for a drink of water. His request was normal for a desert climate, but he had “another ask.”


The Primary Command of Christians

11-04-2018Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

A Note of Hope and Prayer: On behalf of our Parish I sent an email-letter to Rabbi Thomas Alpert of the Temple Etz Chaim of Franklin to inform him and his community of our prayerful support in this moment of sadness and loss for them and the greater Jewish community. Anti-Semitism and prejudice are deeply against our faith. We must stand in solidarity with all Jews in this moment. I attended a special Service of Consolation and Comfort at the Temple on Sunday evening. The Franklin Interfaith Council held a Service of Comfort, Consolation and Solidarity on this past Tuesday. I was present to lead one of the prayers/readings.


Updates from Fr. Brian

10-28-2018Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

Church Building: The construction on the new improvements for the church building continues along at a steady pace. I think each week you can notice how steadily that the work is happening. Two weeks ago the steel support for the addition was erected. Did you see the 100 foot crane outside the church? Downstairs the bathrooms and food preparation areas are coming along. The trenching for pipes and the rough wiring and plumbing are complete. Many of the walls have now been enclosed.


The Mark of Greatness is Service

10-21-2018Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

In the generation before me, traditional service roles such as maids, butlers, housekeepers, chauffeurs, cooks and other assorted household helpers did not pay well. Many other service positions did not either, such as waiter or waitresses, counter servers, hotel workers and variety of other similar type roles. Historically service jobs did not pay well. Today, thank god, some of these positions do pay well. Unions, lack of workers, or a sense of justice at times have changed the salaries of some of these roles. Not all, however, are great paying positions.


How Can Someone Give Up Everything

10-14-2018Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

Have you ever on occasion been in a store when you hear and see someone being outrageously demanding or abusive to a clerk? Have you ever been embarrassed by someone when he or she has been arrogant and snobby to the person waiting on your table. Do you know someone who has never used the words “Thank you” to anyone, including yourself? I have occasionally thought that a particular person who has so much confidence does not match his or her public performance. Please note this is not about healthy self-esteem, but more of hubris and overconfidence.


Saint Rocco, Pray for Us!

10-05-2018Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Mary Parish,

This weekend is another special moment in our Parish history and life. At the 4:00pm Mass on this Sat, Oct 6th, we celebrate a special Mass of Thanksgiving for the graces, received through the intercession of Saint Rocco and also pray for our deceased Priests, Volunteers and Benefactors as we mark a close to the “in the field” part of our annual Feast in Honor of Saint Rocco. There is also a Reception to follow at the Guidry Center at Dean College.