Progressing Through Summer

07-29-2021Letter from Fr. BrianRev. Brian F. Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Mary’s,

We are progressing through the summer at a great speed. Somehow without me noticing, we are now in the month of August. Shortly our college age children will depart and leave for their educational institutions and begin to engage in their studies. This coming year will be different for them than last year as it will probably resemble more closely the traditional college pattern. It will be the same, but different. Our younger children will begin their education in late August or early September. Again their educational year will be similar to the past, but somewhat different. We pray for and hope for a better learning environment and experience this coming year. Our Educational Administrators, actual Educators and the entire Support Staffs certainly offered heroic service to all of our young people last year during the Pandemic. Karen Ackles, our Director of Religious Education, has been working diligently through the summer to prepare and offer a Religious Education Program that nurtures and develops our children’s faith, but also makes it as “user friendly” for parents as they re-engage with all the obligations and activities of their children this coming year. It is now the time to register for Religious Education… spread the word, please, for Grades 1 through 8 and also Confirmation 1 and 2. It is on-line at our website (stmarysfranklin.org) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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Breaking of Bread

07-25-2021Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

At Sunday Mass we read a major gospel each church year which tells the story of Jesus and His life; in this process we read only selected sections which have been curated to tell the essential story of Jesus Christ. In fact, we read from only Matthew, Mark, or Luke in a three-year cycle because they are gospels which are written from an "eye-witness" point of view. The Gospel of John offers a distinctly different view of the life and message of Jesus. This year our gospel is that of Saint Mark. We do, however, fill in at times with sections from the Gospel of John. Mark is the shortest of all of the gospels, so it is necessary at times to read at length from John to add a depth or a dimension to what we are following in the life of Christ each Sunday. This Sunday we begin the section of John called "the Bread of Life" passage. The Eucharist is the focus of our reading of the Gospel of John for the next 4 weeks. Perhaps these readings will help us put the proper focus on the controversies which are circulating in our Church and in the American public world. I am attempting to provide a reflection for your faith which hopefully supports and helps you to be a faithful disciple and follower of Jesus Christ, instead of being caught up in other things. How often have I said "to know what matters and pay attention to what matters." This advice sounds simple, but often it is very hard to follow.

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Starting Back Up

07-22-2021Letter from Fr. BrianRev. Brian F. Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Mary’s,

Another week of summer has rolled by us all; I hope you have taken some time for your family and friends. As you are aware, the summer really does not go all the way through Labor Day as it did in ‘the old days”. Nationally colleges and universities start in mid to late August and also most New England town and city educational systems begin just a few days before Labor Day. So I remind you, as well as I remind myself, make your family and friends a priority in the remaining weeks of summer.

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Green Fields and Restful Waters

07-18-2021Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

In today's gospel, the writer Mark was trying to stir the deep memories of the Jews with his use of the image of a Shepherd. In the very long history of the Jews, they had always tended sheep. In fact, we can recall the story of long before the Jews had been Israel, when Abraham and his wife Sarah left their homeland for the Promised Land and took their many sheep along with them. You may recall that at one time even Moses tended the sheep of his father-in-law. The great King of Israel, David himself, was a shepherd. In fact, David was called from the fields when he was tending sheep to be anointed by Samuel to be King of Israel. Sheep and shepherds are in the memory DNA of the Jews at the time Mark is composing his gospel.

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Rained In!

07-16-2021Letter from Fr. BrianRev. Brian F. Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Mary Parish,

I guess we now know what Noah was nervous about as he built his ark: “Would it be ready for all his family and the animals before it was too late?”. The amount of rain we have had certainly has filled to overflowing the flood plains, marshes, brooks, streams and rivers in our area. I am certain that a few lower levels of homes have been flooded.  There is no perfect balance in New England weather, even if we were not dealing with the effects of global warming. Our flower and vegetable gardens are saturated and now need some sun for everything to grow and ripen. We know the sun will come out, it takes patience.

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What Matters in Faith

07-11-2021Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

Although we are usually an infant when we are baptized, the church's theology says that at the time of our baptism, our vocation to follow Christ starts. We are His beloved children and are united to Him. Every one of us at baptism is called to become a holy and good person. How this all happens depends upon the grace of God in our lives and how we accept this grace and live it. In our reading from Saint Paul this weekend, we hear how the great apostle Paul gave great praise and was full of gratitude and amazement that he of all people had been chosen by God, redeemed by Christ, and drawn into the eternal mysteries. We need to know and understand that this calling and election is not Paul's alone. This calling and election, in fact, belongs to all the baptized. We need to remember that we also are chosen and are sealed by the promised Spirit. All of this has happened in each one of us and all we have to do, like Paul, is give praise and thanks.

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Standing Together

07-08-2021Letter from Fr. BrianRev. Brian F. Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Mary Parish,

You will notice on the front areas of our church and rectory that we have signs which say “We stand with our Jewish neighbors”. As you are aware the increase in anti-Semitism in common culture today, not only in graffiti, but more importantly in violence is shocking. All of us need to stand for peace and respect of everyone. Anti-Semitism is a learned evil and we must present ourselves as examples that stand against this. Bear in mind that or children learn anti-Semitism by our silence, or even worse by our example. How can we tolerate that Jews live each day with fear for their personal safety in our nation and perhaps even in our Town and neighborhood? There are some additional signs available in the lobby at the elevator entrance of our church building if you wish to take and put a sign at your house. This action is symbolic, but symbols often have great meaning and power.  We must stand against any violence towards people in our land.

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Name of Jesus

07-04-2021Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

Today in common discussion we often use the word "revelation, or to reveal" in talking about parents who hold a 'gender reveal party". This word "revelation" is so frequently used in religious contexts. In religious use it means to "show forth" or to "make manifest." The root of the word, however, is a stem that means hidden or veiled. When we listen to or read scripture, the Bible, we are to recognize that God's thoughts and words are being shown forth or made manifest to us. When we read or listen and then also reflect on scripture, the Word of God, we learn many, many truths, ideas, and insights into ourselves and lives which may have been hidden for various reasons.

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