Parish Update

06-03-2018Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

The longer days of sunlight and the increasing, but the still inconsistent warmth makes our days so much easier in so many and various ways, although there is much more to do now that the ice and bitter cold have departed. In addition, the speed at which everything takes place is unbelievable. From watching HGTV, folks seem to be convinced that everything in life takes only one half hour, or at worst one whole hour! You can renovate an entire home without dirt and dust and have it finished in 60 minutes! Not weeks not months or one year, but mere minutes! Besides the huge social issue we have, that unfortunately so many things have to happen at the same time and thus no one can be in two or three places at one time. As you are aware, choosing to say "yes" to someone and their event, often means saying "no" to someone else's also very important event. I find as my family moves down through the generations of family with the additions of in-laws and their in-laws with all their very important commitments and schedules of family celebrations and events, it gets harder and harder to be able to go to all the family events.

Enough about life and its complications! Thought I would take this opportunity to bring everyone up-to-date on some parish events and matters. If you read the Weave or the bulletin, you may know a lot of this, but this is also as I know things as of Tuesday, May 29, 2018 at 5 PM. This is when I must submit this for the bulletin to be printed. Who knows what will develop shortly thereafter!

We have been blessed with an extraordinary Parish Nurse and Pastoral Associate in Nan Rafter. After her many years in caring for us, Nan is retiring by mid-June. Her compassionate care, her depth of faith, her insightful and most sage advice, her amazing kindness and her gentleness to all of us will be greatly missed. When I came nine years ago, I was blessed to discover what an extraordinarily capable and wonderful Pastoral Minister Nan Rafter was. Her insight and advice has been a great assistance to me through the many years of my tenure. Nan has always had her life at Saint Mary's focused on faithful service to all of our Parishioners. Nan has also assisted me in envisioning who will take up her role as a Pastoral Associate so that there will be a Pastoral Associate starting in mid-June. She has helped me to come to see how someone might follow her pathway of service and provide for the spiritual and various needs of those who are homebound ill, hospitalized, bereaved or living at various residences in our Parish. Nan will continue being among us as she is a very dedicated Parishioner. We wish her God's great blessings and great health in the coming years.

Our great Rocco Festival in its present form and in its fortieth year will conclude this summer, August 2018 and will continue in a new way in August 2019. We will be keeping the spiritual aspects of the Saint Rocco Festival in its prayers of intercession and healing of our hearts, minds, souls and bodies. Please plan to come to the Rocco Festival Finale. This festival is not one to be missed. It will be "historic," "awesome" and "epic!" We were blessed that this Festival of Faith, Healing and Fun began forty years ago when daily life in Franklin changed and allowed it to come to life. (Forty years ago there were only 4 traffic lights in Franklin, according to old time residents. How many now? God knows!)) Now we recognize that it must change again as conditions and people change. This year the Festival will be at its best, it will truly be a Festival Finale. Some of you may remember when all the food was cooked in people's home and was donated. Do you remember when there was a beer garden, and then the change to a family friendly festival? Who remembers cooking so long ago in the school kitchen? Indeed there are lots of memories and lots of changes over the years. We sometimes forget to recognize that the Saint Rocco Festival has always evolved and changed over the years. We are now moving forward after this August to a Saint Rocco event that will keep the faith, prayer and healing through the intercession of Saint Rocco alive in our Parish. Indeed, in the opening letter of Fr. Michael Guarino, he stressed as foremost the faith, prayer and healing dimensions of this Feast of Saint Rocco. Whatever grew from this spiritual vision is earthbound and transitory. The spiritual dimensions will always remain as part of our Parish. To help celebrate the Finale of the Food festival, Father Frank Campo, the donator of the Rocco Relic, will be with us on the final Mass on August 12th at 10:30 AM. In the Autumn, Fr. Michael Guarino will be with us for a Mass and Celebration of Appreciation for all the Volunteers of Rocco.

Part of the recognition of the Saint Rocco Festival is that those who are physically limited want and need to attend Church Masses and also Funerals, Weddings and Baptisms, or even make a "visit to church." We always are praying for their healing to be able to return to be with us in our holy sanctuary. A major part of the vision of our new addition to our Church Building of the "inside elevator" and also the bathrooms on both levels which many need, is influenced by our heritage of Saint Rocco. We must always care for those who struggle to join with us in our church at Mass. We also know as our population in Franklin grows and grows with folks over 50 that knee and hip replacements and also arthritic conditions make getting into our church much more difficult for so many. As people say: "those stairs" !!! There are three very large assisted living residences in our Parish with the addition of many condos and houses being constructed with main floor bedrooms. This new work is for all of us now, and for the future. The great question of when this construction will start is "very soon." On this past Tuesday there was a meeting with Santini Construction Company, Inc. to discuss the actual roll out of it all. I learned that by this Thursday Santini Corporation will be applying for the building permit. The Construction Company is also marshalling its vendors and subs so that they can begin in about 4 weeks. This great project which will help our parish community remain strong with so many people as active members of our Sunday Masses will take much more time than any of us can imagine. I know when you renovate a kitchen or bathroom you expect it to happen in almost in no time, but it does not happen that way. With the size of this project, it will take longer to start and slightly longer to finish. We know, however, that it will be worth it all. So, thank you to all those who have contributed to this and also to those who continuing to pay their pledges. Your personal generosity and faithfulness are what makes all this possible.

I think I have written a lot, so I am now going to end!