The Test of Faith

04-24-2020Letter from Fr. BrianRev. Brian F. Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Mary's,

We are now two weeks after Easter and coming to the wonderful days when there is long hours of sunlight and hopefully, after all it is New England, of warmer days. Last Saturday reminded us of how quickly weather can change in New England, real snow on the ground in the middle of April, and then the next day sunlight and almost warmth in the air. Although most of us do not admit easily change, especially rapid change and the accompanying confusion is upsetting. When we lose the ritual and rhythms of our life, we often get confused, angry or lost.

Indeed for us Catholics, not being able to center ourselves each week at Sunday Mass is really difficult. To come through the portals of the church to a "higher plane of life" to commune with God and receive his spiritual strength in Holy Communion is for many folks a very important ritual each week. Losing one's spiritual center and ritual is very hard. Yet, because of our faith in Jesus Christ we are able to carry on with grace and dignity.

The test of faith is never when it is convenient or easy, the test is when it is demanding and difficult. In these days of the quarantine and social distancing, this is when "being religious and spiritual" offers deeper meaning and purpose; "being spiritual" only carries so far and then mostly drops us. The living out in ritual and in service as a religious person we develop inner strength which can carry us through the sparse times. "Spiritual thoughts alone ultimately remain just spiritual thoughts alone.

One of most remarked about and missed special spiritual activity is the offering up of special intentions and prayers at our Prayer Wall. The St. Mary Prayer Wall inside our beautiful church is deeply loved and appreciated by the many who seek petitions and also offer prayer at this holy site. To allow this special moment of prayer to continue for us, we have created a new form for it. St. Mary Parish is creating Virtual St. Mary Prayer Wall on our parish's Facebook page as a way for members of our faith to reach out and request support from others in our community for their prayer intentions. Unlike the St. Mary Prayer Wall inside our church building prayer intentions will be made publicly as will the name of the person making the request. Please join in sharing your prayer request(s) by posting your petition on the Virtual St. Mary Prayer Wall today. Facebook users can access the Virtual St. Mary Prayer Wall by joining the St. Mary Parish Facebook page found here and posting their prayer request(s) under the photo of the St. Mary Prayer Wall found at the top of that Facebook page. This is the only way to add an intention.

We know that some folks will find that this time tells them that they do not need God, Church, Mass or whatever. Most folks know that in this time they certainly need God, church, Mass and whatever. On a deeper level most of us sense that there is something deeper in us that seeks something more or greater. For us who follow or seek to follow the Catholic Way of Life, we know that it is Mass and Holy Communion, also Prayer and Learning and as the third component Witness and Service. Someday soon we will be able to return to the life giving rituals of faith that sustain us in all times. Keep hope and faith for the portals of our church will swing open when it is time. Meanwhile, keep participating in the beautiful and spiritual Masses and Services offered on our Catholic TV channel.

How wonderful is the generosity of our Parishioners to the Saint Vincent de Paul Society. Folks are mailing in or dropping through the rectory mail slot donations to help them and also are leaving necessary items at the wooden side door of the Church at the top of the driveway. I greatly appreciate and admire the many, many parishioners who are faithfully supporting our Parish through the use on on-line giving (found at or via mail or the rectory door mail box. Your thoughtful caring is a great gift to all of us.

We are a parish which is dedicated to Mary, Mother of God. We have the wonderful special patron saint of Saint Rocco. Through their intercession our humble prayers will keep us healthy, strong and full of hope for the many good days to come.

God bless,
Father Brian