Pastor's Blog


Thursday, February 7, 2019

             Once again, with last August’s release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report, we were disheartened to learn of past failures of some bishops to properly deal with allegations of sexual abuse of minors by members of the clergy, religious, and church workers. While in recent years, there has been no doubt that this had often been the case, the apparent scope of it is shocking and sad, to say the least, and has brought forth righteous anger on the part of the laity and clergy alike.

            As a priest who has been a part of a church dealing with this issue for longer than I’ve been ordained, I often find myself discouraged and wondering if the scandal will ever go away. Whenever I ask myself that, though, I am always reminded that, for those who were abused, it never goes away; the trauma, the pain, and a whole host of other emotions and difficulties remain. As the Church, the people of God, their pain is our pain, and the struggles we are going through as we discover the scope of the failure of Church leaders is necessary as we seek to be a Church free from the sin of the sexual abuse of our most vulnerable members.

            In the midst of our anger and disappointment, we need to be very mindful of those who have been abused and we need to pray for them and let them know that we support them. As a sign of this desire, we celebrated a Prayer Service for Abuse Victims on Wednesday, September 12th at 6:30 PM in the Church, where we prayed for and with all victims of child sexual abuse, not only by church workers, but all who have experience the horror of such acts. We will have more opportunities next month to come together to pray for victims and for the Church.

            The problem of sexual abuse of minors is not just a church problem; it is a human problem. It infects all segments of society, all walks of life, and even some families. It is a problem about which our society needs to be educated so that we may all recognize the warning signs and be able to take preventative steps to protect our youth.

            While we, as Church, are dealing with past failures to properly deal with the problem of sexual abuse, the past several years have seen a tremendous effort to prevent the abuse of our children and to deal with offenders in a clear and definitive manner. 

            All clergy, employees, and volunteers of our parish are screened through CORI checks at regular intervals, and participate in ongoing training, through a program called VIRTUS, that educates us as to the proper boundaries and behaviors in the presence of youth, and also helps us to be aware of signs that may point to the potential for improper behavior or relationships, and what to do about that.

All parishioners might benefit by reading information on recognizing and reporting abuse. You may find that information on our diocesan website at: http://diospringfield.org/Ministries/child-youth-protection/

We encourage anyone who has been a victim of child sexual abuse by any employee or volunteer of the Roman Catholic Church to come forward by contacting Patricia Finn McManamy, LICSW, director of the Office of Child and Youth Protection, at (413)452-0624, by confidential toll-free number at (800) 842-9055.

You may also contact our Parish Child Advocate, Mrs. Judy Trickey, at (413) 253-7783 or email her at judysflowers@hotmail.com

 Please know of my commitment to provide a safe environment for all the members of our parish family. Again, I ask for your prayers for all victims of child sexual abuse and for the healing and restoration of the Church, the Body of Christ on earth.


Sunday, June 24, 2018

Bro. Casey Cole, ofm, of "Breaking in the Habit" has some great insight on contemporary culture's understanding of happiness and on what true happiness is all about. Watch below:


Monday, January 1, 2018

On behalf of Deacon Bill, all of the staff of St. Francis of Assisi Parish and, in my own name, I wish you and your loved ones a very Happy and Blessed New Year. We pray that this coming year will be filled with health, happiness, and peace for you and your loved ones.

Woodcut Image of Mary the Holy Mother of GodToday, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of mary, the Holy Mother of God. Franciscan Media's Saint of the Day article for today's solemnity explains it well:

"Mary’s divine motherhood broadens the Christmas spotlight. Mary has an important role to play in the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. She consents to God’s invitation conveyed by the angel (Luke 1:26-38). Elizabeth proclaims: “Most blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke1:42-43, emphasis added). Mary’s role as mother of God places her in a unique position in God’s redemptive plan.

"Without naming Mary, Paul asserts that “God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law” (Galatians 4:4). Paul’s further statement that “God sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out ‘Abba, Father!’” helps us realize that Mary is mother to all the brothers and sisters of Jesus.

"Some theologians also insist that Mary’s motherhood of Jesus is an important element in God’s creative plan. God’s “first” thought in creating was Jesus. Jesus, the incarnate Word, is the one who could give God perfect love and worship on behalf of all creation. As Jesus was “first” in God’s mind, Mary was “second” insofar as she was chosen from all eternity to be his mother.

"The precise title “Mother of God” goes back at least to the third or fourth century. In the Greek form Theotokos–God-bearer–it became the touchstone of the Church’s teaching about the Incarnation. The Council of Ephesus in 431 insisted that the holy Fathers were right in calling the holy virgin Theotokos. At the end of this particular session, crowds of people marched through the street shouting: “Praised be the Theotokos!” The tradition reaches to our own day. In its chapter on Mary’s role in the Church, Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church calls Mary “Mother of God” 12 times." (Franciscan Media: Saint of the Day)


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Massachusetts Medical Society has changed its position on Physician-Assisted Suicide from one of opposition to one of neutrality. The society's governing board made this change last Friday after more than four hours of debate on the issue, according to an article appearing on masslive.com.

In response to this change, the Roman Catholic bishops of the four dioceses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have made the following statement through the Massachusetts Catholic Conference:

This past weekend the Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) voted to alter their official position on the issue of Physician Assisted Suicide. A vote changing from a position of strongly opposed to Physician Assisted Suicide to one of neutrality is disappointing and sends the wrong message to the citizens of
Massachusetts. The disappointment is magnified given the fact that physicians are trained to care for the ill, not to hasten death. The Catholic Bishops of Massachusetts stand united in our strong opposition to Physician Assisted Suicide. It is an affront to life and a dangerous precedent for determining end of life issues.

For more information about the Church's position on Physician-Assisted Suicide, visit the Massachusetts Catholic Conference's page on the issue by clicking here.


Saturday, November 18, 2017

This past Wednesday members of St. Francis of Assisi's NCYC and their chaperones headed to Indianapolis to join 25,000 other young people for NCYC 2017. Please keep them in your prayers: that their time away will be a time of grace and that they will return home safely on Sunday afternoon. Also, thank your for supporting their many fundraisers, which make this trip possible.

As I mentioned last week, we will be having a second Italian Dinner to support NCYC. The menu includes and Antipasto Platter, Caprese Salad, PEI Mussels, Penne alla Vodka, Chicken Parmesan, Asparagus, Ciabatta, and Tiramisu, along with Espresso, all prepared and served by NCYC teens and me. Tickets are $80 per person or $150 per couple. Please call Louise at the Parish Office to reserve your space.

Please mark your calendars: Our Advent Penance Service will take place on Sunday, December 17th at 2:30 PM in the church. Several priests will be with us to hear individual confessions. If you plan to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation in time for Christmas, this would be a great opportunity.

 


Sunday, November 12, 2017 3:35 PM

This past Thursday morning we celebrated the Liturgy of Christian Burial for our parishioner Rose Letourneau Methot. Rose was a Daily Mass communicant and was very active in all parts of the life of our parish. Although she suffered from various health issues during the past year, only a surgery and a stint in rehab a few weeks ago could keep her away from her parish! Sadly Rose took a fall in her home last weekend and passed away on Sunday evening. Please keep Rose's family in your prayers as they mourn her passing. (Click here for the text of the homily from Rose's funeral Mass.)


Tuesday, November 7, 2017 5:30 PM

I would like to thank all those who worked so hard putting together our Annual Craft Fair, which was held last Saturday. The Craft Fair grossed more than $7,000. Thank you, too, to all those who supported the Craft Fair in any way.

Our seven-course Italian dinner at the Rectory for NCYC was a great success. Thank you to all who helped to put it together. We had a waiting list for the dinner and so we will be putting on another one on Friday, December 15th. The cost is $80 per person or $150 per couple. Once again, the proceeds will benefit the activities of NCYC. Spaces are limited. Please call Louise at the Parish Office to reserve your spot!

Our parishioner and longtime Altar Server, Chris Drewniak, is participating in a dance competition fundraiser for Pathlight in Springfield. Pathlight provides enrichment and recreation programs for teens and adults with disabilities. You may find more information about voting for Chris and his dance partner, Oliwia, at http://pathlightgroup.org/lets-dance