Catholic Free Press Articles

St. Patrick’s teens serve fish for a mission

Bread is often called the “staff of life,” but for teens at St. Patrick Parish in Whitinsville, the staff of life may in fact be fish.

St. Patrick’s teen ministry group, which participates in Young Neighbors in Action, has been serving fish and chips dinners (along with clam chowder and macaroni and cheese) during the Lenten season each Friday from 4:30-7 p.m. At $10 per dinner, along with small fees for extras, the money earned is subsidizing a week-long mission trip to San Diego where they will work for the poor and less fortunate.

The fish dinners feed not only those who partake but enable a group of young people to bring new life to others in need. Continue.

Building community for those with special needs

Aaron Linn loves going to Mass; the fact that he is autistic has not gotten in the way. He greets other parishioners during the Sign of Peace with a broad smile and receives the Eucharist with his mother, Ellen. At age 32, he is an engaged member of the community of St. Luke the Evangelist Parish.

Mrs. Linn, director of music at St. Luke’s, is thankful to the SPRED program for helping her son to know the love of Jesus and to share it within the parish community.

“Everyone needs a religious identity,” she said. “It’s a basic thing everyone needs to have a feeling of belonging somewhere.” Continue.

Women study JPII’s ‘Letter to Women’

Recently, while listening to a podcast, Sarah Berry, a mother of two small children, was inspired after hearing about Endow, a nationwide association founded on St. John Paul II’s “Letter to Women,” which advocates for the dignity of women.

“I first heard of the organization on ‘Fountains of Carrots,’ a podcast for women hosted by Haley Stewart and Christy Isinger,” said Ms. Berry, a Worcester resident and member of St. John Parish.

It took a nudge from her younger sister (who lives Houston, Texas) for Ms. Berry to take action; her sister had joined a small discussion group supported by Endow. “She really enjoyed the study as well as the opportunity to meet new Catholic women in her community, and she encouraged me to find a group to join. While there have been a few groups in Boston, there was not a group in Worcester. So after putting it off for a few months, I finally decided to just dive in and start one myself! I got in touch with the Endow team in Denver, and they were excited to hear a new group would be forming,” Ms. Berry said.

The first meeting took place in Ms. Berry’s home on Jan. 11. Seven women gathered and the response was overwhelmingly positive. Continue.

‘It feels wonderful’ to be 100

Sunday, January 27, was Sister Anna Farragher’s birthday, but it was no ordinary observance for the member of the Presentation Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Sitting in her wheelchair and surrounded by family and friends, she celebrated her 100th birthday.

“It feels wonderful,” she said. Continue.

Environmentally friendly gift giving

The time of ramping up for the holiday season is upon us. Each year Catholics must cope with the culture of a commercial Christmas conflicting with the Church’s holy season of Advent.

The world tells us to consume more, do more, spend more than we may have, and indulge ourselves. Advent encourages us to simplify, step away from ourselves, slow down and cut back on the busyness to wait quietly and prayerfully for the coming of the Lord.  Society tells us to give to the less fortunate whereas Advent moves us to give. In the end, an Advent mindset can help us, in the words of Pope Francis, to take care of our “common home.”
In his groundbreaking encyclical, “Laudato Si’” (“On Care for our Common Home”), Pope Francis reminds us of our obligation to protect and maintain our earthly resources so that all persons, wealthy and poor, will have fair access to God’s rich creation.

Peter Dunbeck, chairman of the Worcester Diocese’s Environmental Stewardship Ministry, suggests that our way of Christmas gift-giving can serve the precepts of “Laudato Si’,” protecting the environment while taking care of those we love, and better providing for the needy.  Continue.

Maryknoll missionary describes work that led to a lifetime of conversion

When Maryknoll Father Robert Jalbert went to East Africa in 1976 as a young missionary-in-training, he was excited about all he could offer to the poor.

“I went to East Africa for the first time thinking in my head that we have a lot here that I am going to be able to share with the people in Tanzania, and I am going to make a big difference in their lives, never even dreaming that that’s only one half of a relationship. Never dreaming or even thinking that the poor had something to offer me,” he said.  Continue.

Melkite Patriarch Absi brings message of unity, support

“Blessed is our God at all times, now and always and forever and ever, Amen.” This chant, led for the congregation by numerous priests and deacons, began the Typica service at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Worcester on Saturday. This simple celebration, used often as a Communion service in lieu of the Divine Liturgy, was presided over by His Beatitude Youseff (Joseph) Absi, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, along with Bishop Nicholas Samra of the Eparchy of Newton and Father Paul G. Frechette, pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Continue.

Mother’s Day means ‘Mother’s Love’ at St. Denis

Mother’s Day is a time to remember our mothers and all they have done for us.  But for the women of St. Denis Parish in Douglas, Mother’s Day signals the beginning of their annual campaign to help other mothers in need.

Begun by Elaine Kelley and Dolores Colonero in 1998, “Mother’s Love” grew out of a desire to follow one of the most memorable sayings of Jesus: “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” (Mt. 25:40). The initiative, sponsored by the Catholic Women’s Council of St. Dennis, lasts for two weeks, beginning on Mother’s Day, which this year is May 13.

The program’s premise is simple.

“We ask all our parishioners to donate one box of diapers or brand new clothes, or they can give us a gift card from a store,” Mrs. Colonero said.

The idea for “Mother’s Love” was inspired by the work of a group of women at a nearby parish who had gotten together to help new mothers in need. Continue.