71 Central St. Stoneham, MA 02180

Browsing Pastor's Notes

08/31/23 We mourn the loss of our Pastor, Fr. Mario

Dear Friends in Christ,

It is difficult for me to believe that Pope St. John Paul II died almost two decades ago. It seems like only yesterday to me. Those of you who are old enough to remember might recall that at the end of his funeral in St. Peter’s Square in Rome, as his coffin was being carried away, the pallbearers stopped, turned toward the crowds, and showed the coffin to them one last time. At that moment, St. Peter’s Square erupted into thunderous applause.

In some ways, it seemed incongruous to be applauding at a funeral. Yet, it was a profound act of love and gratitude. At that moment, the whole world was recognizing that we had witnessed something beautiful and unforgettable in the life of John Paul II. We were all grateful for what God had done in and through our Holy Father, John Paul II, and everyone felt a need to express their gratitude.

This week, we mourn the loss of our Pastor, Fr. Mario. There will be tears and sorrow. Something beautiful and good that stood in the midst of this parish for so many years is now gone from our eyes. It is fitting that we mourn. Yet, it is good for us also to be filled with profound gratitude. You were given a Pastor who loved you, poured himself out for you, and who prayed for you. You witnessed something extraordinary during these years.

We pray for Father Mario. We pray that the Lord will welcome him into the Father’s House. We mourn Father Mario’s death. We will miss him. But also, like the pallbearers at John Paul II’s funeral, we lift up Father Mario and marvel at what God did in and through him. In the midst of our sorrow, we can also be filled with gratitude for how God has loved the people of this parish through Father Mario’s priesthood.

At the end of every Mass, the people respond, “Thanks Be to God.” At the end of Father Mario’s earthly life, we hold him up in our memory and with hearts filled with deep gratitude, we cry out together, “Thanks Be to God.”

Your Brother in Christ,

Fr. David Barnes