Dear Friends in Christ,
Once again, I offer congratulations to the Archdiocese of Boston’s newest deacon, Deacon David Caouette, to his wife, Sherri, and to David’s father and siblings. I join all of you in being delighted that Cardinal Sean has assigned Deacon David to St. Patrick’s where he joins a great and dedicated team of deacons. It was a joy to attend Deacon David’s ordination, to offer Mass on the occasion of his first exercise of the diaconal ministry, and to hear him proclaim the Gospel for the first time. The whole event also comes at a fitting moment. I think we all needed something joyful to celebrate.
I want to inform you that I received word this week that Cardinal Sean has appointed me Pastor of St. Patrick Parish. One of the responsibilities of a Pastor is to pray for his parishioners and to offer a Mass each week for them and for their intentions. It really is a great joy to offer that Mass each week. It’s difficult to explain, but when I offer that Mass, I think of how the thousands of Catholics of Stoneham–practicing and non-practicing–and all of their holy intentions are being lifted up to the Father. It’s pretty awesome. I would be grateful if you also would pray for me.
Incidentally, when I told my Mother that I had been appointed Pastor, she asked me, “Will you still have that Fr. Sijo with you?” I said, “Yes.” She replied, “That’s good. It will be good for you to have someone who is young and has energy with you.” I’m still absorbing that comment.
The last time I was assigned to a parish, I was there for thirteen years! I was so grateful for that because it meant I had time to get to know people, to grow close to them, and to live the Catholic life with them. At Boston University where I served as the Newman Center Chaplain, besides having a robust sacramental life, there was a lot of just “hanging out” with the college students. Most of my day was spent with the students, drinking coffee, doing the Wall Street Journal Crossword together, playing Frisbee, talking about The Office, and working together to build a community that would attract others to Jesus Christ and to the Catholic Church. And for the past three years at the seminary, I literally lived twenty-four hours a day with the people I was sent to serve; the seminarians.
My point in sharing all of that is simply to communicate to you that I look forward to developing that same kind of slow, gradual, and intentional communion of life that the Lord has given to me for the past twenty-six years of priesthood. Since most of you I see only for that quick ten second interaction as you are heading into or out of Sunday Mass, I try to use these columns in the bulletin not only as information or teaching, but also to cultivate our communion with each other.
Two last things:
This past week, I had the opportunity to offer Mass with the St. Patrick School faculty, students, and parents. I was so impressed! It was so evident that the students have been receiving excellent formation. From kindergarteners to Eighth Graders, they were prayerful, joyful, reverent, and knowledgeable about their Faith. For me, it was a fantastic introduction to St. Patrick’s School.
Many of you have asked if there is something that parishioners could donate in memory of Fr. Mario. This was the subject of our parish staff meeting this week and I hope to be able to propose to you an idea for your consideration next week.
Your Brother in Christ,
Fr. David Barnes