P.S. Looking for a way to read Scripture on the go? Download the Bible App (iPhone/iPad or Android). It’s free, easy to use, offers multiple translations, and allows you to add your own bookmarks and highlights.
This weekend we kicked off a new message series called Up Close & Personal. It’s all about celebrating the season of Easter by getting to know Jesus better. As we begin this series, it’s helpful to take a moment to reflect on where you are today. How well do you feel like you know Jesus right now? What has formed your impressions about who Jesus is? Teachers? Parents? Friends? Movies? Books? One of the very best ways to get to know Jesus better is through Scripture, particularly through the Gospels. The challenge for this series is to pick one of the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John) and read it during this series. Today, decide which Gospel you’ll commit to reading over the next few weeks and a time of day when you can devote 10 minutes to reading it. Then, share your plan with others--it’s a powerful way to commit yourself to a goal! Comment below to share your plan and see how others are committing to get to know Jesus better during this series.
P.S. Looking for a way to read Scripture on the go? Download the Bible App (iPhone/iPad or Android). It’s free, easy to use, offers multiple translations, and allows you to add your own bookmarks and highlights.
In our message series, Tough Love, we're exploring what love really looks like, not what love looks like in our dreams or imaginations, but what love really means and requires of us. We're working to understand love not as something we feel, but as something we do. Love is a verb, not a noun, and that means we've got to take action. (If you missed this week's message, you can watch it here.) This week's challenge is to put our love into action in some big or small way through doing good deeds. What's your good deed this week? What's something you wouldn't normally do, but will do out of a commitment to grow in love during this series? Maybe it's something for a friend or neighbor. Maybe it's a good deed for the person you've identified as your "tough to love" person.
No matter what it is, we invite you to share your good deed below, for two reasons:
Share your good deed by commenting below. Feel free to post anonymously if you prefer (enter "Anon" in the Name field; Email and Website can be left blank). If sharing at all feels way outside your comfort zone, you're on the right track. Discipleship is all about growth and growth only happens when we're outside our comfort zones. Thanks for spreading and sharing light!
This Sunday we started a new message series, Inside Out. It’s all about the story of our community--where we are and where we’re going. It’s about stopping everything to ask the “why” question--why do we exist as a Church?--and then starting over, and allowing God to transform us from the inside out. This is such an important conversation for our community to have. (If you couldn’t be with us last Sunday, we invite you to watch the message video.) Spend five minutes right now considering where you are with all of this, so you can be part of the conversation.
Why do you think our parish exists? What would you say is the purpose of our church? Take just a couple of minutes right now, and answer that question honestly and thoughtfully for yourself. Maybe even write it down. We have to know our “why” as a church, but the “why” question doesn’t end there. We also have to ask ourselves the “why” question: “Why do I go to church?” Try to answer that question honestly for yourself. Maybe write down your response. Then invite God into that conversation in prayer. Ask God for the wisdom and courage to grow as a disciple.
We’d love to hear what you think! Leave a comment below to share your thoughts about these two questions.
At some level, we all know this, but maybe it’s not something we’ve thought about much: relationships are so important to our happiness that the quality of our relationships affects our quality of life. This is especially true of relationships with the people we love the most and spend the most time with. If we want to have better lives, one of the surest ways to do this is to work to improve the quality of even one or two of our most important relationships. This week we’ve been looking at St. Paul’s advice on love and relationships, which comes down to one simple principle: focus on what you can do, what you can control--take responsibility for what depends on you in the relationship. If we want a relationship to get better, we need to stop thinking about what the other person should or shouldn’t have said, about how they should change, about what they should do differently. Love doesn’t keep lists of all the ways I’ve been wronged, all the times the other person hurt me. Love doesn’t rush to point out the other person’s faults. Instead of brooding over injuries and keeping lists, instead of seeking its own interests and protecting itself, love tries to find ways to give more. Our relationships get better when we stop trying to change them, and start trying to change us.
If you want to take a next step with this week’s message, here are three ideas:
“As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ.” 1 Corinthians 12:12
God designed us to find meaning and purpose in community. Just like Legos are made to connect with one another, God designed us to connect with one another. In his first letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul challenges us to see that although we are all different, together we complete the body of Christ. We belong to one another--each of us needs all the others, and together we can accomplish what we never could on our own. Belonging to the Body of Christ helps me know who I am, and be who I am, in a way that no other community can do quite as well. God gave us this gift of belonging to his family, being a part of the body, the Church, because he knows that we need it. We need to be connected to each other, we need to support one another, we need to hold one another up. Because we belong to one another. We were made to belong to one another.
Want to take your next step with this week’s message?
Since we just hired a new team member, and we have new members joining our community (welcome!), and it's a new year, it occurred to me that this would be a great time to introduce the talented people serving on our pastoral team. New Roads Catholic Community exists to offer experiences of worship, welcome, and conversation through which people can encounter God and grow in their relationship with God. This is both a fantastic opportunity and a great challenge--I’m grateful that we are blessed with committed, qualified, and talented team members, and especially if you’re new to our community, I’m proud and happy to introduce them to you.
I’m Fr. Thom Mahoney. I was ordained in 1998, and I have served at Sacred Heart Parish in Middleborough, St. Patrick Parish in Watertown, and as a chaplain at Massachusetts General Hospital. I grew up in Wellesley, Massachusetts, one of eight children of my parents John and Mary. I attended the College of the Holy Cross and St. John’s Seminary and have a BA in Philosophy and a Masters in Divinity.
Mary Cahill has served as administrative assistant for the collaborative since November 2013, after holding similar positions in other parishes. Mary is the face of New Roads Catholic Community, the first person people see or speak to when they call or come in to the collaborative. A native of Woburn, Massachusetts, Mary is a huge Bruins fan. Mary has three grown children, with whom she went skiing over Christmas, and was very proud not to have fallen or broken any bones! Mary can be reached at email@example.com, or just by showing up at the front door of the offices at St. Luke, Monday-Friday, 9-3.
Lou Fabrizio, our finance & operations manager, was born and raised in St. Luke Parish and began serving as business manager at St. Luke in 2012. He has a BS in Marketing Management from Bentley University and an MBA from Nichols College. Lou is responsible for all aspects of financial management, including budgeting, payroll, and bookkeeping, as well as campus operations, including maintaining the physical plant and managing relationships with vendors and tenants. Before working for St. Luke, Lou worked in marketing and finance, which he still teaches part-time. Lou loves golf, chocolate, and “Seinfeld.” He and his wife Suzanne have three sons. Lou can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rachel Keeler began working at St. Joseph in 2010. A native of Long Island, New York, Rachel came to Belmont by way of the College of the Holy Cross (go Crusaders!) and Weston Jesuit School of Theology, where she earned her Masters in Divinity. As associate minister, Rachel shares responsibility for overall vision, strategic planning, ministry coordination, pastoral care, and staff development. Rachel and her husband Noel have two children and two cats. In her unofficial role as Head Pastry Chef at New Roads, Rachel is constantly baking delicious treats for all of our team meetings! Rachel can be reached at email@example.com.
Our newest team member, Grace Kincaid, joined us this week as coordinator of children’s ministry. Grace is a native of Natick, Massachusetts, earned a BA in Theology and Religious Studies at Catholic University, and has worked for the past two years in a parish in Camden, New Jersey. Grace will be coordinating our Kids’ Church programs (Tiny Disciples and Children’s Liturgy of the Word) and kids’ small groups. Grace is a dynamic and nurturing person whose heart is focused on helping children and their families grow in faith. Please welcome her when you see her. Grace can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Holly Muson joined the team in November 2014 as sacramental preparation coordinator, after serving as a volunteer in several capacities relating to teens and faith formation. Her previous work was in the area of housing development. She holds a BS in Civil Engineering from Cornell University and an MBA from Harvard University. Holly coordinates our preparation programs for Baptism, Reconciliation & Eucharist, and Confirmation. Holly and her husband Steve have two daughters. Holly can be reached at email@example.com, but be careful--if you reach out to her, she may ask you to do a witness talk on a Confirmation retreat!
Sr. Kathleen Moran probably had no idea where it would lead when she started in parish ministry at St. Luke’s in 2001 as a pastoral associate. A native of Boston, Sr. Kathleen received her BA from Regis College and a Masters in Divinity from Weston Jesuit School of Theology. Before starting at St. Luke’s, she served on the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph Leadership Team, after working previously in retreat ministry and school administration. As associate minister, Sr. Kathleen works with our liturgical ministers, ministers to the homebound and hospitalized, and bereavement ministers, as well as coordinating various liturgical, spiritual, and social opportunities. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kathy O’Leary joined our team in July 2014, after working for several years in tech recruiting and project management in the business world. She holds a BA in Philosophy from Wellesley College. Originally from Sudbury, Massachusetts, Kathy works primarily on communications and project management, working to keep our team focused on our priority of finding bold, creative, and exciting ways to share Christ’s love with those who have become disconnected from the Church. Kathy and her husband Devin welcomed their first child, Matthew Francis, in August. Kathy can be reached at email@example.com.
Kathy Rushe began working at St. Joseph in 2010. Kathy coordinates mission and service projects, organizes volunteers for sacramental prep programs, and coordinates screening for all parish volunteers. Kathy attended Regis College and received a BA in Art. She brings her artistic talent and creativity to all aspects of our work--Kathy is the creative mind behind the mosaics our Confirmation teens have made for the past few years, for example. Originally from Allston, Massachusetts, Kathy went to Mt. St. Joseph Academy, where Sr. Kathleen was her principal! Kathy and her husband Vinnie have four children and a Jack Russell terrier. Kathy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Denise Ryan has been singing at St. Joseph and serving on the team for over 25 years. A native of Waltham, Denise comes from an extremely musical family--two of her sisters are music directors at other local parishes. She graduated with a BA in Music from Boston University and completed her Masters degree in Theology at Harvard Divinity School. Denise serves as a cantor regularly but also helps with the music program more generally, including working with families planning funerals at St. Joseph. Denise and her husband Jim have one son, James, who is participating in our Reconciliation & Eucharist preparation program this year. Denise can be reached at email@example.com.
Todd Theriault has been music director at St. Luke since 2004. A native of northern Maine, Todd loves music of all kinds, especially making music with other people. He studied for a year at Boston Conservatory and has a Bachelor of Music from New England Conservatory. Todd plays the piano and organ for weekend and holy day liturgies, as well as weddings and funerals at St. Luke, directs the choir at the 11:00 Mass, and occasionally plays at St. Joseph as well. Todd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or just by walking over to the piano after Mass any weekend at St. Luke.
We are also blessed to have several other people who provide services for New Roads: Charley Connor, a long-time music director at St. Joseph’s, and Zach Stadtmueller serve as accompanists, Roseann Grady assists Lou with bookkeeping, Steve Muldoon provides maintenance services at St. Joseph, and many others serve as cantors or instrumentalists.
Now you've met us--we want to meet you! If you are new to our community, or if you've been coming here for a while but never had the chance to say hello, please send us a note or look for one of us after Mass one week (we all wear nametags!).
Last night I went with my family to Faneuil Hall to see the Christmas light show and soak in some of the joyous holiday spirit. It's the kind of place where you keep a close eye on your children, because they could get separated from you so quickly and easily in such a big crowd. After dinner, my kids and I found a relatively uncrowded spot to stand for a few minutes to enjoy our ice cream. I finished first, and spotted a trash can nearby where I could throw away my empty cup, but I realized that if I walked over there without saying anything, my younger child would surely look up from his Blue Vanilla at just that moment, not see me, and panic. So over the din in Quincy Market, I worked to make myself heard: “I’m walking over to that garbage can right there.” My son chose to accompany me the ten feet to the trash can, not wanting to take any chances.
It made me think about how utterly terrifying it can be for a child to be separated from his or her parents, especially in a loud, crowded, unfamiliar place like that. Even if the separation isn’t real--even if the parent can still see the child, and has just stepped out of the child’s line of sight for a second--the child will be terrified. It’s not enough for the parent to be there, keeping a watchful eye--the child also has to be able to see that the parent is there.
It struck me that this is what the Feast of the Epiphany that we celebrate this week is really all about. At Christmas we celebrate the great good news that God sent his Son into the world not to condemn the world but to save it. The scenes that take place in the stable in Bethlehem and in the surrounding hills are just the beginning of the story. Epiphany is a key part of the Christmas story--the part of the story in which the focus shifts from God’s initiative, from God’s great love, to our human response. It’s not enough for Christ to be born among us--we also have to know that Christ is here. The Epiphany is about people beginning to realize that a Savior has been born for them. If we’re going to have a relationship with Christ, the kind of relationship that can transform our lives, it’s not enough for Christ to be watching over us. We have to be able to see him, too.
And this means we have to search for him. Like the magi, we can’t be satisfied with just knowing that Christ was born, that he’s out there somewhere. To see for ourselves, we have to go out looking for him. Like for the magi, there are signs that point to Christ’s presence; but for us, the signs are in our lives, not in the sky. We have to look for the ways Christ is present and active and working in our lives. When we experience a moment of peace in the midst of a time of anxiety, a peace that we did not and could not create for ourselves; when we are surprised by a glimmer of hope rising up in us, despite all the reasons we’re sure that nothing will turn out right; when we find ourselves drawn to doing the harder thing, the more courageous thing; when we feel ourselves in some mysterious way accompanied and loved, and moved to accompany and love others; when a beloved friend or a total stranger says something to us that turns out to be the exact word we need to hear--all these are signs pointing to Christ’s presence in our lives.
And of course, Epiphany also reminds us that we are called to lead others to Christ. The star is such a central symbol of Christmas, and such a fitting symbol of what Christ asks us to do: to light the way for others, to lead others, especially those who are far off, into relationship with him. At least four parishioners this Christmas told me about families who had accepted their invitations to come to church--to worship with us during Advent, to join us for Christmas Kickoff, to come to Christmas Mass. And dozens more members volunteered to serve as greeters this Advent and Christmas, to ensure that when these families arrived at church for their first time, in response to an invitation from a friend or neighbor, they would be warmly welcomed. These are such encouraging signs of growth in our parishes--thank you so much to all who extended invitations to join us, and all who helped provide a welcoming spirit at New Roads this Christmas.
Take your next step: This week, look for signs of Christ’s presence in your life, signs of peace, hope, joy, love, and guidance. See if you can find one sign of Christ’s presence every day.
This is week two of our Advent message series, Making Room, in which we are exploring together how to make room in our hearts and in our lives for Christ, and how to make room in our churches for those who don’t worship with us regularly. When we think about making room in our churches for guests, sometimes it can feel like someone else’s job, or maybe just the greeters’ job. But the reality is that every interaction a guest has in our churches contributes to their decision to come back again or not. Each of us has the power to affect a guest’s experience in a powerful way! How can you welcome guests? Here are seven practical ideas (adapted from thomrainer.com):
Saying these things may be outside your comfort zone. That’s OK! Stepping outside our comfort zone is how we grow as people and as disciples. Take a shot at saying one of these phrases to someone in our church during Advent--it’s one small way of making more room for Christ in our hearts by making more room for all of God’s children in our churches!
Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and Christmas is just 30 days away...
It can be hard not to feel overwhelmed at this time of year. But the Church gives us the season of Advent, which begins this Sunday, a season full of readings and songs that invite us to slow down, to be quiet, to reflect. Advent is like a retreat that the Church offers us at this time of year--a chance to reflect on the role of faith in our lives. We’re beginning a four-week message series this weekend called Making Room, and it’s all about how we can carve out space in our hearts, in our lives, and in our churches to make room for the things that matter most. Our lives can feel so crowded and cluttered at this time of year that it can be hard to imagine making room for anything else. But Christ is worth making room for, and Advent is the perfect time to think about making room in our hearts and our churches as we approach Christmas.
Want to do a little more to prepare for Sunday?
In the ancient world, the king was the central figure and most important person in any society; good kings were a source of protection, strength, and guidance for their people. This weekend, the last Sunday of the Church’s year, we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King, and the readings offer us the image of Christ as the king of our lives, the one who saves, sustains, and guides us. We modern people tend to think of ourselves as strong and independent, so we’re not always aware of our need for help and guidance. And we don’t think about kings much anymore, so the idea of Christ as “king” may be hard to grasp. Join us for worship this weekend as we explore this invitation to put Christ at the center of our lives from a modern perspective. Some questions we’ll think about together: