Living the Faith: John and Margaret Joyce

SOMERVILLE ? Margaret Joyce has been a member of St. Joseph’s parish in Somerville since the day she was born.

“I remember the day of my First Communion that Msgr. McGrath ? our first pastor ? waved at me out the window,” she said with a smile. “This is the only parish I have ever had.”

Over the years, Margaret and her husband of 58 years, John Joyce, has been involved at St. Joseph’s in a host of ways. They have both been lectors and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. In addition, the two were in charge of bringing Communion to patients at Somerville Hospital until the hospital stopped admitting overnight patients.

The Joyces also raised their five children at St. Joseph’s, sending them to the parish elementary school.

Now both 84 years old ? the two were born just 13 days apart ? the Joyces are still active members of the parish. They still lector and serve as extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion.

“We switch off at the seven o’clock Mass every week. I lector one week and she’s the eucharistic minister, then we switch,” explained John.

John, also a Somerville native, is not originally from the parish.

“I’ve only been at St. Joseph’s for 81 years,” he chuckled.

As part of the oldest parish in Somerville, they have certainly seen their parish change over the years.

“Our parish was once full of Irish and Italians,” recounted Margaret. “But now it is a smattering of all the nations.”

This diversity is simply a reflection of the changing face of the larger community, John said. As the retired superintendent of schools for the Somerville Public Schools, he sees how the population has changed drastically.

According to Margaret, this diversity underscores the meaning of the catholicity of the Church for her.

“I think it’s just wonderful that we are all from different parts of the world, but that our faith makes us all unite,” she said.

The couple praised their current pastor, Father Henry Jennings, for his ability to “keep his finger on the pulse of Somerville.”

“He really does a great job,” John said. “And he also has brought priests from Africa and Sri Lanka to worship with us, which is wonderful.”

Both John and Margaret value the faith they were brought up in.

“To me my faith is my rock,” John said. “When you see what’s going on in the world, it’s a wonderful thing that you have something to hold onto.”

Margaret agreed. “I can’t imagine being without it. My faith is something I really don’t often talk about ? but I talk to God all day long. I thank God for everything, even the things I don’t immediately understand.”

“I feel blessed to have been born and raised in a Catholic family,” she said.

St. Joseph Parish, Somerville

Year established ? 1869

Pastor ? Father Henry J. Jennings

Parochial Vicar ? Father Charles Madi-Okin

Pastoral Associate ? Sister Marie St. Joseph Santry, SND

Music Director ? Maureen Gaffney

Organist ? Josephine Lucreziano