Living the Faith: Barry Rowe

MELROSE -- Spend a few minutes in conversation with Barry Rowe, and you just might wind up getting more involved in your parish.

Rowe is so enthusiastic about his involvement in his parish, it emanates from him. Perhaps that is why his pastor, Father James Field, asked him to lead the stewardship committee at Incarnation of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Parish in Melrose.

“Being a Christian isn’t only about being on your knees with your head down. It’s about sharing your experience,” Rowe stressed.

“We [the stewardship committee] are always looking for opportunities for people to share their time, their talent with their church,” Rowe said. “I wish everybody would get involved in whatever way they can.”

“We’ve come up with some pretty good ideas,” he said. As a result, the committee has begun several ongoing programs quite unique to their parish, Rowe continued.

Parishioners are now involved volunteering at My Brother’s Table, a privately funded soup kitchen located in Lynn. They have also begun a parish food pantry. Every year, the parish hosts a baby shower, collecting new clothes, diaper bags and other essentials and delivering them to the archdiocese’s Pro-Life Office, who sorts them and gives them to pregnant mothers in need. During Advent, the parish runs a program called “Bethlehem Stars,” in which parishioners are encouraged to donate money in order to help three charities. In support of a parishioner whose son was stationed in Afghanistan, the parish has begun a program called “Letters to Heroes,” in which parishioners collect DVDs, letters, and other personal items and ship them to soldiers in the Middle East.

“There are a lot of good people who are stepping forward to serve in a variety of ways,” Rowe said. “A lot of this is happening because Father Field is energizing the parish.”

“We’ve had very good pastors in the 27 years I have been here,” he said thoughtfully. “There’s always been a lot of participation.”

Rowe, 63, moved to Melrose in 1980 with his wife, Patty. The couple raised three children and are now the proud grandparents of five children.

Rowe, a cradle Catholic, credits his faith to his parents, who “always took their faith seriously.” Rowe recalled how his parent’s involvement in his home parish helped shape his childhood.

“They always taught me to reach out and help others when I can,” he said.

“There’s a time in your life when you have the opportunity to give back some of what you’ve been given, and I guess I’m now at that time,” Rowe said.

“I am just trying to put what talent I have to use and have fun with it while I am at it,” he added.