Marlborough parish celebrates 150th anniversary

HUDSON – Parishioners at Immaculate Conception in Marlborough received a wonderful gift for their parish’s 150th anniversary — a visit from their archbishop.

The parish kicked off its yearlong sesquicentennial celebration with an open-air Mass attended by close to 1,000 people, celebrated by Archbishop Seán O’Malley, followed by a parish picnic celebrated at the Elks Pavilion in Hudson on Sept 21.

Father Michael MacEwen, pastor of Immaculate Conception, in remarks prior to the Mass, welcomed the archbishop, saying, “On behalf of all the parishioners, I thank you for accepting this invitation and welcome you to our parish.”

Father MacEwen went on to recount a brief history of the parish — describing how before the parish’s inception, Marlborough residents were forced to travel 16 miles by horse and carriage to Worcester every Sunday in order to attend Mass. According to Father MacEwen, when the parish was built in 1854, it served Catholics from all the area towns.

During his homily, the archbishop cited the rich history of the parish. “The history of this community of faith stretches back a century and a-half,” he said. “During 150 years, Catholics have come together in this parish to worship God, to baptize their babies, to bless their marriages, to bury their dead, to pray for deliverance, to celebrate moments of intense pain and immense joy”

"Our sentiments today are of thanksgiving -- thanksgiving to God, to our Catholic faith and to our parishes," he continued.

Archbishop O’Malley told the parishioners they were “the beneficiaries of the love and sacrifices of so many good priests, nuns and lay people” who have given their lives in service of the Church. He urged the congregation “to offer the Mass for them — those who have come before us,” while praying “for those who will come after us.”

"We want to pass on our heritage to them," the archbishop added. He called on all the people present to be active transmitters of faith to the next generation. "Jesus said He wanted us to be fishers of men, but often we become keepers of the aquarium," he said.

During his homily, the archbishop also underscored the rich history of the Catholic faith. “We have always been a people of the Creed, a people of the Magisterium, a people who have embraced those teachings that have been transmitted to us from Christ through His apostles,” he said. He went on to stress that “it is around the Eucharist that our parishes have been formed.”

"We who are the Body of Christ -- His Church -- are fed by the Body of Christ," he stated. It is in receiving this Body of Christ, the archbishop went on to say, that Catholics can begin to love as God loves.

"He loved us first -- while we were in sin, while we were indifferent to His love," said Archbishop O'Malley. "We must be a people who love first."

"At the Last Supper... [Jesus] began the Mass by washing the feet of the disciples to teach all of us to stop fighting over the first place at the table and start fighting over the towel," he said.

The archbishop exhorted all to “be quick on the draw with our love, our forgiveness, our friendship.”

"We live in a world that is increasingly more and more individualistic." Citing New Age spirituality as an example, Archbishop O'Malley went on to say that there's even "privatization in religion."

However, “Jesus didn’t come to give us warm fuzzies,” said Archbishop O’Malley, but to build “a community of faith based on His love, inspired by His word and example… saved by His cross and united around the living bread on the altar, which is His body. Never lose sight of where we have come from or where we are going,” he declared.

At the close of his homily, Archbishop O’Malley entrusted the parish to Mary. “May she guide you and protect you always,” he prayed.

"The Mass was spectacular," commented Denise Priess, a parishioner of 17 years. "It was unbelievable that we got so many parishioners to come here," she added.

"I thought this was fantastic," said parishioner Don Landers, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and retired assistant superintendent on schools. "Just looking around I could see that people were uplifted, jovial even."

Dan Byron, den leader of Cub Scout Pack 24 brought his Boy Scout troop to the celebration. “It was interesting to hear all the history,” he mused. “I’m not native to this area, so it was wonderful to hear it.”

After the Mass, Archbishop O’Malley returned to the pavilion to mingle with the parishioners — stopping to bless children, to chat with families, and to bless the infirm.

Meanwhile, the parish picnic commenced with food, music, children’s activities, and races, to name a few. Parishioners Peter and Stacey Militello volunteered to coordinate the picnic. Beginning in March, they planned the five-hour event, although, according to Peter, close to 100 volunteers came forward to help the event run smoothly.

"They are the ones doing the work here today," he laughed. "Me? I have very little to do, just enjoy myself now."

The Mass and social kicked off a year of special events to commemorate the 150th anniversary. Upcoming events include a special Blessing of the Animals on the feast of St. Francis, a celebratory concert featuring Massachusetts State Trooper Dan Clark, and a parish-wide renewal of marriage vows on Valentine’s Day.

Lifelong parishioner Donna Kelley, music director for the church choir, the Contemporary Music Ensemble, is excited to see the parish come together to celebrate. “This is wonderful. Everyone has been very receptive,” she said.

Nation
Retired Green Bay auxiliary bishop failed to report abuse, withdraws from ministry

Green Bay, Wis., Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Bishop Robert Morneau, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Green Bay, has withdrawn from public ministry saying ...

Nation
Dolan 'impatient' waiting for apostolic visitation in response to McCarrick

New York City, N.Y., Sep 20, 2018 CNA.- The Archbishop of New York said Thursday that while he has confidence in the way Pope Francis is handling the ...

World
Two more Chilean bishops step down in wake of abuse crisis

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis accepted the resignations of two more Chilean bishops, bringing to seven the number of bishops who have stepped down ...

Local
Celebration of the Priesthood dinner raises over $1.8 million

BOSTON -- A record 1,700 people attended the 10th annual Celebration of the Priesthood dinner to raise funds for the Clergy Health and Retirement Trust ...

Local
Lawrence parish helps community cope with gas explosion aftermath

LAWRENCE -- Volunteers at St. Patrick Church's Cor Unum Meal Center were serving dinner when multiple natural gas explosions and fires broke out in homes ...

Local
Ceremony, Mass kick off St. Augustine Chapel bicentennial

SOUTH BOSTON -- St. Augustine Chapel and Cemetery began its year-long bicentennial celebration on the weekend of Sept. 14-16 with tours, special Masses, ...

Local
Mass. Knights install new officers

The Massachusetts State Council Knights of Columbus recently held its Installation of State Officers at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Canton with ...

Local
Deal will keep Sancta Maria Nursing Facility open

CAMBRIDGE -- Sancta Maria Nursing Facility announced Sept. 17 that it has negotiated a comprehensive operational contract with Advocate Healthcare Management ...

Local
From Cardinal Seán's blog

As I mentioned in my preface to last week's blog, this week and last, I have been in Rome for meetings related to the work of the Pontifical Commission ...

Nation
N.Y. Archdiocese names judge as independent reviewer on abuse protocols

NEW YORK (CNS) -- New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan has named a former federal judge to study archdiocesan policies and procedures with respect to sexual ...

Nation
U.S. reports poverty declines, but agencies finding needs remain great

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The good news from the U.S. Census Bureau Sept. 12 was that the poverty rate dropped for the third straight year in 2017 and median ...

Nation
Class-action lawsuit filed against eight Pennsylvania dioceses

PITTSBURGH (CNS) -- A class-action lawsuit was filed Sept. 17 against eight Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania demanding the dioceses provide proof that ...

World
Apostolic visitor outlines plans for expansion at Medjugorje shrine

WARSAW, Poland (CNS) -- The Polish archbishop tasked with overseeing Bosnia-Herzegovina's Medjugorje shrine has outlined plans for expansion, including ...

World
Pope names administrator as Indian bishop investigated for alleged rape

MUMBAI, India (CNS) -- Pope Francis has accepted the request of an Indian bishop accused of raping a nun to be relieved of his duties during the investigation. In ...

World
In letters to German cardinal, retired pope defends way he stepped down

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Retired Pope Benedict XVI expressed his displeasure with the way a German cardinal publicly criticized his stepping down as pontiff, ...

Nation
Thousands of Hispanics expected in Texas for Encuentro summit

Fort Worth, Texas, Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- As many as 3,000 Catholics of Hispanic background are expected in Texas this week for the National V Encuentro, ...

Nation
Church plans third-party abuse reporting system, code of conduct

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pledging to "heal and protect with every bit of the strength God provides us," the U.S. bishops' Administrative Committee Sept. 19 ...

World
Be grateful to parents, never insult them, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Honoring mothers and fathers means being grateful for the gift of life and Christians should never insult anyone's parents, Pope ...

World
Canadian cardinal: Women should help screen, train priest applicants

Poznan, Poland, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- Increasing the role of women in screening and training priests is among the steps that should be taken to prevent future ...

World
Vatican delegation will travel to China this month to finalize agreement, Chinese newspaper reports

Beijing, China, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- A newspaper tied to the Chinese Communist Party reported Tuesday that a delegation of Vatican officials will head to ...

World
Media reporting Vatican-China agreement could be signed in late September

HONG KONG (CNS) -- The long-awaited Sino-Vatican agreement on the nomination of bishops is expected to be signed in September, reported several media ...

World
Update: Irish singer Bono calls pope 'extraordinary man for extraordinary times'

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Bono, the lead singer of the Irish band U2, said he told Pope Francis that in Ireland "it looks as though the abusers are being ...

World
Cardinal Marx says mistakes were made, calls for change in German church

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, head of the German bishops' conference, admitted that mistakes were made in the German church's handling of sex abuse of minors ...

Nation
Church crisis response: Healing Masses, listening sessions, fasting

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In response to the sexual abuse crisis in the church, Catholics are praying for victims, talking about their frustration and anger, ...

Nation
Pope names Minnesota priest as auxiliary bishop of Hartford

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pope Francis has appointed Father Juan M. Betancourt, a priest in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, as auxiliary bishop ...

World
Listening church: Pope gives new vision for Synod of Bishops

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Synod of Bishops increasingly should be a structure for listening to the Catholic faithful, demonstrating a local bishop's concern ...

Nation
Director of Courage releases letter on Penn. abuse report

Washington D.C., Sep 17, 2018 CNA.- Courage International, an apostolate to support people with same sex-attraction in leading chaste lives, has issued ...

Nation
Richmond bishop apologizes to victims; commits to opening, reviewing files

RICHMOND, Va. (CNS) -- In celebrating the Diocese of Richmond's first Mass of Atonement for victims of abuse Sept. 14, Bishop Barry C. Knestout apologized ...

Nation
Advocates decry historically low cap for refugee entry in 2019

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Advocates for refugee admissions into the United States decried what one statement called a historically low cap of 30,000 for fiscal ...

Nation
Stanford University to remove saint's name from some properties

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- California's Stanford University will strip the name of 18th-century Franciscan friar, St. Junipero Serra, from some of its properties ...

Nation
Catholic Charities distributes disaster relief to areas hit by Florence

RALEIGH, N.C. (CNS) -- The Carolinas were hard hit with record rainfall and flooding rivers from tropical storm Florence since it made landfall Sept. ...

Nation
Archbishop Lori assures diocese he's with them in journey toward healing

WHEELING, W.Va. (CNS) -- In his celebration of Mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling Sept. 15, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore said ...

World
Bishop takes a (sky) dive to get pilgrims to Lourdes

HOVE, England (CNS) -- "The Moth has landed," tweeted the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton. The tweet Sept. 14 and a similar post on the diocesan Facebook ...

World
Words, promises are not enough to prevent abuse, archbishop says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Inviting presidents of the world's bishops' conference to the Vatican to discuss abuse prevention reflects an understanding that ...

World
Pope praises Capuchin order's charism of authenticity, simplicity

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Capuchins are called to be men of peace, reconciliation and prayer and to be close to all people, Pope Francis told members of the ...

Nation
Path to healing starts with seeking forgiveness, Cardinal Wuerl says

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- A "Season of Healing" for sexual abuse survivors began in the Archdiocese of Washington with a Sept. 14 Mass at the Cathedral of St. ...

World
Archbishop McCarrick's unofficial role in Vatican-China relations

Vatican City, Sep 17, 2018 CNA.- Following reports that the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China could be about to sign an agreement ...

Nation
Archbishop Chaput: When we forget faith, we forget our humanity

Spokane, Wash., Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- When man tries to cling to reason and separate himself from faith, he forgets who he is and loses his source of hope, ...

World
Pope Francis warns priests against living a double life

Palermo, Italy, Sep 15, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- During a day trip to Sicily Saturday, Pope Francis told priests and religious to fight their vices and strive ...

World
What is the pontifical secret?

Vatican City, Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- Following the allegations made by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò about the case of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, ...

World
Catholic workers say U.S. aid cuts to Palestinians could be disastrous

JERUSALEM (CNS) -- The U.S. budgetary cuts to humanitarian aid institutions helping Palestinians could lead to long-term disastrous consequences, said ...