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State’s first co-ed Holy Name Society chapter launched

By Donis Tracy
Posted: 9/19/2003

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So, during a Mass at her parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in East Boston, when Taylor listened to Walter Bart, coordinator of the Central Region of the Holy Name Society in the Archdiocese of Boston, laud the benefits of the Holy Name Society, she knew that was just what her parish needed.

Immediately following the Mass, Taylor approached Bart and offered to call all the men of her parish in order to begin a chapter of the Society.

It failed.

"I tried real hard to get men interested, but no one came forward," she recalled.

Disheartened, Taylor called Bart and voiced her frustration over the lack of interest. “I told him that I wished there was something that could be done, but that the men of the parish didn’t seem overly interested in forming an all-male society,” she said.

That’s when Bart informed her that in many areas throughout the United States, chapters of the Holy Name Society have become co-ed in recent years.

"If I can include women," she exclaimed, "then get ready, because I can fill the room!"

And she did. Forty three parishioners of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church — men and women — proudly stepped forward to become the parish’s new Holy Name Society.

"I'm excited. I really am," declared Taylor. "We have a few husbands and wives, as well as some other women who used to belong to the Confraternity of Christian Mothers with me."

"I was able to talk to everyone personally, and they were all very willing to join," Taylor said.

According to Bart, this is the first co-ed Holy Name Society in Massachusetts’ history.

"This is historic," Bart declared. "And I think it's great!"

Speaking together with his wife, Eleanor, from their summer home on Cape Cod, Bart credited the success of this new chapter of the Holy Name Society to Taylor’s “determination and devotion.”

"If it wasn't for Sabina and the other women, I don't think anything would have begun," chimed in Eleanor Bart.

Bart praised the Holy Name Society, mentioning that members often help the parish with “corporal works of mercy.”

"I think it's nice to organize and have a society that does whatever it can to help the pastor," he mused. "Also, in this day and age it's very important for people to have a devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus."

Bart has been involved with the Holy Name Society for over 50 years, spending over 20 years as the New England coordinator. Speaking at the East Boston parish was one of the ways in which he and his wife have tried to “resurrect” the society in parishes within the archdiocese.

On Sept 7, during the 11 a.m. Mass, each member of the new chapter of the society received a special pin from Father Francis de Sales Paolo, OFM, pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The officers, including vice-president Taylor, were also installed during the Mass.

"It was a beautiful ceremony," said Father Paolo. Speaking with The Pilot, Father Paolo stated that this is the first time in over 20 years that his parish has had a Holy Name Society.

“I think the Holy Name Society is going to reactivate the faith,” said Father Paolo. “Reviving this society will definitely bring a new life to the parish.”

"We need solidarity, we need people bound together in fellowship -- not only for our personal sanctification, but also to bring the renewal of faith in the parish community," Father Paolo continued.

"Unfortunately, the time of the societies in the Church has all but passed away, unless you actively get them started again," said Taylor.

Taylor believes societies are important in order to “support the Church in a spiritual way.”