One of the more important themes that I have been writing about lately is the mission of the parish. In times past, most parishes were supported by the bulk of the people in any city, and even in rural areas, there were often many chapels and small mission churches. In our time, that has changed for a number of reasons, but whether it is a small or large parish, new or old, some important things always apply.

All members of a parish are expected to worship regularly, participate in the growth of the community, work on ongoing personal/faith development, and give generously according to one’s means. These precepts continue to be true, and especially so in our own day. In fact, I believe that following them is more important now than it was in days gone by. If everybody takes discipleship seriously and works corporately toward our success, we will succeed.But what does success look like in our time?

Soon, I will be sending the Grand Annual letter to all of you who are registered parishioners. In it, I outline what it is that we did last year, take the time to celebrate our successes, and then lay out a vision for moving into a new year with new goals and objectives for the parish. A hint: The vision will always be about how we are doing at the task of making disciples, people who are good representatives of Jesus wherever they are. So many people decry what is happening in our world and Church, and right now it does feel pretty bad. The solution is to seed the whole world with the love of God, shown to us by Jesus Christ and strengthened by the Holy Spirit. We are the people God has chosen to accomplish this task. But how?

We begin with a universal call to holiness and the challenge to learn about our faith. If we are to be the people whom God uses to proclaim his kingdom, like the apostles, we must receive and share the Holy Spirit. It is demanding to be a disciple, because we are often called to present an alternative view in the world, to bring love where there is none and where there is hate, and to be people who consistently welcome the stranger and the outcast. These are not easy tasks, and take the humility to change from the inside out, and then recognize that we are not perfect. We have to throw off the goal of perfection (except in the desire to be perfect in compassion as God is) because it is the enemy of the good and causes us to be judgmental of others and ourselves. Instead, let us be about making every moment we are concentrating on our faith or our parish an opportunity to improve our prayer and relationship to God through Jesus, strengthen our knowledge of the faith and our desire to live it more concretely, and increase our desire to model it, wherever we are. That is our mission and we are on the journey to know it, live it, and make it known.

Peace, Father Murray

Building news: In meeting with the architects about the entrance and accessibility for the lower church at IC, the difficult news is that we are exploring making a new entrance attached to the school side back entrance. This appears to be the only possible entrance way. As a result, we are going to take our time with this project. The school leases are slowly coming along and the people who are taking them over are still in the “due diligence” period, i.e., looking at the challenges for their project within the Salem’s restrictions and codes. More as the time for signing gets closer.

La columna de Padre Murray no estaba disponible en el momento de la impresión. ¡Pedimos disculpas!

8 Comments, RSS

  • Roberta desmond

    says on:
    February 1, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    In the spring when heating St James is no longer an issue will 4 pm mass be reinstated?

    • Margo Morin

      says on:
      February 2, 2017 at 3:51 pm

      Hi Roberta, thanks for your question. I don’t think that’s the plan. It’s not just a heating issue but availability of priests going forward.

  • Eileen Luddy

    says on:
    February 4, 2017 at 10:55 pm

    Margo: Here are a few “dreams”/ideas: Sell all 3 schools and part of the St J B pk lot. Reserve a strip of St.James Pk.lot as a driveway from Bridge St to the “School”/Condo bldg residents. Keep the St James chapel with the front and back parking areas for St. James because it draws a big bingo crowd and can be used for very big Catholic events. Reinstate Grades 1 – 6 CCD classes and have them taught in groups within St James basement on Tuesdays from 3:30-4:45. At the same time have a Women’s Bible study group either in the chapel or the meeting room beneath. Have grades 7-12 have pre and post Confirmation classes on Sunday nights after the 6:30 mass at IC. Use the basement and the upper church for groups. Use post Confirmation students as assistant teachers/mentors/companions-on-the-journey for the Pre-Confirmation students. Use the youth groups to do community service cleaning the administration offices and the churches as well as the basements.It will help them all to develop a young community and feel a needed part of the collaborative. Anyone who uses the kitchen in the basement of St. James must have people to clean it after.Start a young Catholic professionals and tradespersons group meeting at some restaurant one night a week – or monthly.

    • Margo Morin

      says on:
      February 9, 2017 at 6:07 pm

      Thanks so much for your ideas Eileen! We love that you’re thinking of the future and envisioning the church as a busy, thriving place!

  • Heather

    says on:
    April 15, 2017 at 10:48 am

    Many opportunities to support and encourage our youth have been missed over the years. I believe in order to have our parishes thrive it is vital to engage our children.
    I am hopeful when I hear the collaborative will be looking at our faith formation, sacramental program and more.
    It is crucial to feel like you belong to a community and share the common goal of worshiping, learning and loving God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.
    I have watched as many people some paid and some volunteers have been cast aside instead of being acknowledged for their service to the parishes. This is where hurt, disappointment and resentment can be felt. As a collaborative can we reach out to make amends and be an example of forgiveness and charity- that Jesus demonstrated to us through many of his kind and wondrous acts.
    God Bless us all

  • Nancy Roney

    says on:
    June 23, 2017 at 5:09 pm

    I am sorry our Music Minister Kurt and Father Gregory will be leaving us. Kurt’s voice and expertise have added greatly to the music program in the Collaborative and I will miss Father Gregory’s homilies which are always inspirational and come from the Holy Spirit. We have been blessed with their contributions to the Salem Collaborative. Best wishes in their new assignments.

  • Eileen CARMODY

    says on:
    March 29, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    Margo, I am looking for Fr. Murray’s email address for the list of the parishioners who attended the meetings last week. Kindly send it to my email address. I have searched the bulletins but I can not find it.
    Thank you,


  • Nancy Roney

    says on:
    June 1, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    I attended corpus Christi celebration in the UK once and the center aisle was a carpet of flowers. The work was done by parishioners. it was not just an annual tourist event but a demonstration of parishioners love of the parish. Would love to see the same at Mary Queen of Apostles. Both churches (St. James and ICC have lovely center aisles.

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