This week we start to count down the final days of the liturgical year. We are blessed at our parish for the number of positive things that have happened this year. I am pleased by the growth in the number of people that have begun to step forward to serve in various ways. We can see a small but steady uptick in growth in some areas. Looking back on the year, we can see evidence that we are continuing to think about the best ways for us to become an active, vibrant parish.

I want you to know what I am thinking constantly about the parish and the    direction that we need to go in to continue to grow. I have listened to       everyone and heard many different voices and opinions. One thing I think is   important to remember is that we are not going to be able to go back to what we had before, to a Church that looks like it was in the fifties or sixties. The truth is that we are facing       momentous times of crisis and upheaval, and at the same time we are being called to a future that is not our own. While we may want to leave our young people a Church like the one we remember, it is more           important that we leave them a Church they can come to and feel welcomed in, despite being away for a period of time, and a Church that can respond to their spiritual needs while continuing to feed those who are here.

This is what the new evangelization looks like. It uses a contemporary context to attract contemporary    people. It’s tempting to say that this is a new and radical approach, but the truth is that we are only          preparing to do what Jesus did, what St. Paul and his coworkers did, what St. Francis did in his time, what St. John Paul II did, and what Pope Francis is doing now.

In this modern time, we can say that St. John Paul II defined what we believe in a modern context, Pope      Benedict XVI explained why, and now Pope Francis is saying, “Now go do it.” looking, as always, at the     message of Jesus Christ, which he gave to us, but we are using different methods like the internet, social media, music, and activities, to achieve the task of making disciples. I think we are sometimes confused by the difference between the method and the message. While the message of the Gospel is the same, the method has to be different, because the times are different. This has been true from the first day of the Church, Pentecost, until now.

Lately, I have been reading the book Divine Revelation, written by a priest in Canada named Father James Mallon. His perspective is that we no longer can use the same methods to preach the Gospel that his parents and grandparents were accustomed to using. The new growth in his parish is      directly linked to inviting people into a new way of entering into a relationship with Jesus Christ. We are    using one modern method here at MQOA in the Alpha program. After Alpha, people are directed to prayer groups, ministries of service, or other ways of serving in the parish. In the future we will be adding more methods and programs like Alpha that we hope will appeal to people of all ages and stages of faith.

I love the saying, “Better to light one candle than curse the darkness.” I think it applies to our present        situation, locally and as a Church in crisis. On Holy Saturday every year, we light the Easter candle in       darkness and then proclaim, as the candle diminishes the darkness, “Christ our light!” We are called to bring the light of Christ to the darkness, and I hope that every step we take in the future helps us to achieve the goal, to make disciples who make disciples and diminish the darkness. I hope that as a Church, we can continue to bring the light of faith to the people of Salem. I ask that each of us reflect on what and how we have advanced in faith and service, and seeing the gaps, begin to ask God to help us move forward, to light more candles, and to never be afraid as we do this.

Peace,  Father Murray

If you are a volunteer and have not taken the Protecting God’s Children course, please contact Charlene Carrier at  Ste. Anne  Parish (978) 745-8915 to arrange to take the training.

See page 5 of this bulletin to learn how to do this year’s CORI .


Esta semana comenzamos a contar los últimos días del año litúrgico. Estamos bendecidos en nuestra parroquia por la cantidad de cosas positivas que han sucedido en este último año. Me complace el crecimiento en el número de personas que han comenzado a dar un paso adelante para servir de diferentes maneras. Podemos ver un pequeño, pero constante, aumento en el crecimiento en algunas áreas. Mirando hacia atrás en el año, podemos ver evidencia de que seguimos pensando en las mejores maneras de convertirnos en una parroquia viva y activa.

Quiero darles a conocer lo que estoy pensando constantemente sobre la parroquia y la dirección en la que debemos ir para seguir creciendo. He escuchado a todos. He escuchado muchas voces y opiniones diferentes. Creo que es importante recordar una cosa, que no podremos volver a lo que teníamos antes, es decir, a una iglesia que parece que estuviéramos en los años cincuenta o sesenta. La verdad es que estamos enfrentando momentos trascendentales de crisis y agitación y, al mismo tiempo, estamos siendo llamados a un futuro que no es el nuestro. Si bien es posible que queramos dejar a nuestros jóvenes una iglesia como la que recordamos, es más importante que les dejemos una iglesia a la que puedan llegar, que se sientan bienvenidos a pesar de estar ausentes por un período de tiempo, y una iglesia que pueda responder a sus necesidades espirituales mientras continúa alimentando a los que ya están aquí. Así es como se ve la nueva evangelización. Utiliza un contexto contemporáneo para atraer gente contemporánea. Quiero decir que este es un enfoque nuevo y radical, pero la verdad es que solo nos estamos preparando para hacer lo que Jesús hizo, lo que hicieron San Pablo y sus colaboradores, San Francisco en su época, San Juan Pablo II, y ahora el Papa Francisco.

Quiero reiterar que en este tiempo moderno, podemos decir que San Juan Pablo definió lo que creemos en un contexto moderno, el Papa Benedicto XVI explicó por qué y el Papa Francisco está diciendo: “Ahora, hazlo”. Significa que estamos viendo el mismo mensaje de Jesucristo, el mismo que siempre nos dio, pero usando diferentes métodos como internet, redes sociales, etc., música y actividades para lograr la tarea de hacer discípulos. Como otros, creo que a veces estamos confundidos por la diferencia entre el método y el mensaje. El mensaje del Evangelio es el mismo, el método, tiene que ser diferente, porque los tiempos son diferentes. Esto sucedió desde el primer día de la iglesia, Pentecostés, hasta ahora.

Últimamente, he estado leyendo un libro titulado “Renovación Divina”. Es un libro escrito por un sacerdote de Canadá llamado Padre James Mallon. Su perspectiva es que ya no podemos usar los mismos métodos que nuestros padres y abuelos estaban acostumbrados a usar para predicar el Evangelio. El nuevo crecimiento en una parroquia está directamente relacionado con invitar a las personas a una nueva forma de entrar en una relación con Jesucristo. Estamos usando un método moderno aquí en el programa Alpha. Luego, las personas son dirigidas a grupos de oración, ministerios de servicio u otras formas de servir en la parroquia. En breve, usaremos algunas de esas técnicas que esperamos que apunten a un enfoque más joven y centrado en el milenio. Me encanta el dicho: “Más vale encender una vela que maldecir la oscuridad”. Creo que se aplica a nuestra situación actual, localmente y como una iglesia en crisis. El Sábado Santo, todos los años, encendemos la vela de Pascua en la oscuridad y luego proclamamos, a medida que la vela disminuye la oscuridad, “Cristo nuestra luz”. Estamos llamados a llevar la luz de Cristo a la oscuridad, y espero que cada paso que demos hacia eso en el futuro nos ayude a alcanzar la meta, a hacer discípulos que hagan discípulos y disminuyan la oscuridad del pasado. Espero que como iglesia podamos continuar trayendo la luz de la fe a la gente de Salem. Pido que cada uno de nosotros reflexione sobre qué y cómo hemos avanzado en la fe y el servicio y al ver las brechas, comencemos a pedirle a Dios que nos ayude a avanzar, a encender más velas y a nunca tener miedo al hacerlo.

Paz,  Padre Murray



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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