August 6, 2020
The New Parish Name: St. Martin de Porres Parish
Blessings to everyone:
Cardinal Sean has chosen St. Martin de Porres as the new name of our parish, effective, August 6, the Feast of the Transfiguration. The top three choices received over 300 votes and were all within 10 points of one another: St. Martin de Porres, Pope John Paul II, St. Michael the Archangel. THANKS for your prayer and selections. We are pleased that he has chosen St. Martin de Porres (pores, one syllable, not 2). In a time of pandemic, we honor St. Martin, who is Patron of public health workers; in a time of intrinsic racial awareness; in a time of economic uncertainly for so many, St. Martin was in poverty his whole life. St. Martin was a voice of faith, humility, unity, equality and charity. He is the saint of our time and we get to honor him.
We have put together a short biography of St. Martin de Porres below. We know you will be very impressed with the life in which he endured and excelled. Simple, quiet yet making an incredible impression and witness to his faith. He is an example to us all.
St. Martin de Porres, pray for us – our parish, our families, our country!
Juan Martin de Porres Velázquez, O.P., was a Peruvianlay brother of the Dominican Order who was beatified in 1837 by Pope Gregory XVI and canonized in 1962 by Pope John XXIII. He is the patron saint of mixed-race people, barbers, innkeepers, public health workers, and all those seeking racial harmony. He was noted for his work on behalf of the poor, establishing an orphanage and a children's hospital. He maintained an austere lifestyle, including fasting and abstaining from meat.
He was born in the city of Lima, Viceroyalty of Peru, on 9 December 1579. He was the illegitimate son of a Spanish nobleman, Don Juan de Porres, and Ana Velázquez, a freed slave from African-Native American descent. He had a sister named Juana de Porres, born two years later in 1581. After the birth of his sister, the father abandoned the family. Ana Velázquez supported her children by taking in laundry. He grew up in poverty and, when his mother could not support him, Martin was sent to a primary school for two years, and then placed with a barber/surgeon to learn the medical arts. He spent hours of the night in prayer, a practice which increased as he grew older.
Under Peruvian law, descendants of Africans and Native Americans were barred from becoming full members of religious orders. The only route open to Martin was to ask kids in Lima to accept him as a donado, a volunteer who performed menial tasks in the monastery in return for the privilege of wearing the habit and living with the religious community. At the age of 15 he asked for admission to the Dominican Convent of the Rosary in Lima and was received first as a servant boy, and as his duties grew he was promoted to almoner (an official distributor of alms).
After eight years at Holy Rosary, the prior Juan de Lorenzana decided to turn a blind eye to the law and permit Martin to take his vows as a member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic. Holy Rosary was home to 300 men, not all of whom accepted the decision of De Lorenzana: one of the novices called Martin a "mulatto dog", while one of the priests mocked him for being illegitimate and descended from slaves.
When Martin was 24, he was allowed to profess religious vows as a Dominican lay brother in 1603. When Martin was 34, after he had been given the religious habit of a lay brother, he was assigned to the infirmary, where he was placed in charge and would remain in service until his death at the age of 59. He was known for his care of the sick. It was not long before miracles were attributed to him. Martin also cared for the sick outside his convent, often bringing them healing with only a simple glass of water. He ministered without distinction to Spanish nobles and to slaves recently brought from Africa. One day an aged beggar, covered with ulcers and almost naked, stretched out his hand, and Martin took him to his own bed. One of his brethren reproved him. Martin replied: "Compassion, my dear Brother, is preferable to cleanliness."
When an epidemic struck Lima, there were in this single Convent of the Rosary 60 friars who were sick, many of them novices in a distant and locked section of the convent, separated from the professed. Martin is said to have passed through the locked doors to care for them, a phenomenon which was reported in the residence more than once. The professed, too, saw him suddenly beside them without the doors having been opened. Martin continued to transport the sick to the convent until the provincial superior, alarmed by the contagion threatening the friars, forbade him to continue to do so.
Pope Gregory XVI beatified Martin de Porres on 29 October 1837, and nearly 125 years later, Pope John XXIII canonized him in Rome on 6 May 1962. He is the patron saint of people of mixed race, and of innkeepers, barbers, public health workers and more, with a feast day on November 3, also commemorated in the Calendar of Saints of the Church of England.
Martin de Porres is often depicted as a young mixed-race friar wearing the old habit of the Dominican lay brother, a lack scapular and capuce, along with a broom, since he considered all work to be sacred no matter how menial. He is sometimes shown with a dog, a cat and a mouse eating in peace from the same dish.
The appeal of St. Martin de Porres is universal. Called an apostle of charity; patron of social justice; father of the sick and the poor; wonder worker of Peru; and helper in hopeless cases, he is powerful intercessor to those in need.
In 1962, His Holiness, Pope John XXIII presented him to the world as the Saint of Universal Brotherhood. Holy Mother Church celebrates the feast of St. Martin de Porres on November 3. He is the first person of color to be canonized in the Western Hemisphere.
St. Martin de Porres National Shrine & Institute is located at historic Saint Peter Catholic Church in downtown Memphis, TN,at the corner of B.B. King Blvd. and Adams Avenue. It is directly across the street from the Shelby County Courthouse.
Prayer to Martin de Porres
Lift up our Hearts
To you Saint Martin de Porres
we prayerfully lift up our hearts filled with serene confidence and devotion. Mindful of your unbounded and helpful charity to all levels of society and also of your meekness and humility of heart, we offer our petitions to you.
Pour out upon our families the precious gifts of your solicitous and generous intercession; show to the people of every race and every colour the paths of unity and of justice; implore from our Father in heaven the coming of His kingdom, so that through mutual benevolence in God men may increase the fruits of grace and merit the rewards of eternal life. Amen.
Most humble Martin de Porres, whose burning charity embraced not only thy needy brethren but also the very animals of the field, splendid example of charity, we hail and invoke thee.
From that high throne which thou dost occupy, deign to listen to the supplications of thy needy brethren that, by imitating thy virtues, we may live contented in that state in which God has placed us, and, carrying our cross with strength and courage, we may follow in the footsteps of our Blessed Redeemer and His most afflicted Mother, to reach at last the Kingdom of Heaven through the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
God, Who has given us in Thy Humble Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the model of all virtue and perfection, grant to us the virtue of humility. We think so little of Thee because we are so full of self. We cannot love Thee more until humility shows us our own nothingness and makes us rejoice in our complete dependence upon Thee.
You have given to the world a glorious apostle of humility, St Martin de Porres. Guide us by his example and strengthen us through his intercessions in our efforts to conform our hearts to the humble Heart of Thy Crucified Son.
Renew, O Lord, in these days, when pride and forgetfulness of Thee are so widespread, the wonders which You performed through Thy humble servant, Martin de Porres, during his lifetime. We pray that all the world may know of St Martin and of the surpassing value of the virtue of humility. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
through mutual benevolence in God, men may increase the fruits of grace and merit the rewards of eternal life. Amen.
June 26, 2020
An Important Message Regarding the Merger, the Name, and Moving Forward
First, of all, my gratitude goes out to all those who are volunteering at the weekend masses. We couldn’t have the Mass without those who are giving of their time and effort to greet, register, usher and clean after Mass. We continue to need more volunteers so more than a few people end up doing all the work. Please call the office and volunteer for one of the masses. Thank you.
As of the end of this month, I will be off Health Leave and back as Pastor - officially. It has been quite a ride, but with a clean bill of health from my doctors and feeling well, I look forward being back to full ministry. Thanks for all your prayers and concern. It helped a lot.
THE MERGER. Our previous communication to you outlined the background and reason for the decision to merge the two parishes. Above all, beyond the financial challenge, a merger is one more step to maintain a Roman Catholic presence in these neighborhoods. On June 11, after several meetings with the Parish Leadership and receiving their consensus, we presented the proposal for the merger of St. Ann and St. Brendan Parishes to the Priest’s Council. After our presentation, there was nearly unanimous support expressed by the Council approving the merger. From that meeting, the proposal went to the Cardinal for his decision.
The Cardinal has approved the merger, effective July 1, 2020.
On that day, the two parishes will end, and one new parish will be established with two worship sites and campuses. All the assets and liabilities of the former parishes will be under one parish. With the Cardinal’s approval, we move forward. It is a daunting but exciting opportunity. With that change comes some important tasks:
THE NAME. The first task is to choose a new name for the new parish. Please note that canonically a church cannot lose its name, so both St. Ann Church and St. Brendan Church remain. It has proven problematic simply to have a hyphenated name (St. Ann/St. Brendan Parish). So, we are asking everyone to think, research, and propose a new name for this parish in this neighborhood. Until July 15, we will accept possible names. When submitting a name, two things are important: (1) give the name and (2) offer a reason for the name. You might think only in terms of a “saint’s name” but there are many other possibilities (Holy Trinity, Incarnation, Holy Family, Gate of Heaven are parishes around the Archdiocese). You may want to review some of the newly named saints (by googling) and be the first parish to honor them. The key is the reason why! We look forward to your submissions. Please submit names to the Office or Fr. Brian (firstname.lastname@example.org) before July 15. We will publicize the submissions through Flock Notes and Constant Contact (not a mailing) and ask for your response. The top three will be submitted to the Cardinal for his decision. Have a good time talking about this and deciding.
MOVING FORWARD. We want to move forward as a new parish in a proactive way. At our last Leadership meeting, four subcommittees were formed to address some important issues. A chairperson has been chosen, and we want to expand our committees with your help and interest. We are asking you to contact a committee chair and join. Your participation would be wonderful. Here are the four committees:
Mission Statement: What are we about? What is our purpose? What do we hope to achieve?
Chair: Christine McLaughlin email@example.com
Goals: What do we do and how do we do it? Three “non-financial” goals will be set for the coming year.
Chair: Stefanie O’Shea Stefanie.Oshea@gmail.com
Financial/Facilities/Feasibility Looking at both campuses, the six buildings, what is the best use, repurpose or disposal of these assets for the greater mission and goals of the new parish?
Chair: Michael Ryan firstname.lastname@example.org
Communication and Outreach: How can we best inform and form the people of the parish? What new and creative ways can we outreach, inform and encourage people to participate? We could use some people very familiar with social media to enhance our effort.
Chair: Liz Angell email@example.com
As we journey through the pandemic and the various phases, we want our new parish to breathe life into the community. We will need both the financial support and volunteer support of everyone. We can’t do it without you. Newness brings challenges but it also brings hope, excitement and a time to work together for the increased faith of all. I encourage you to join us. May God bless you and your family and our new parish family.
A Lengthy but Important Letter on A Major Decision on The Future of St. Ann And St. Brendan Parishes.
May 10, 2020
To: Members of St. Ann and St. Brendan Parishes
From: Fr. Brian Clary, Pastor and Fr. Bob Connors, Temporary Administrator
FROM FATHER BRIAN
First, I want to thank everyone who has offered their prayers during my stem cell transplant. I felt them
very much and they helped me in many moments during the past few months. I am on my way to stable
health and hope to return to the rectory within the coming weeks. It has been quite a “trip” not only
enduring the treatment itself which had many up and down days, but also dealing with the on-going
course of the pandemic. It’s hard enough to “feel” separated from you; and worse, to “be” separated from
you. Again, my heartfelt gratitude. God willing, I will be back working in a few weeks.
I want to acknowledge the “journey” we are going through, not only as families, workers, neighbors, but
also as a faith community. Who could have ever imagined this experience? It has been a heavy burden
for you and all priests who miss serving you. Our ministry is who we are. At the same time, trying to
keep in contact through the Flock Notes, etc., I hope has offered some connection. My prayers are for
everyone who is suffering because of the virus, especially for your family members and friends who have
contracted the disease. I pray for relief for those suffering mentally, physically, spiritually and financially.
FROM FATHER BOB
With the pandemic arriving, the task as Administrator, added to my other ministry, was a less time-
consuming, but I am glad to do it. I want to thank the staff, the Leadership and the people of both parishes
for their prayers – for me, and especially for Fr. Brian. These are very difficult times to journey through
and praying with/for each other is important. It is a time of openness and trust in the Holy Spirit. I hope
you and your families are doing well. I know you look forward to Fr. Brian’s return, but even in his
absence, critical issues arise and must be addressed with urgency. We are fragile and have no choice.
* * * * * * *
This letter is to inform you that we are in a high-risk financial situation threatening our
sustainability and causing us to make a difficult decision regarding the relationship between the
two parishes – the same challenge being faced by many parishes in the Archdiocese. With the
consultation and consensus of the Leadership, we are asking the Cardinal to merge St. Ann and St.
Brendan Parishes into one new parish retaining the two worship sites. For the future of the
Catholic presence in the area this action must be taken. We thank the Leadership for their
prayerful, thoughtful and clear advice in this matter. It is no surprise we are struggling just as many
of you are struggling. The goal is to retain the Catholic presence in our neighborhoods. Let’s review our
ministry with you for the past two years, so you can appreciate coming to this decision.
Two years ago, the Archdiocesan concluded that neither parish could survive financially—the debt being
incurred was overwhelming. Almost $300K was borrowed from the Archdiocese to meet operating
expenses, just to keep going; the situation was dire. Both parishes were facing diminishing cash on hand
and the Archdiocese might have to come in and close both—which no one wanted. Rather than enact that
painful decision, acknowledging the frequent change of pastoral leadership, knowing the painful past
experiences of both parishes, and not wanting to lose the Catholic presence in this area, the Archdiocese
assigned two “well-seasoned” priests as co-pastors to observe, judge and act - to try their best to revitalize
the parishes. One last try. That decision was made “for” you. We were not sent here to close the
parishes, but just the opposite, to do what we could do to keep that presence. Finances were strained;
repairs increasing; most of all, participation was dropping.
We carry an insurmountable debt of $900K+ ($300K+ at St. Ann; $600K+ at St. Brendan with the
school). [Note: the loans come from funds deposited by other parishes. We owe, not the “Archdiocese”,
but our sister parishes. We used their money to keep operating.] More distressing, we cannot address the
huge deferred maintenance as the buildings continue to deteriorate at an alarming rate, raising some safety
concerns. With little cash reserves, no more loans from the Archdiocese and the unknown consequences
of the virus, we need to work together for the Church community, assess future property use and act in the
interest of the parishioners. We all know our financial situation was tentative. We feared that a major
unforeseen expense would be a problem. Who would have ever expected that a pandemic would force us
to this hard decision?
Honestly, at the beginning of this year, even before the virus, after significant efforts, exhausting ideas on
many fronts from incredibly passionate and dedicated people - we were in a more fragile position than we
were two years ago. Above all, the decreased attendance, coupled with a strained cash flow - even using
half of an additional $200K line-of-credit (we spent only $50K/each thanks to the extra $100K raised by
the Gala) - hampered efforts at outreach and the ability to do any repairs. Due to the virus consequences,
the Archdiocese is now incapable of providing any more money and has canceled the remaining $100K.
[On a good note, we received the SBA/PPP loans to cover all payroll for two months.] Still, the national
trend is foreboding. Every social survey confirms a continued drop in religious affiliation and active
participation. Those predictions describe us – parishes with fewer younger people.
Last Fall, Fr. Brian proposed to your leadership that it was time to consider consolidating both parishes
into one. Then, his sickness prevented further detailed discussion. Now, because of the virus, our
situation is critical because of three realities: First, as noted above, prior to the virus, decreasing
attendance and income has flattened or lowered. Second, the buildings are in serious disrepair. Third, we
have a challenging high debt. In the wake of the pandemic, all forecasts predict a very slow phased-in
recovery. We are not alone. Over half the parishes in the Archdiocese expect to face a crisis both in
returning attendance and financial solvency. We need to prepare for the future.
A merger allows us a consolidation of effort, combining all the assets and liabilities of both parishes, and
the ability to work together to build the local church. Note that both worship sites remain – in fact, both
church names remain. The merger will mean a new “parish” name (to be determined). This hard decision
is also based on a “Long-term Feasibility Study” done for us by the Archdiocese addressing all areas of
collaboration with the conclusion that closing a campus had to be considered. The Leadership disagreed
with the conclusion and stressed a merger must keep the two worship sites. With dwindling cash flow,
attendance numbers uncertain; going forward, a merger provides hope to sustain a Catholic presence.
These past two years, to meet our needs, so many have worked beyond what anyone could expect. Your
Leadership has met for over thirty times. We held four open meetings to update you, had constant
discussions – with agreement and disagreement – and above all, were willing to accept the ideas which
surfaced in almost every case. Trying to get people back to church, raising money, esp. with the Gala, was
persistent. One effort/idea came after another. No one should feel bad about the efforts. They were
wonderful. But apart from a spike here and there (the curve if you will), the energy and effort in both
parishes has been carried on by a small group of people who have worked hard; yet, factually, we have
about the same average attendance but less income now than we did two years ago.
We are aware there will be negative reactions to this change. We know the emotional depth of both
communities for their parish. We fully appreciate that merging is difficult to accept. Above all, we are
very sorry to bring this matter to you during the COVID-19 crisis. It is not the best time, but we have no
choice. Time is running out. It’s projected each parish will lose $7K-$8K a month and could run out of
savings within a year or so. We need to prepare for where we expect to be a year and a half from now,
because the deficit in finances and the deterioration of buildings continues. Asking the Cardinal to
approve a merger is moving forward in a positive and proactive way.
We brought this decision to your Leadership and proposed we act decisively: First, to ask the Cardinal to
merge the two parishes into one parish. [Note: this is critical for the school. If an “independent” St.
Brendan Parish closes, then the parish school closes. If the parishes merge, the new parish assumes the
responsibility for the school.] Second, there will be a time-sensitive urgency to engage in serious
discussions leading to informed decisions regarding pastoral care, staffing, sale/lease of buildings and
finances, the result of which will mean significant changes as our new parish grows. One praying
community – with two sites - together - can support and nourish an active faith life for everyone.
We have worked well with your volunteer Leadership for over two years. They know the facts;
they are well informed; they understand the consequences. We accept their unanimous consensus
that a merger take place with the following understanding: (1) they strongly support maintaining
two worship sites; (2) St. Brendan's school remains open as long as it is financially viable (see
above - a merger is a safeguard!); (3) The new parish can sell properties to address the debt
and deferred maintenance. They agree that the financial problem is our costs are projected
to exceed our revenues for an extended period because of the pandemic and that there are
insufficient reserves to allow us to ride out the crisis. The merger only allows the two
parishes to access each other's current bank accounts and does nothing to address a
negative revenue problem, nor the decreasing attendance. But, in working together, a
merger gives us promise. To assure a Catholic presence remains, we can do more together
than separate. It is a challenge and they are accepting the challenge to address the high-risk
realities that face us after the merger takes place. They are a faithful, hopeful group working to
represent you – and they do it well. Their emails are listed on the next page for your response. We
are grateful for their willing to risk with courage and determination, and trust in the Lord.
A parish is not its buildings, nor its bank accounts - it is the people of God. It is about growing in faith.
Yes, money is a problem; it is not the solution nor our goal – an active Catholic presence IS our goal!
We hope this merger will be approved by the end of June so that we can work this summer on solutions
moving forward. We will keep you informed. Also, we apologize, but know that this less-than-ideal
method of communicating such a major change was not our preference, but with the shutdown and an
unpredictable future, it is necessary. We can’t wait! Time eats away at our resources. We ask you to trust
in the Lord who is with us always. Easter Jesus is our Hope! The Holy Spirit is our Guide! May God
continue to be with you and your family during this viral crisis.
Thank you for listening. Peace.
Fr. Brian Clary, Pastor Fr. Bob Connors, Temporary Administrator
Christine McLaughlin (SB PPC)
Tom Tobin (SB PPC)
Mary Lou O’Connor (SA FinCom)
Michael Ryan (SB FinCom)
Michael Flynn (SA PPC)
Larry Feeney (SB FinCom)
Mark Hegarty (SA PPC)
Ann Grigas (SB FinCom)
Bill Sansone (SB PPC)
Liz Angell (SA PPC)
Stefanie O’Shea (SA PPC)
Tina Higgins (SA FinCom)
Jim Hunt (SA FinCom)
January 17, 2020
A Note From Fr Brian
From Fr Brian I will be on health leave from the parishes beginning January 24 for medical treatment at Beth Israel Hospital. I have been diagnosed with a bone marrow disease called amyloidosis which causes proteins to settle in areas of the body which left untreated could lead to organ damage and failure. My team of doctors has recommended an autologous stem cell transplant along with chemotherapy which I have agreed to. The transplant will take place on January 28 and then I will remain under their care for about two weeks followed by rest and rehabilitation at my family home in Quincy. There is no definitive time frame but my intention is to remain as pastor and return to the collaborative once cleared by the doctors. Father Bob Connors has graciously offered to coordinate coverage and operations of the parishes during this time. I am grateful for his friendship and support during this challenging time in my life. Please pray for me and those who will be caring for me in the coming weeks.
August 11, 2019
A Note From Fr Brian
As I announced at the weekend Masses Cardinal Sean has appointed me to be Pastor of the Collaborative of Saint Ann and Saint Brendan after having served in Team Ministry with Father Bob. As Father Bob assumes new responsibilities in the Archdiocese as Episcopal Vicar for the South Region and Delegate to Senior Priests we are grateful for his dedication and service to the parishes. I am blessed to have him as a friend, brother priest and resident in the rectory for our own mutual fraternity and support. Pray for me as I continue to work with you, staff, leadership and parishioners, as
we best serve the ever changing Catholic community in Dorchester.
August 11, 2019
A Note from Fr Bob
AU REVOIR but not GOODBYE.
With my vacation beginning Tuesday after the TV Mass, this weekend will effectively end my assignment as a Team Member with Fr. Brian at St. Ann and St. Brendan Parishes. (Officially, it is September 3 when the Team ends, Fr. Brian becomes Pastor, and I become Episcopal Vicar for the South Region.). As I noted in my announcement a few weeks ago, I want to reiterate my gratitude to Fr. Brian, the Leadership Team and all the parishioners of the two parishes. Although I will be living at St. Ann's, my place of work will be Braintree and the 58 parishes of the South Region. I know that at some point I will be helping out Fr. Brian, but for now, I leave you with gratitude for your welcome and support and sending God's blessings upon us all as we journey forward. May the Holy Spirit guide and grace us all.
Fr. Bob Connors
June 16, 2019
OPEN MEETING MINUTES
Basic Presentation by priests and comments
FROM THE PRIESTS
Agenda: Offering an accountability of our ministry for the past year:
(1) what has happened; (2) where we are; (3) the future for the Catholic presence in this area.
(1) REVIEWED WHAT HAS HAPPENED – A quick summary in 25 points!
A QUICK SUMMARY OF FINANCES. Due to good winter, better fiscal responsibility and less spending plus a modest increase in Offertory collections, a regular Second Collections, plus the Gala distribution ($44K each), we are in a positive cash flow at the moment. Still, we have prepared a deficit budget for the coming fiscal year. We are not close to the goals we set last year but will continue to address and face these issues.
(2) WHERE WE ARE -EVANGELIZATION EFFORTS –
We want to give credit to the people who have helped. We are keenly aware that many of the activities were planned and executed by the same people.
- Open Mass at park – 450 – great success!
- Faith Formation at both parishes, combined programs offered, mass attendance (14) required for Grades 1,2,7,8,9.
-Thanks to Paula, Linda and their staff of volunteers! Thanks for Noreen Kelly and her friends for the Sunday Family Mass preparation and collation.
- Increased Communication through letters, email, Flock Notes, etc. Increased transparency
- 12-hour fast for prayer for victims of Clergy Abuse
- Improved Liturgical Actions
- Eliminating Vigil 5pm Mass improved combined choir and offered possibility of evening weddings
- Children’s Choir reinstated
- Many “focused” family masses with blessings offered.
- Family-oriented Mass twice a month, addressing children directly
- Liturgy Learning offered by Fr. Bob
- Increased Liturgical Ministers, including a Ministers evening of prayer
- Servers increased as well as Lectors
- Music provided at all liturgies
- Elimination of the 11:30 SB Mass due to very low numbers (31)
- Adult Confirmation Program
- Special Lunch/Learning w/ Fr. Bob during Lent on Senior Spirituality
- Well planned Holy Week Services
- Lenten Programs and RCIA begun for next year’s Easter
- First Communions and May Procession and Crowning of Mary
- Continued outreach to Bostonian and Keystone with service and liturgy
- Free book given at all Christmas Masses about holiness
- Outreach to most of the local events. Showing up showing support.
- Great time at St. Ann 10K dinner
- Many efforts to encourage return to church: door-to-door, banners, flyers, lawn signs
- Letters of invitation, letter of financial accountability at Grand Annual time.
- Several emergency repairs – sink hole at SB, falling concrete front at SA. Thankful for some gifts given.
(3) OUR OBSERVATION AND JUDGEMENT
We believe that after a year, of observation, involvement, listening and many Leadership meetings, as well as four Open Meetings, we have reached a plateau of attendance and income over the past six months. Attendance is relatively the same as last June; Income, up, thanks to online giving, but leveled off as well. In fact, both attendance and income have decreased. In the past five weekends, less than 500 people have attended the four masses offered. (less than 250 at each church). We need to accept the fact that throughout the country and esp. in the Northeast, all organized religions are losing participants and income, and that is true for the parishes of the Archdioceses. There are some pockets of growth and success, but overall, it is a fact that decreases are more probable in the future than increases. This is not pessimism… but fact!
We are at a point where we must decide how to face the future. Can both parishes exist as they have been, struggling to get by ? Yes, for a while. But, it is day-to-day, hand-to-mouth operation and will not address the continued deterioration of the buildings with no money to care for them. But buildings and finances are not the priority.
**Our PRIMARY concern is people!!!
-The vast majority of mass attenders are over 60 – probably not future volunteers. (they did their work! We thank you!)
-The average number attending each church weekly over the past year is 300/325. (Less now)
-Income has leveled off. Consistent money comes in through online giving but is not complemented by going to church. -Without increased younger people, who will volunteer? Too often, we see the same few people doing all the work. We appreciate their incredible effort, but they can’t do it all, all the time. As noted above, we thank them profusely for their work.
TWO GENERAL OPTIONS with specifics to be determined seem feasible:
(1) Priest maintains the parishes, providing “service” as needed without any other issues or change being directly addressed, esp. long term; Priest takes care of immediate needs, (mass, sacraments, sick calls). [By the way, this is true for many of our parishes – it is the honest reality.] This choice would last until a major building problem can’t be repaired. Then, it will be too late to plan, prepare for future—but it is more about active members!
(2) Commitment to address the long-term presence of the Catholic Church in this area. Helping one another (through the deep emotion) to understand the reality and make a difficult, direct decision, together, to assure a vibrant and effective Catholic presence in this area. Yes, it may take sacrifice, but we will prepare it for future generations.
Re: Schools: both priests maintain a relationship with PJPII Academy;
Re: SB School. We see no reason for SB School to not continue in the foreseeable future. It is paying its bills, is doing a great job of education. Very well supported by the school families.
Pastorally, it is well known that Fr. Brian will be alone as Pastor come January 1. Fr. Bob will become a Senior Priest and leaving the parishes. That will mean some changes necessary for his ministry and well-being. No other priest will be assigned.
Our Approach is to continue to ask this question: How will the Church best serve the people in this area in the next 10 years? How will with Church best maintain a presence in this area? We can maintain the status quo (option 1) or courageously move forward (Option 2). ALWAYS trusting in the Holy Spirit and our trust in one another to do what we know is best.
Finally, we hope we have ministered to you well over the past year. We never came to close a parish and we never came to maintain the status quo. Our purpose here is to minister so that it builds your relationship to Jesus Christ. We will continue to do so – That is the accountability question isn’t it? We have led you for a year. Has your spiritual life, your relationship to Jesus changed at all? If not, have we been successful pastors or just maintenance men? A great reflection for us all . Have we succeeded or failed you?
In conclusion, THANK YOU. We have not regretted coming to Dorchester. Yes, it is a great challenge and we want the best for the future. Thank you for the support that you have given us. We are grateful and ask God’s blessings on you and your families
-Using “plateau” seems negative. Focus on the positive. (note: for the last 5 weeks attendance is below the plateau of a few months ago. Facing the facts is not easy….but you deserve to know the facts.)
-Increase 2nd Collections for specific issues, like maintenance. (We have a 2nd collection from Diocese or for Parishes every week now, and will re-evaluate that practice in the Fall.)
-Do we have a Mission Statement? (No, due to postponing the Pastoral Planning for the Collaborative a few years ago.)
-Do we have a Maintenance Plan? (No, we are just about able to address emergencies)
-Could we think about a Capital Campaign? (It can be on agenda for FinCom)
-It would be good if there could be greater connection of school parents and the SB parish. (Focus on school not parish has been a reality for years!)
-Suggest demolishing both convent and Gallivan Blvd house to relieve us of that financial burden.
-Should be more news about Academy as there is for St. Brendan School (Academy is not part of St. Ann Parish. They do submit bulletin announcements.)
-Could children at St Brendan go to mass more often than once a week?
We ended with prayer, thanked all for coming and will now meet with Leadership this Monday night to look to what is next.
Opening meeting letter
May 28, 2019
ST. ANN / ST. BRENDAN PARISH COLLABORATIVE
15 Rita Road ∙ Dorchester, Massachusetts 02124-5321
617.436.0310 Fax 617.436.1386
Joint Parish Open Meeting
Monday, June 10, 2019 – 7:00pm – 8:30pm
at St. Brendan Church
It has been over a year since we joined your parishes and time has flown by. Overall, we are
pleased with the relationship we have with so many. It has been a year of good collaboration and
great challenge (we never thought it would be easy). At this Open Meeting, we would like to offer
you a review of the past year, where we are now, and a prognosis for the future. We invite you to
attend this meeting and to offer your helpful suggestions and insights. Just a reminder of our
guidelines to hear your constructive ideas moving us forward not looking back.
As you know, last June, at the beginning of over 20+ meetings, the Leadership of the two parishes
(Parish Council and Finance Committees) suggested setting up five “benchmarks” to help us
evaluate our vision and progress. Despite some initial impressions (and still continuing) that we
had come to “close the parishes,” we stressed that the Archdiocese wanted to give the parishes a
strong leader support in order to address some significant issues including decreased participation
and income, financial crisis, significant loans and deteriorating buildings. These facts were
difficult to accept but were realities we faced head on as the two of us willingly accepted the
pastoral leadership of the collaboration.
Our primary goal has always been to observe, judge and act on behalf of the Catholic community
in this area. How will the Church best minister to the Roman Catholic community in these sections
of Dorchester - effectively now and especially in the future? As you know, Fr. Bob will become
a Senior Priest at the end of December and Fr. Brian will assume the pastoral leadership of the
parishes. With that reality fast approaching, we must work together for an effective, honest
pastoral plan – decisions that will aide Fr. Brian who will be leading alone.
As we will report, you should be very proud of the efforts made by the Leadership and other
parishioners from both parishes to address the issues with personal effort, creative ideas, valiant
outreach to the community and enhancing the liturgical and sacramental life of the parishes. We
appreciate the ongoing input from those who are with us regularly and supportive by their presence
and activity in the collaborative parishes.
This review and evaluation meeting will offer you an accountability of our ministry over the past
year. We will share our honest perspective based on the “facts” and “data” of what has happened.
Given those facts, we hope that you can help us to choose wisely our path going forward. For that
discernment and those decisions, we trust the Holy Spirit to guide us.
Please join us at St. Brendan Church on June 10 at 7pm. As always, thank you for your support
and prayers. Our prayer is always for you and your families.
Fr. Brian Clary Fr Bob Connors
May 17, 2019
OPEN MEETING AND UPDATE. We realized it has been some time since our last open meeting so we have set Monday, June 10th at 7pm at St. Brendan Church, as the time and place of our next Open Meeting. Fr. Brian and Fr. Bob will give a review of the past year, an evaluation of the present, and a perspective on the future of the two parishes. Our presentation will be followed, as always, with comments and concerns you may want to express. As noted in our last meeting, the only guideline to discussion will be constructive ideas and comments.
BLESSING OF BASEBALL/SOFTBALL PLAYERS
With the season well underway, we are planning on having a blessing of all baseball/softball players/teams on Saturday, June 2, at the 4:00pm Mass at St. Brendan. THIS WILL BE A JOINT PARISH BLESSING BECAUSE JUNE 3 IS DOT DAY. We invite all players to come in their uniforms to the 4pm and receive a special blessing. Again, this invitation is for BOTH PARISHES. May you all have a great season.
FAMILY LITURGY ENDS JUNE 16. We will suspend the children focus on Father's Day for the summer, resuming in September.
MOVING DOWNSTAIRS FOR THE SUMMER
We will begin our summer liturgies downstairs in the A/C of St. Brendan and St. Ann on weekend of June 22/23 until the end of September.
April 5, 2019
EXPLORING LEASING OF VACANT PROPERTY
Encouraged by the Archdiocese and affirmed by the Leadership, soon we will be putting the St. Ann Convent and the St.
Brendan Gallivan Blvd. house out to the market to ascertain what type of interest there is in leasing the properties. These
are the only two being listed at present and we are under no obligation to accept a proposal, but it may give us a better
idea of their lease potential.
OPEN MEETING AND UPDATE
We realized it has been some time since our last open meeting so we have set Monday, June 10, at St. Brendan Church, as the time and place of our next Open Meeting. Fr. Brian and Fr. Bob will give a review of the past year, an evaluation of the present, and a perspective on the future of the two parishes. Our presentation will be followed, as always, with comments and concerns you may want to express. As noted in our last meeting, the only guideline to discussion will be constructive ideas and comments.
UPDATE ON CURRENT BUILDING PROBLEMS
As you know, the front façade of St. Ann, specifically the halo of one of the statues, has deteriorated and pieces of cement have fallen so we had to block off a small area. We have received a repair estimate of $9800. The contractor also included his concern that there are serious water eroding problems with the front of the church. The estimate for that repair is $32,000. We will consult with the Archdiocese on how to address the problem financially and keep you informed.
Last week a significant and deep sink hole opened up next to the foundation of St. Brendan Church. It has been filled in,
but that may be temporary and water problems seem to be escalating. The handicap ramp wall seems to be leaning in a
bit as well and the front steps are cracking and deteriorating presenting a safety issue as well.
March 31. 2019
Sorry that we have not included the Leadership notes for the past month or so. There have been only a few meetings which center on moving forward with the best way to address our financial concerns as well as how best to serve the community in the future. There is a lot of sensitivity to the past, emotions, connection and value that people have in the two parishes. We are very aware of that issue. There is also a need for a more proactive approach to our discussions so that we are planning for the future and not just focusing all our energies on preserving the past. Right now, it is clear over the past few months that we have reached a "plateau" in terms of offertory collection and participation. In fact, there has been a slight decline in both overall. So where do we go from here? We start a discussion on what is the best way to move into the future that will provide an effective, faith-filled, informed and prayerful community. There are no decisions or hidden agendas, but rather, an openness necessary to help everyone increase their relationship to the Lord in prayer and in action in our daily lives. At the present time, we are looking at the pros and cons of all options and seeing where that will take us. Keep the Leadership in your prayers.
LEADERSHIP MEMBERS NEEDED FOR ST. ANN. We have a opening in the Parish Council and in the Finance Committee for St. Ann. If you are interested in being a member and helping us to move forward (see above) please let Fr. Bob or Fr. Brian know, or call the office and leave your information and we will be in touch with you. Thanks for considering this important role and responsibility.
February 15, 2019
LENT IS COMING
March 6 is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Season of Lent and an opportunity to reflect on our rela-
tionship with the Lord, whose passion and death will be the focus of our prayer before we celebrate the most
Holy Week of our faith life – Resurrection and New Life! We hope that you will use the Season to increase
your relationship, perhaps in the three-fold suggestions of Ash Wednesday – prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
Our collaborative will also offer some help and opportunities.
ASH WEDNESDAY – Liturgy and the Distribution of Ashes.
St. Ann and St. Brendan will have a 9:00am for the School and all are invited to attend.
St. Brendan will have a Service of the Distribution of Ashes at 4:00pm.
St. Brendan will have a Mass and Distribution of Ashes at 5:30pm.
St. Ann will have a Mass and Distribution of Ashes at 7pm.
SOUP AND STATIONS. Friday evenings at St. Ann. Fr. Brian will lead this special prayer followed by a
simple meal of soup, salad and bread in the Academy. VOLUNTEER COOKS are needed. Please sign up to
bring a meatless soup and/or salad. We will provide all else. There are sign-up lists at both churches.
SENIOR ADULT FAITH FORMATION. Too often, we think that faith formation ends with Confirmation,
or worse, that it stops as we get older. NOT TRUE! On the Tuesdays of Lent starting Tuesday, March 19, at
the Office, Fr. Bob will lead a learning and discussion on growing in my faith as I grow older. We will
provide a simple sandwich meal starting at 12Noon and ending at 1:30.
RECONCILIATION AND PENANCE. We remind you that the Sacrament of Reconciliation is always
available from 3:15-3:45 before the 4pm Mass at St. Brendan. Also, call and make an appointment any time
with either of the priests.
SPECIAL EVENING OF RECONCILIATION. Monday evening, April 15, from 7pm – 8pm, we will be
available for confession.
STARTING IN LENT – MARCH 6. Just a reminder that this happens with Lent:
-Communion under both species as an option returns on March 7
-Daily Mass returns to St. Ann Church on Thursday and Fridays
-The 5pm Mass on Saturday at St. Ann ends on March 2.
February 8, 2019
COMBINING MASS ON SATURDAY EVENING. Last October, Fr. Brian and Fr. Bob asked the Leadership Team to consider eliminating the 5 o'clock Mass at St. Ann's on Saturday. The primary reason is beginning to address the fact that Fr. Brian
will be alone after December and it is impossible for one priest to celebrate WELL, liturgies that are one hour apart. ALSO, we have many wedding requests for 5:30 on Saturday, which we cannot honor under the present system. So cutting out one is necessary. Beginning to address some of the one-priest realities will continue during this year. The Leadership were asked the best way to address this issue, knowing that St. Ann community would be upset. We suggested that several parishes in the Archdiocese have compromised two churches by alternating the place each six months - 6 months at St. Brendan, 6 months at St. Ann. The consensus was that doing that would leave St. Brendan with only one mass on Sunday during that alternative time. The result was going back to simply eliminating the 5 at St. Ann. That will give two masses at SB and two masses at SA. Next was the timing. We had suggested the beginning of Advent or the end of the year, but the Leadership wanted to postpone it a bit more and get through the winter. So, we have settled on the beginning of Lent. Beginning on Saturday evening of the First Sunday in Lent, March 9, there will be no 5 o'clock Mass at St. Ann's. In the coming weeks, Fr. Brian and Fr. Bob will be sharing with the community a formed perspective on the priest in the parish and some of the concerns that all parishes are facing in the future. If you have a
mass already scheduled for 5pm, please contact Amy to reschedule. Thank you for understanding this difficult decision.
TRANSITIONING BACK. On Ash Wednesday, there will be a 9am daily Mass at each church with distribution of ashes. Daily Mass on Thursday and Friday will also return to St. Ann’s at this time.
January 25, 2019
FIRST RECONCILIATION. We want to wish God's blessings on the children who are receiving First Reconciliation this weekend at St. Ann's and next Saturday at St. Brendan. Often we miss the point of how important it is to humbly come before our God to acknowledge our sinfulness and to ask for forgiveness -- and then... to GET IT! It is the GRACE of the sacrament that has all its value. May this "first" opportunity not be the "last" for these young penitents. God bless them and we than the catechists who have taught them and the parents who have supported them.
PINK SLIP MASS ATTENDANCE EXTENSION. Given the calendar set up for the year, it has come to our attention that Grades 7,8,9 did not get their Mass Attendance Pink Slips as early as we thought. For that reason, we will extend the time for attending the 14 liturgies until the last Sunday of June. Grades 1 and 2 need to have the 14 attendance by the last Sunday of April. First Communion is the following week. Grade 2 students who have not completed the attendance will receive First Communion as soon as they do. We will work those dates out for the convenience of the family.
January 6, 2019
COLLABORATIVE NOTES WINTER'S CAUTION FOR ALL. During the winter months, we will suspend offering the cup at our liturgies with an abundance of caution during the flu season. We will resume the offering on Ash Wednesday.
SAVING ON HEAT. SAVING YOU MONEY. All of the 9:00am Daily Masses will now be at the St. Brendan Chapel eliminating heating the entire church at St. Ann's for two days, using it for less than two hours. We expect to resume Thursday and Friday daily liturgies at St. Ann's in the early Spring.
November 30, 2018
A GALA SUCCESS!!! So much gratitude must be given to Sheila McCarthy and her entire committee for a wonderful night, an incredible amount of work and a huge success. They are hopeful that the final tally will be close to $100,000. WOW!
Thanks to every sponsor, every person who bought a ticket, raffle, or helped in any way. Also, for the wonderful decorations. It was quite the night. Thanks to Mayor Walsh for his excellent auctioneer skills. God bless you all.
COMMUNICATE WITH LEADERSHIP.
Please feel comfortable to share your constructive idea with the leadership of the parishes. Below is a list of the members and their email addresses.
St. Ann’s Parish Council
Elizabeth Lee Angell
Michael Flynn Jr
St. Ann’s Finance Council
May Lou O’Connor
St. Brendan’s Parish Council
St. Brendan’s Finance Council