Category Archives: Service Commission

News from the Service Commission

Interested in Joining our St. Vincent de Paul Society? Join Us Wednesday, April 25 at 6:30pm

If you think you might be, please come to a meeting on Wednesday, April 25 at 6:30pm at the St. John’s Parish Center Boardroom! We will be discussing the possibility of forming a Saint Vincent de Paul Society here in our St. John-St. Paul Collaborative.

Maybe you’re not sure what the Saint Vincent de Paul Society does?
Briefly, the vocation of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society members is:

“…to follow Christ through service to those in need and so bear witness to His  compassionate love. No work of charity is foreign to the Society. It includes any form of help that alleviates suffering or deprivation and promotes human dignity and personal integrity in all their dimensions. The Society serves those in need regardless of creed, ethnic or social background, health, gender or political opinions. It strives to seek out and find those in need and the forgotten, the victims of exclusion or adversity. Faithful to the spirit of its founders, the Society constantly strives for renewal, adapting to changing world conditions. It seeks to be ever aware of the changes that occur in human society and the new types of poverty that may be identified or anticipated. It gives priority to the poorest of the poor and to those who are most rejected by a community.”

If you or a friend feel that you might be called to serve those in Wellesley who are in need — please come to the meeting on April 25th!!

A Collaborative Update from Fr. Jim: Where Are We Going?

March 2018

My dear friends in Christ,

Tempus fugit, so the saying goes. It is hard for me to believe that it has been nearly two years since I became pastor of the two wonderful parishes of St. Paul and St. John the Evangelist.  I am so grateful for the warm reception I have received and continue to be inspired by your faith and commitment to living out your vocations as disciples of Jesus Christ.

I’d like to take a moment to reflect on where we have been in the last year and a half and where we are going as a collaborative. A “collaborative” is a unique entity.  Our parishes remain distinct, with their own cultures, histories and traditions. The parishes also remain independent of each other financially. What do we share? Our collaborative has a shared leadership team, led by me as pastor along with Fr. Robert Blaney, our parochial vicar and a talented and dedicated group of professionals serving us in pastoral care, religious education, youth ministry, music and  administration. We are currently exploring how we can leverage the strengths of each parish to pursue ministries together.

The Collaborative Pastoral Council (CPC) is made up of five members each from our two parishes. The CPC is developing a vision of what our collaborative will look like in the coming years.  I know well from my experience in my parishes in Wayland that these things cannot be rushed.  So in this initial stage, we have sought opportunities for the people of our parishes simply to get to know each other. To that end, we have hosted two Collaborative Forums, one last June on the topic of Adult Faith Enrichment and the second last November on the subject of Christian Service. These topics were chosen because they represent natural areas for collaboration. On both occasions, we gathered close to one hundred parishioners with nearly equal representation from each parish. The excitement in the room was palpable as parishioners engaged on subjects central to the practice of our faith. They came to realize how much they have in common in their desire to live more fully their Catholic faith. Following from these experiences, we have seen a naturally evolving inter-parish participation. The Women’s Nights at St. John’s have attracted many women from St. Paul’s and is growing into a collaborative ministry. This year’s spectacular Christmas Concert at St. Paul’s boasted the highest attendance in recent memory with a large representation of St. John’s parishioners. There have been truly inspirational liturgies with  the combined musical talents of high school students from both parishes. As a result, the religious education and youth ministry staff have been exploring how we can work together in a collaborative effort to engage our young people more fully in the life of the Church.   We envision more collaborative social events and are planning a Mass followed by a barbecue at an outdoor venue this coming fall. Exciting things are happening.  The Holy Spirit is at work among us.

Beginning in September, the CPC, in consultation with staff and volunteer leadership, will engage in a formal process of developing a pastoral plan for the collaborative for the next several years. The parish forums have given parishioners an opportunity to give input on what is important  to them in areas essential to the practice of our faith. The data collected from the parish forums will provide some of the foundational material for the development of a pastoral plan. We want and need your input as the plan is developed and will continue to find ways to solicit that input. In the meantime, you can always feel free to speak to any CPC member to share your ideas or concerns. While the planning process is being undertaken, the many wonderful ministries within our parishes will continue to thrive. I am grateful to all those who serve our parishes with such dedication.

Where are we going as a collaborative? As we ask this question, let’s keep in mind the dialogue between Jesus and the apostle Thomas.

Thomas said to him, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (Jn 14: 5-6)

As we explore paths of collaboration, may we never lose sight of our ultimate objective: to follow more closely the One who is the way and the truth and the life.

Yours in Christ Jesus,

Reverend James J. Laughlin
Pastor
St. John-St. Paul Catholic Collaborative

To save or print this letter, please click HERE.

Our 2018 Collaborative Lenten Gift – Special Second Collection March 17-18

We invite you to participate in this outreach to our little NPH brothers and sisters in Miacatlán. Donations are accepted with our second collection this weekend, by mail to the parish office, or online: 

We thank you for your support, it is appreciated and will make a difference in the children’s lives.  For more information, please visit our Lenten Gift page.

An Update from NPH Mexico: Since the Earthquake…

February 26, 2018 – Mexico: Hipólito is a 9-year-old boy studying 3rd grade. September 19, 2017, will be a day he will never forget.

“That afternoon we were all very still, we already knew that something serious had happened. My friends and I only heard that the old chapel was badly damaged, and also the schools and the dining hall.

Our caregivers explained to us what had just happened and tried to make sure everyone was calm, because there were some children who were crying. They were nervous or maybe scared, I guess. 

I remember there was no electricity that night and the whole hacienda (home) was very dark.  Since our dormitories weren’t safe to sleep in, we all slept together outside so we would not be afraid, and some of us had candles.

Starting that day, school was suspended for a few weeks. The teachers were at the home to carry out activities with the children to distract them. The psychologists gave support workshops to all the kids so that they could express their feelings, and they gave them reading materials and did relaxation exercises.

The dining hall and kitchen had to be closed. We created a temporary dining hall and kitchen under large tents in the main courtyard.

 

After a few weeks, classes resumed under tarps with blackboards hanging on the sides.

“At the beginning, we liked having classes there, it was something different. But after a while we got bored, it was hot even under the tarps. Besides, since everyone passed by, it was easier to be distracted and to start chatting with friends,” says Hipólito of his experience in outdoors classes.

 

Fortunately, the schools have already been repaired and our children returned to their classrooms on January 31. “I am happy because we can have ‘normal’ classes now. We spent several months like that, and we thought it would take much longer to go back to our classrooms because they were very damaged.”

NPH Mexico has taken big steps since the earthquake—thanks to generous donors—to help the children return to their classrooms. There is still a great need to repair the dining hall and kitchen as more than 400 children continue to eat outside.

Some of the children’s dormitories still need repairs, and many other structural issues to our home still need to be addressed. For the time being, we will continue rebuilding our facilities so that our children enjoy their days with dignity, and above all, in safe spaces.

The Collection for our Lenten gift will be taken up at all Masses next weekend March 17 & 18. As we embrace the three-fold Lenten discipline of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, we invite you to participate in this outreach to our little brothers and sisters in Miacatlán.

For more information, please visit our Lenten Gift page.

A New Staff Position: Coordinator of Music, Liturgy and Pastoral Care

I am thrilled to announce that Kelly Meraw has been named Coordinator of Music, Liturgy and Pastoral Care for St. John the Evangelist Parish. As with all of the leadership positions within the collaborative, Kelly’s ministry will be a collaborative position but with her main focus on the St. John community.

Kelly is no stranger to us. She has had a growing role within the music ministry team at St. John as a cantor and director of the choir. She has also been working with bereaved families in preparation for funeral liturgies and with couples preparing for marriage. In her new role, she will also oversee the entire music program at the parish. She is well qualified for the position with a Master of Music Degree from McGill University. And we know already how her angelic voice helps us to lift our hearts in prayer each week at Mass.

Kelly has also felt called by God to a role in pastoral ministry for many years. Before her reception into the Catholic Church at St. Patrick’s Basilica in Montreal through the RCIA program, she contemplated a vocation as a Protestant minister. To that end, she also holds a degree from McGill in Religious Studies. She has long dreamed of bringing her ministerial skills and theological education to bear within her Catholic faith, which she so cherishes. She is most excited about her role as Coordinator of Pastoral Care at St. John. Kelly will oversee the development of adult education programs, ministry to families and will serve as liaison to the parish’s many ministries and commissions. She will also be responsible for the recruitment and training of lectors and Eucharistic Ministers. She will continue to broaden her theological education as she undertakes her new role.

Kelly is a person of deep faith and I have no doubt that she will be a tremendous asset to our parish and collaborative as we all seek to deepen our relationship with Jesus Christ through prayer, service and education. She and her husband Michael, along with their children Ava and Noah, have been deeply committed to the mission of St. John Parish for many years. How blessed are we that God has called Kelly from our own community to serve in this newly created and important ministerial role. Let’s extend a warm welcome to the newest member of our staff!

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Jim

A Devastating Earthquake

Last week, we identified the rebuilding of the boys’ and girls’ dormitories at the NPH facility in Miacatlan, Mexico as the project to which we would dedicate this year’s Lenten gift from the Saint John-Saint Paul Collaborative. As in all of the homes sponsored by NPH, the children being cared for in Miacatlan have had tough childhoods. Many have lived in dangerous or unsanitary conditions, begged or scavenged for food, suffered abuse, or had no stable family life, and have lacked proper nutrition and health care.

Imagine how thrilled each of these children must have felt when brought to the loving and familial atmosphere of Casa San Salvador in Miacatlan, which is 77 miles southwest of Mexico City. The Casa is an old converted sugar plantation and serves more than 400 children. Always bustling with activity, its facilities are extensive and offer a small town feel. The home features girls’ and boys’ dormitories, a healthcare clinic, a primary school, a kitchen, a cafeteria, athletic facilities, a library, and a chapel.

This wonderful environment has been compromised by the 7.1 magnitude earthquake of last September. In the middle school boys’ dormitory, there are serious cracks needing repair before it is safe for them to return.

Currently, 160 boys are living in another dormitory in a space only fit for 80. The girls’ dormitory needs repair to its sewage system before the rainy season begins. During significantly rainy days, eight inches of rain have been building up outside of their dormitory, resulting in over an inch of water coming into their rooms.

There are so many needy causes that need attention today that we had no shortage of opportunities from which to choose a recipient. However, the Service Commission chose NPH in Miacatlan both to have an immediate impact for good and also to further the relationship begun last year that has resulted in so many families in the Collaborative sponsoring a young boy or girl. As we embrace the three-fold Lenten discipline of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, we invite you to participate in this outreach to our little brothers and sisters in Miacatlan.

For more information, please visit our Lenten Gift page.

Announcing Our 2018 Collaborative Lenten Gift

Over the fall of 2017, our Collaborative heard much about Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos, (NPH), as we had visitors from NPH Guatemala. Many families hosted our NPH friends, and even more families signed up to sponsor children. This year, the St. John-St. Paul Collaborative has selected NPH Mexico for our 2018 Lenten gift.

On September 19, a devastating 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck Central Mexico. The earthquake struck very close to NPH’s homes and schools in Miacatlán. Thankfully, none of children, volunteers or staff were harmed, but estimates of the damage to their facilities were significant.

Specifically, we will be contributing towards the rebuilding of the boys and girls dormitories. We hope to help NPH Mexico restore its facilities so they can continue their mission of transforming young people’s lives.

The Story of Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos

In 1954, more than six decades ago, in Cuernavaca, Mexico a young and hungry boy stole money from a church collection box in order to purchase food. He was arrested and due to receive a harsh sentence for his crime. However, the newly ordained priest of the church, Father William B. Wasson, asked the court to show mercy. He requested custody of the boy so that he could provide for the boy’s needs, and the judge accepted. Throughout that year, Father Wasson received 32 more boys, and Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos was born.

Since then, NPH has been transforming the lives of thousands of orphaned, abandoned and disadvantaged children. One of the unique features of NPH is that when they accept one child into the home, they take all siblings so that the sense of family continues. It is not considered an orphanage; it is more like a large family. NPH provides a safe home and a loving forever family that offers security, vital nutrition, comprehensive healthcare, an education, and vocational training to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty. Currently, there are over 3,200 children in nine NPH homes in Latin American countries.

For more information, please visit our Lenten Gift page.

January 21: “Collection Sunday” – Household Cleaning Supplies for Refugee Relief

Catholic Charities LogoCatholic Charities/Boston settles between 300-400 refugees each year. After these families and individuals have been resettled in the Boston area, they need assistance in so many ways.  The Service Commission has organized a Collection Sunday during the weekend of January 20-21 to collect Household Cleaning Supplies, including dish soap, sponges, laundry detergent, brooms (either upright or whisk brooms) and microfiber mops/dusters. Donations may be left at St. John Church in the Glen Road entrance, in the Library area on the lower level , or in Powers Hall. (Look for the “Collection Sunday” signs.)

This is a wonderful opportunity to get your children involved in a service activity. Imagine the conversations that will ensue as you explain why these families need to uproot and resettle in the United States, far from family and a familiar culture!  If you have any questions about Collection Sunday, please contact the Parish Office (781-235-0045.)

Thanksgiving Thank You!

A big thank you to all the Parishioners who contributed to the Thanksgiving Feast at Bristol Lodge soup kitchen in Waltham. Thanksgiving is such a busy time of year, so we are always amazed by the number of parishioners who contribute year after year to make a memorable Thanksgiving for the guests at Bristol Lodge. We served 10 large turkeys with twice as many sides… and there were leftovers for weekend meals!

Christian Service Forum: A Message from Fr. Jim

Over 60 parishioners from the St. John-St. Paul Collaborative joined on November 7 to discuss a shared vision of what constitutes Christian Service and how we can achieve expanded opportunities to answer Christ’s call as we move forward as a collaborative. There was great energy and excitement in the room as members of both parishes got to know each other in the context of discussing an issue vital to our lives as Catholic Christians. Led by Carol Yamartino, a professional executive coach and leadership meeting facilitator, the ideas flowed freely as the attendees focused on many of the communities among us who are crying out for help – the hungry, poor, elderly, immigrants, prisoners, the homeless and the list goes on. The group also considered such topics as the extent of our outreach and the kinds of service we should seek to provide. The evening concluded with a discussion centered on potential models for implementing the ideas expressed.

The meeting was part of the consultation process that allows the voices of parishioners to be heard as the Collaborative Pastoral Council and I contemplate the creation of a Pastoral Plan for our collaborative. We also anticipate an additional forum in 2018 that will focus on family life as we move forward with the overall effort of exploring topics of importance to our parishioners.

How blessed we are to have such wonderful parishioners, passionate about living your faith through Christian Service. I feel very blessed indeed to serve as your pastor!

Yours in Christ,
Fr. Jim