Category Archives: Service Commission

News from the Service Commission

Wednesday, June 20: Looking Forward with NPH

Anyone who is interested in working together to forward the Collaborative’s relationship with Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH, Spanish for “Our Little Brothers and Sisters”) is invited to meet on Wednesday, June 20 at 7:00pm in St. John Powers Hall. Representatives from NPH will be there and we will find out about ways in which we can help to improve the lives of some of our most needy brothers and sisters.

Monday, June 25: Collaborative Immigrant and Refugee Services Committee Meeting with Fr. Bryan Hehir

There will be an ongoing development meeting of the Collaborative Immigrant and Refugee Services Committee on Monday, June 25 at 7:00pm in Powers Hall at St. John. This group was established as a sub-committee of the individual parishes’ service committees. It was born out of the fall Collaborative Service Forum and is committed to the creation and development of service opportunities in the field of immigrant and refugee support. Fr. Bryan Hehir will be sharing his expertise regarding the global migrant and refugee crisis and ways in which our collaborative can serve in this mission field. All are welcome to attend.

If you are not able to attend, but would like to be a part of the discussion at a later date, or have questions regarding the project please contact: kelly.meraw@sjspwellesley.org

Lenten Gift Thank You from NPH USA

The greatest gift we offer our children when they enter our home is the sense of security and hope that once again they are a part of a family. A family that promises them they will never have to go back to where they have come from whether it be living on the streets, going days without food, never stepping inside a school, never seeing a doctor, never having shoes to put on their feet, or the fear of where they will end up after losing their parents. A family that provides the comfort of knowing they will always have food, shelter, clothing, healthcare, and an education. A family that loves them unconditionally and strives to instill the importance of forgiveness, strength, hard work and perseverance so that they will not live in the past but strive to change their future. This promise is evident at each and every one of our homes. There is a moment as each child settles into the home where if you watch closely, you can witness this transformation and see them smile from their eyes. It is in this moment, you know the child has found hope.

This feeling of security was significantly impacted on September 9th when the earthquake hit Mexico resulting in over 5 million dollars in damages to our NPH Mexico home that threatened the core of our programs. During a time when so many significant global disasters were occurring, our NPH home feared it would be years before being able to identify the funding to rebuild and return that sense of security back to our children while meeting their daily needs. It was in that moment, the mission of NPH came to life by the outpouring of support from our greater NPH family network of supporters, who returned that sense of hope, security, and sense of unconditional love. We cannot begin to thank the St. John – St. Paul Collaborative community enough for ensuring our children have hope. We are touched beyond words with your $20,011.00 of financial support to our NPH Mexico children. On behalf of our children, thank you from the bottom of our heart.

Monica Henry & Elizabeth Caletka
NPH USA Team

June 9-10: Men’s Clothing Drive for St. Francis House

stfrancishouse_largeEach spring our collaborative community comes together to support  St. Francis House with a Men’s Clothing Drive. Each year the drive is a huge success because of your generosity and grace. St. Francis House serves approximately 50 clothing appointments per day (M-F), which is 250 full set of clothing per week, to their guests in need. To help meet this ongoing need, we are collecting men’s gently-used everyday clothing.

Right now, the highest needed items include:

  • Men’s pants (especially jeans size 30-40)
  • T-shirts, shirts, sweaters, sweatshirts, & spring
    coats
  • Footwear (walking shoes and sneakers)
  • Backpacks/duffel bags/tote bags
  • Summer hats (baseball caps, beach hats)
  • NEW underwear and undershirts (in original
    packaging)
  • NEW socks (for their Foot Clinic)

We hope you will take the time for a quick spring cleaning, and remember to drop off the items to the St. John church garage on the weekend of June 9-10 from 9AM to 5PM. If you can put your items in boxes or secured bags, and label it with the general contents, it would be a great help with sorting. Thank you for your generosity!

Please Note: This year, women’s clothing can also be dropped off.  They DO NOT accept children’s clothing, used socks, or any discolored items.

If you have any questions please contact Shilan Yeung,  either email at shilanhappy@gmail.com or text/call at 508-801-7072.

Immigrant and Refugee Services Brainstorming Session – Thursday, May 31

Our collaborative has participated in fruitful planning meetings regarding Adult Faith Formation and Christian Service in support of the development of our Collaborative Pastoral Plan. One of the beautiful fruits of those meetings was a strong desire from individuals in both parishes to support immigrants and refugees in our community and beyond. There will be a preliminary planning session for all those who might be interested in participating this initiative on Thursday, May 31 at 7:00pm in the St. John-St. Paul Collaborative Office Conference Room (in the St. John Parish Center, 39 Washington Street, Wellesley) All are welcome to attend!

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