Category Archives: Year of Mercy

“Evening for Women” – Tuesday, December 6 at 6:30pm

cross_impressionistA wonderful way to begin our Advent journey through prayer, reflection and sharing. Come join us on Tuesday, December 6 at 6:30 p.m. in St. John’s Chapel/Powers Hall and bring a favorite Winter recipe for our fabulous potluck! All Welcome!Need a ride to the meeting? Please contact Judy Lapides at, or (781) 752-7042.

St. John’s Adult Faith Formation Commission

ALLELUJAH! “Evening for Women” returns on Tuesday, November 1 at 6:30pm

cross_impressionistIn the light of the Year of Mercy, come join us on the first Tuesday of the month, starting November 1, for a graced evening of prayer, meditation and sharing! Let’s wrap up together this fabulous Jubilee Year, going into depth in the face of Mercy. Bring one of your favorite recipes for a wonderful Pot Luck! All are welcome! Begins in Powers Hall (St. John lower church)

There will be an opportunity to share your ideas about future programs, so please give some thought to how you would like to spend these evenings in faith and friendship.

St. John’s Adult Faith Formation Commission

In this Year of Mercy…

Acts_of_MercyPope Francis’ Year of Mercy calls us to know mercy and show mercy in a very intentional way. Take time each week to be mindful of ways you show mercy to others… through forgiveness or through acts of kindness to others in need. Write down your act of mercy on a heart and then place it in the Mercy Basket next to the offertory table at the back of the Church.

Year of Mercy: Year of RCIA?

footsteps-on-beachPope Francis dedicated this
Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy to living out in our daily lives the mercy which God constantly extends to all of us. As he says, “Let us allow God to surprise us. He never tires of casting open the doors of his heart and of repeating that he loves us and wants to share his love with us.”

Are you ready to be surprised? Please consider the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. The doors of the RCIA are flung open wide for you if…

  •  You have been worshiping with us, but never officially took the step to become Catholic;
  • Have been away from the Church … and have now returned, but want to know more;
  • Have been a Catholic all your life, but never celebrated all of the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist);
  • Have joined us from a different faith community and would now like to find out more about the Catholic Church;
  • Are seeking a deeper personal relationship with Jesus but have never been baptized.

If you answer yes to any of these situations, please consider saying yes to joining us when we begin our journey this autumn. Everyone is welcome. There will be more information forthcoming. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact Alan LaFleur and Svea Fraser at with your questions.

Another Summer Reading Suggestion for the Year of Mercy

Life_and_RevolutionPope Francis: Life and Revolution: A Biography of Jorge Bergoglio
Since Jorge Mario Bergoglio became Pope Francis in 2013, countless books have been written to help the world understand this deeply complex yet simple servant of God. What sets Pope Francis: Life and Revolution apart from all other biographies of Pope Francis is the careful research and original investigation behind it, along with the fact that it is written by an internationally respected journalist—Elisabetta Piqué—who has remained close to the Pope since first meeting him back in 2001.

Over 75 individuals were interviewed for Pope Francis: Life and Revolution, including lay people, priests, bishops, and cardinals who have known or worked with Francis at various times in his life. Insights from these people, as well as from friends and family members, allow us to see a profoundly personal side of the Pope. His humility and humanity, courage and conviction, and warmth and wisdom are revealed as Piqué shares little-known episodes from Francis’s life.

With a foreword by Cardinal Seán O’Malley, O.F.M. Cap., Pope Francis: Life and Revolution is the definitive resource and narrative of a man personally known by few and revered and respected by many.

Summer Reading for the Year of Mercy

The Jubilee Year of Mercy will come to a close this November 20, 2016. This summer, why not dive into some books that are spiritually-enriching and rediscover God’s incredible mercy. Please feel free to send in your own summer reading recommendations to and we will be sure to share them in the bulletin this summer.

Books_Beautiful_mercyBeautiful Mercy – featuring content from Matthew Kelly and twenty-six other incredible authors.
The perfect companion for the Year of Mercy called for by Pope Francis, Beautiful Mercy provides an encounter with the heart of God. By focusing on the seven spiritual and seven corporal works of mercy, it inspires readers to realize that extraordinary acts of love are possible for us all—no matter where we are in life. Once again bringing to light the genius of Catholicism, bestselling author Matthew Kelly has enlisted the help of twenty-six other incredible authors who witness to the power of God’s mercy, provide simple, practical tips on how to be an instrument of that mercy, and bring hope to anyone searching for deeper meaning in life.

Books_Mercy_CityMercy in the City: How to Feed the Hungry, Give Drink to the Thirsty, Visit the Imprisoned, and Keep Your Day Job, by Kerry Weber
When Jesus asked us to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, and visit the imprisoned, he didn’t mean it literally, right? Kerry Weber, a modern, young, single woman in New York City sets out to see if she can practice the Corporal Works of Mercy in an authentic, personal, meaningful manner while maintaining a full, robust, regular life. Weber, a lay Catholic, explores the Works of Mercy in the real world, with a gut-level honesty and transparency that people of urban, country, and suburban locales alike can relate to. Mercy in the City is for anyone who is struggling to live in a meaningful, merciful way amid the pressures of “real life.” For those who feel they are already overscheduled and too busy, for those who assume that they are not “religious enough” to practice the Works of Mercy, for those who worry that they are alone in their efforts to live an authentic life, Mercy in the City proves that by living as people for others, we learn to connect as people of faith.

Books_Mercy_PrayerThe Mercy Prayer: The One Prayer Jesus Always Answers, by Robert Gelinas
Lord, have mercy. A raw plea for intervention. The most frequent prayer in the Bible. And- -most remarkably–a request that God has never failed to grant . . . often in surprising ways that have radically transformed individual lives and the trajectory of history itself. In The Mercy Prayer, Robert Gelinas explores the richness of God’s unfailing compassion by blending biblical insights with penetrating personal encounters and keen insight into familiar stories. The result is a practical guide for receiving the mercy we all desperately need and letting it flow from us into the lives of others.

And for kids…

Books_Mercy_SorrySay Sorry And Mean It: Apologizing From The Heart , by Trudy Lubwig
Jack’s friend, Charlie, knows how to get away with just about everything: “If you get caught, just say you’re sorry.” But does an apology count if you don’t really mean it? And what happens when the person you’ve hurt knows you don’t mean it? Jack’s about to find out there’s a whole lot more to a real apology than a simple “sorry!” Trudy Ludwig’s book captures the importance of making a sincere apology and models for children how to take ownership of hurtful behavior and make amends.

Corporal Works of Mercy: To Visit the Sick

We all know what it feels like to be sick and at home or in a hospital. It is isolating and often very painful. The presence of visitors can often lift-up the heart of a patient and remind them that they are not alone. “Visiting the sick” in our world can mean reaching out to those who are “sick at heart” from being lonely and forgotten and who are regularly deprived of the basic human need called “friendship.”

Jim O'Connor's students thought they knew him -- until last November, when senior Pat McGoldrick learned they didn’t know the half of him. (CBS photo)

Jim O’Connor’s students thought they knew him — until last November, when senior Pat McGoldrick learned they didn’t know the half of him. (CBS photo)

A heartwarming news story that lent itself to “Visiting the Sick” that was featured on CBS’ “On the Road” in which Steve Hartman meets students of St. Francis High School who thought they knew everything about their math teacher, Jim O’Connor. But what they found out at a local hospital taught them a life lesson.

What Can I do?

Homebound Ministry: This ministry reaches out to our parishioners who are homebound, and provides opportunities for volunteers to visit and for Eucharistic Ministers to bring the Eucharist.

Hospital Visitation: This corporal work of mercy is relatively easy to do. And our service and outreach programs at St John’s have several ways to help: The Chaplain’s Office at Newton-Wellesley Hospital welcomes volunteers to visit the sick and Eucharistic Ministers to bring communion on a weekly basis.

Nursing Home Visitation: This ministry reaches out to nursing home residents in three area facilities: Newton Health Care, The Falls at Cordingly Dam, and Elizabeth Seton Residence.

Visit our Service and Outreach page on the web for more information about these and other service opportunities.

Corporal Works of Mercy: To Feed the Hungry

What can I do?

Everyone needs food for their body. It is an act of love to help others to obtain their bodily nourishment, especially those in greatest need. At St John’s we are blessed to have many opportunities to help feed the hungry. Here are just a few:

Saint Katharine Drexel Food Pantry: St. John Parish provides a food pantry collection for Saint Katharine Drexel, our sister parish in Roxbury/Dorchester which takes place on the second Sunday of each month. Parishioners bring donations of non-perishable food items to St. John’s Glen Road entrance, and volunteers deliver the food collected to Saint Katharine Drexel.

S.O.M.E. Bristol LodgeS.O.M.E. (So Others May Eat): Since 1995, St. John’s Parish has served the homeless by providing sandwiches for the Bristol Lodge in Waltham. The sandwiches are distributed to the clients of Bristol’s various programs for the needy and provide a nourishing midday meal for the residents of shelters, which are closed during the daytime hours. The program has expanded in recent years to include the other churches in St. John’s cluster. The Parish provides hundreds of sandwiches on the 4th and 5th (when there is one) Sundays of each month.

Thanksgiving at Bristol Lodge: Each year St. John Parish provides a Thanksgiving feast for the guests at Bristol Lodge in Waltham. Parishioners provide cooked turkeys and lots of side dishes and get the dishes ‘meal ready’ for volunteers who serve the guests on Thanksgiving.

Please visit our Service and Outreach page for more information on these and other programs.

Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor.

Proverbs 22:9

Corporal Works of Mercy: To Bury the Dead

The word “corporal” means “of or belonging to the body,” and so the corporal works of mercy refer to acts of mercy that relate to the physical needs. They respond to the basic needs of humanity as we journey together through this life. Many of the corporal works of mercy were referenced directly by Christ in Matthew 25:31-46: “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. . . Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:35-36, 40)

The 7 Corporal Works of Mercy
1. To feed the hungry
2. To give drink to the thirsty.
3. To clothe the naked.
4. To shelter the homeless.
5. To visit the imprisoned.
6. To visit the sick.
7. To bury the dead.

THOMAS FARRAGHER/GLOBE STAFF Seniors at Roxbury Latin School were pallbearers for James McDermott, a homeless man who drowned in the Charles River in July.

Seniors at Roxbury Latin School were pallbearers for James McDermott, a homeless man who drowned in the Charles River in July.

Bury the Dead – What can I do? The last corporal work of mercy- bury the dead – may seem very obvious as most of us make sure that our relatives and friends have a proper funeral service. But we also need to be aware of the needs of those who are grieving: struggling to “bury their dead” emotionally. We need to help one another to truly bury our lost loved ones by letting go of them, entrusting them to the hands of our merciful Creator. That takes friendship — a patient friend that keeps on visiting the bereaved even when the grieving process takes many months or even years. This is a precious work of mercy: to help one another emotionally “bury the dead.”

What about the homeless or those with no living family or friends? A very moving story by Boston Globe columnist Thomas Farragher appeared in the the Globe in January about burying the homeless and how seniors at Roxbury Latin School volunteered to be pallbearers. You can read it here:  In death, Roxbury Latin students get a lesson in life



A Special Thank You

IMG_3452We want to thank all who participated in the Pope’s worldwide initiative, “24 Hours for the Lord”, on Friday and Saturday, March 4th and 5th at St. John’s Church. This was an invitation from Pope Francis for all people to come and receive God’s mercy through Eucharistic Adoration. Adoration began in St. John’s Chapel after the 7:00 a.m. Friday morning Mass and the Chapel doors remained open all night through Saturday morning and ended with Benediction. It truly was a collaborative effort, as parishioners of all ages from both St. Paul and St. John Parishes participated.