Saint Mary's Parish
Weekly Bulletin | Thank You For the Welcome
The Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Leviticus 13:1-2, 44-46
Psalms 32:1-2, 5, 11
1 Corinthians 10:31—11:1
In this week’s video for the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B), Jeff Cavins reflects on the Sunday Readings and makes a compelling case for walking in holiness.
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Sunday, February 11, 2018
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Thank You For The Welcome
For those who may not know Deacon Phil Devine, I was ordained a Permanent Deacon for the Diocese of Worcester in 1984 by Bishop Harrington. My ministry has varied over the years. Much of the time has been focused in a parish setting serving the needs of the parish with my wife Carol.
I originally was assigned to St. Mary’s Parish in 1995 but in 2007 was called by the Lord to Prison Ministry working for the Massachusetts Department of Correction at the medium security facility in Gardner, MA as the Catholic Chaplain. I was one of three full time chaplains providing religious services for the men. The other two chaplains represent the Protestant and Muslim Faiths. There are also a variety of other part time chaplains and volunteers serving the men.
I also had the great fortune of recruiting several priests that would volunteer their time to come to the facility to say Mass and hear confessions. A Spanish speaking deacon also volunteered to work with the Spanish community.
There is a Catholic Chapel which was consecrated in 2002. It not only provides space for services but a location for inmates to come and spend quiet time in the presence of the Eucharist in the tabernacle. The chapel also included a statue of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, at the side of the altar. The men would share with me the importance of the chapel in their lives because it was one of the very few locations where a person could find peace and quiet and reflect on the past, present and future of their individual lives as well as of their families.
Much of my forty hour week was spending time listening. The conversations were confidential and behind a closed door. Security is always a key issue in a facility such as Gardner and the men were well aware I would be required to report any security issues including suicidal thoughts to management. Active listening is an important part of the ministry. It includes eye contact, acknowledgment of what is being shared and respect for the individual regardless of why they are at the facility.
After ten years in prison ministry, I retired from the Department of Correction and was fortunately reassigned to St. Mary’s Parish. I have been blessed and deeply appreciate the welcoming by Father Mike and Father Juan and all of you who allowed me to part of your lives in the past. I look forward to renewing old relationships and establishing new ones as we all continue to serve the Lord.
Sent by Kelly Paulina on Saturday, February 10 at 6:00AM