Sunday, April 5, 2020

Palm Sunday and Holy Week

Sorry! Forgot to post this here:

Dear Friends, 

I have had some conversations and meetings over the last couple of weeks that have just been…surreal.  The last few days they have had to do with Holy Week. So let me share with you what is going to happen.

Palm Sunday:  Mass will be celebrated at 10 AM via (removed the word the) livestream and a recording will be made available soon afterward on Youtube.  I have had many conversations about the distribution of Palms. Conversations with our Leadership Team, other priests and the Town of Dartmouth Health Department.  Ultimately, we need to mindful that Palms are sacramentals, items that point us to Christ.  The Public Health risk involved with the distribution of Palms does not seem to be worth it.  This has led to the following decision
1.Palms were used by the crowds to greet Jesus because they were common, they were the tree branches that were around them. With this in mind and borrowing from an idea that has been floating over social media, I invite you to place a green branch on your doors or in your home this weekend, as a sign of welcoming Christ into your home.
2.The Palms will be blessed at Sunday’s Mass, and then stored until public liturgies have resumed. People will be able to take Palms at that time.

Sacred Triduum: Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil (and Easter Sunday):  will not take place with a congregation.  The Liturgy Team has been planning these ceremonies based on the Vatican’s directives.  It will be very different but will still be celebrated. You may join in via the Livestream.
            Holy Thursday: 7 PM
            Good Friday: 7 PM
            Easter Vigil: 7:30 PM
            Easter Sunday: 10 AM

The Sacraments of Initiation will not take place at this time but will take place once public liturgies resume. Please pray for the 7 young men and women who are looking forward to joining our Family of Faith.

This is a very different Holy Week and Easter than any of us have ever had before.  I have been thinking of the Grinch Who Stole Christmas during all of this planning.  Remember the story?  Despite the Grinch's attempts to prevent Christmas from happening, he couldn’t.  Christmas isn’t about the gifts and the big celebrations.   While we have some important family traditions around Holy Week and Easter, Holy Week and Easter aren’t dependent on them.  We are celebrating Christ’s Passion, Death and familyResurrection and what that means for us: Salvation and Hope, even in the darkest times.  There may not be a big Easter dinner this year, but it can be one of the most spiritually powerful experiences in our lives.

Fr. David

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Some More Spiritual Resources Available for You!

A couple of weeks ago I shared some resources to help you in your spiritual growth. (Click here for that list) I would like to add these to the list:

More online resources:


Stations of the Cross: (Friday at 4:30PM).

            Livestreamed at 3PM:

Free Access:
The Word Among Us
Living With Christ
Give Us This Day

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

A Way to Join the Church in Prayer!

We are all well aware of the reality we are living in and that one of the restrictions we have to deal with is that there are no public liturgies being offered in our churches.   

However, liturgies are still occurring, and not just Mass.

The word ‘liturgy’ means ‘public work’.  So Mass, is a public work of the Church. Whenever a liturgy is prayed, those participating are united with brothers and sisters throughout the world.

In fact, the audience for our livestreamed Masses goes beyond the bounds of St. Mary’s.  We have had people watching from throughout the United States and Europe and even Asia!

I would like to share with you another Liturgy that happens each and every day in the life of the Church, and one that you can participate in as well:  The Liturgy of the Hours.

The Liturgy of the Hours is commonly referred to as the “breviary”. A breviary is the book that priests and religious have that contain the Liturgy of the Hours.  There are prayers (or hours) that are prayed throughout the day.

If you have ever been to a monastery or convent or seen a movie that had monks at prayer, this is what they were praying.  It is a collection of psalms, other scripture readings and readings from the tradition of the Church.  It can be prayed individually or in a group, but whenever it is prayed, it is prayed with the whole Church.

At the university whenever we pray Morning, Evening or Night Prayer, we use a phone app called iBreviary. 

iBreviary can also be found on the internet.  If you look to the right you will see a banner for iBreviary, click on that and it will list the different hours of the day.  We will have it posted on the website soon.

I invite and encourage you to make the Liturgy of the Hours part of your prayer each day.  Pray it with members of your family, join friends in praying it on Facetime, Skype, etc.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The Opportunity for Spiritual Detachment

This past week began our “Retreat at Home”.  On Monday’s and Wednesdays, a video clip from Bishop Barron’s Pivotal Players is emailed with some reflection questions.  Participants are invited to spend some time reflecting on the questions after watching the video. If they like they may comment to the group.  In addition, participants are encouraged to spend some extra time in prayer or spiritual reading each day. (If anyone would like to participate, you can join at any time.  Go to and join the Group ‘Retreat at Home’; once you do the emails with the videos will be found in the Group.)

The first two videos were on St. Francis of Assisi.  A priest friend and I led a pilgrimage to Italy a few years ago.  It was my first time to Italy and I enjoyed it very much, but there were two particular days/locations that were particularly moving. One of them was Assisi.  To walk the streets that St. Francis had, to see the Portiuncula, one of the small churches that he had repaired in the early days of his religious life, and to see how this one man-without trying to—had changed the Church and inspired a movement that continues today.  I remember praying at his tomb and ever since that trip have been inspired by his simplicity, devotion to Christ and the Gospel as well as his courage and strength.  

While I am not called to live the same extreme poverty he did, or to live in community as he did, I am still called to simplicity of life, to detachment from things and from myself so that I may grow in greater love and reliance on Christ.  Bishop Barron observed that the chief characteristic of Francis’ community was joy.  This tells us that St. Francis has much to teach us and inspire us in living the Christian life.

During our time of social isolation (still not sure what we are calling this), we have the opportunity to spend some extra time nurturing our relationship with Christ, growing in faith.  The great spiritual writers, and Francis’ own example, tells us that an important part of that growth and perhaps most difficult is spiritual detachment.  I came across an article several years ago on a website ( written by Fr. Bob Camuso.  He gives a list of five areas where we need detach ourselves from in order to grow spiritually.  They are:

1.     The lust for power and control over others
2.     The lust for power over nature
3.     The lust for knowledge to be used to manipulate others
4.     The lust for intense excitement or sensation
5.     The demand to have the last word

All of these are a result of being attached to ourselves, focused on ourselves.  Not only can this be an obstacle in the spiritual life, but also an obstacle in loving others and living life authentically, true to ourselves.

Most of us aren’t called to live the same extremes that Francis did, but we are called to live as other Christs, and that is pretty radical in a world that seeks to encourage the list above.  In our Lenten journey, let us ask for the intercession of St. Francis, that we may allow ourselves to grow closer to Christ and to be transformed by His love and grace.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Resources and Programs

While we cannot gather for Mass or other events and activities, the Parish continues to function.  Staff are working from home, Masses are still being celebrated, we continue to reach out to our parishioners in need and to support everyone in the parish the best way we can. 

Below are some resources and activities we will be offering at St. Mary's.  The activities listed will begin the week of March 22 (next week).  Please let others know (regardless of their parish).  In addition they are all listed in the bulletins.  Bulletins may be picked up at the Church entrances between the hours of 9AM to 3PM.  If we have to keep the Church locked at all times, we will have the bulletins available outside the doors of the Church.

Prayer and Spiritual Resources

  Magnificat  a resource that provides the readings for each days Mass, Morning and Evening Prayer, daily reflections and other essays.  They are providing the resource free online during the current health crisis.

Word On Fire Digital (Click on the Word on Fire Banner in the dashboard; it contains all of Bishop Robert Barron’s Programs.  FYI: We will be offering some online sessions using his minicourses for parishes)

Word on Fire. The main website of Word On Fire.  Has a blog with various articles, also a link to Bishop Barron’s weekly homily (audio recording)

United States Conference of Catholic You can find the readings for Mass, and a digital copy of the Scriptures.

Magis Center  Organization headed up by Fr. Robert Spitzer, SJ.  Fr. Spitzer is the former President of Gonzaga University.  A great resource for the use of science and philosophy in coming to know about God and growing in faith.

St. Paul Centerhttps://stpaulcenter.comA website set up by Scripture Scholar, Dr. Scott Hahn.  Great resource with some audio bible studies.  A blog set up by Fr. David.  Will host some liveblog events and other resources.

Ascension Presshttps://media.ascensionpress.comPodcasts, Videos and articles

Formed. Catholic movies, study programs, audio and e-books.  

MyParish App. Various resources to help you grow spiritually, as well as news and updates fromm the Parish. Download the MyParish App from the Apple Store or Google Play. 

Online Programs:
Retreat at Home

Lent is a time of spiritual renewal, a time to reflect on how we have grown in our relationship with Christ, to acknowledge where we have fallen short and to recommit ourselves to loving the Lord with all of our heart, mind and being and loving our neighbor. During this time of uncertainty, we have the opportunity to commit ourselves a bit more to this work of spiritual renewal.

Throughout the United States many colleges and universities offer “Busy Student Retreats”.  During a week of the semester students commit themselves to a half hour to an hour of prayer or spiritual activity each day. Borrowing from this we would like to invite you to participate in a “Retreat at Home”.  

Participants would commitment to a time of prayer or spiritual activity each day.  It could be joining in at Mass on the livestream, praying a rosary or the Liturgy of the Hours or reading Scripture for a half hour each day.  In addition, participants are invited to watch a short video (Heroes of the Faithby Bishop Robert Barron) and join in a liveblog discussion on the video. For those who wish, spiritual direction could also be set up (via phone or GoToMeeting).  

If you would like to participate, please go to  

Following the Call of Christ
Bishop Robert Barron uses 6 biblical stories of conversion to teach how Jesus approached ordinary people and called to a better life through him.  A video will be emailed out on Monday morning. Sign up at  (this was also offered as a Lenten program, but I made a mistake and it never was sent out. My apologizes! I’ve discovered what I did wrong before. -Fr. David)

Daily Schedule until further notice
(7 days a week)

8AM                            Mass (via livestream)

9AM to 3PM                Church open for Private Prayer

7PM                             Rosary and Night Prayer (via Youtube Live)

Palm Sunday and Holy Week

Sorry! Forgot to post this here: Dear Friends,  I have had some conversations and meetings over the last couple of weeks that have j...