I Make All Things New

Editor: Bp. Donald Pelletier, M.S. shared that his two Masses – one to close St. Joseph’s Parish in Attleboro, MA, and one to open the newly merged St. Vincent de Paul Parish – “was a great privilege for me. I see this brand new parish as an invitation from God to grow. It is a great opportunity for these two Catholic communities to be joined, reconciled, in order to reach out in God’s name to the poor and the most needy of our area.”

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Bishop Donald Pelletier presides over the
first Mass at the Church of St. Vincent de Paul
that combines the parishes of St. Joseph’s
and Holy Ghost. (Staff photo by Martin Gavin)
The first day of the new year brought a fresh beginning for the just-merged parishes of St. Joseph's Church and Holy Ghost Church, now renamed the Church of St. Vincent de Paul. The new church held its inaugural Mass on Tuesday morning at the former Holy Ghost Church on Linden Street.

Retired Bishop Donald Pelletier, who also presided over Sunday's final Mass at St. Joseph's, celebrated Mass at Holy Ghost Church, calling the day "a new reality" in the city of Attleboro. "We are all optimistic," Pelletier said. "For us, today, there is excitement and joy as we witness a new parish." During his homily, Pelletier quoted a relevant Bible verse in the Book of Revelation. "‘Behold, I make all things new,'" said Pelletier. "This word is being accomplished in this parish today."

The merged parishes have a large Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking congregation, and Pelletier went on to say that those languages should not be a barrier when sharing the Gospel with other people in the community. Pelletier also pointed out the symbolic shape of the cross, in which the horizontal and vertical lines meet in the center, as do the members of the community, regardless of their languages or social standing. The church's patron saint, St. Vincent de Paul, reached out to the poor, Pelletier reminded the congregation, and urged them to do the same.

 

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A procession of flags from different nations
enters the church before the first Mass
at the Church of St. Vincent de Paul on
Tuesday that combined the parishes of St.
Joseph’s and Holy Ghost in Attleboro.
(Staff photo by Martin Gavin)
"We are one in unity in the body of Christ," Pelletier said. While Sunday's Mass had been bittersweet for many parishioners of St. Joseph, the new day brought a new joy to several members of the congregation. "It's a great thing," said Attleboro resident Manuel Silva. "There are a lot of Spanish communities that will fill the church and make it grow." Local resident Greg Viens agreed: "We're blessed to be able to stay together as a small community and be able to grow."

The Rev. Riley Williams, the parochial vicar for the merged church as well as for St. John the Evangelist Church in Attleboro, was not only pleased for the new day in the parish, but for the members of the congregation. "The Mass really showed how beautiful it is when our faith unites us, and when our cultures unite us rather than separate us," he said.

(Reprinted with permission from The Sun Chronicle, Attleboro, MA, Jan. 2, 2013, 'Behold, I Make All Things New' by Judee Cosentino)

 



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