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The Common Good

November 6, 2020

Dear Friends on the Journey,

When I attended St. Jerome’s School in Los Angeles in the 1950s, we had an annual fundraising drive for the “pagan babies.” More formally, it was called the Holy Childhood Association: when grade school children saved up and contributed their meager allowances and chore money to send off in support of a child in the Belgian Congo or Colombia.

We would probably cringe to think back to such primitive ways of regarding people from the Southern Hemisphere; maybe it was even a continuation of European colonialism.

But this exercise had at least two significant, positive effects on our Catholic imagination that I think are worth retrieving today.

First of all, this exercise lifted our juvenile Catholic imagination to include in its circle of concern children from halfway around the globe. We would never meet them, but we are related to them.

Secondly, this annual fundraising effort forced us, however superficially, to think (for me, at least) beyond the comfortable suburban neighborhood I grew up in. (And, truth be told, for which I am to this day immensely grateful.)

Why do I bring this up this week? Why not talk about the emotional and psychic exhaustion so many are feeling after this week’s elections? Well, that would certainly be worth talking about (although I don’t believe my thoughts would add much to what is needed right now). No, I bring it up as a long prelude to underscoring a critical part of Pope Francis’ special letter Fratelli Tutti about which I wrote last week. For at this juncture of our history, Pope Francis calls for, not just Catholics, but all humankind – whom he refers to over and over as our sisters and brothers – to reorient their political and social imagination to love.

He continues, “Recognizing that all people are our brothers and sisters, and seeking forms of social friendship that include everyone, is not merely utopian. It demands a decisive commitment to devising effective means to this end…This entails working for a social and political order whose soul is social charity. Once more, I appeal for a renewed appreciation of politics as a ‘lofty vocation and one of the highest forms of charity, inasmuch as it seeks the common good.’”

The common good (not just of our own country) is the bedrock of Catholic social teaching. The search for the common good, which Pope Francis provocatively calls “political love,” translated into social love, “makes it possible to advance toward a civilization of love, to which all of us can feel called. Charity, with its impulse to universality, is capable of building a new world.”

Maybe such a lofty – unrealistic? – vision is beyond us at this particular moment in our history. Frankly, I find it quite shocking to even consider it in the toxic air we are breathing after the Presidential campaign.

And that’s precisely why I need to reflect on it.

Maybe we need to admit and recuperate from our exhaustion. But when we do, rather than crawling back into a new season of Disney Plus or Fortnight, we can bring our commitment to Jesus Christ precisely back to recognizing that folks in India, Africa, Peru and metropolitan Boston are brothers and sister. And we have a role in building up the kingdom of God.

How would we do that?

More next week…


November is traditionally the time we remember those who have gone before us into Eternal Life. We invite you to submit names of your loved ones by filling out this form click here. The names will then be inscribed in our Book of Remembrance which will be displayed in our sanctuary. Names will also be part of an online and in Chapel PowerPoint presentation displayed at Sunday Mass.

In addition, we will have a special In Memoriam on Sunday, November 15. If you would like to submit a photo, along with the name, of those who died this past year, please send the photo and name to Peter Ghiloni, by November 10.


For the 3rd Saturday every month from 9:00 – 10:30 am. Volunteer helps unload cartons of food from the cars of “shoppers” who pick up food from the Greater Boston Food Bank and bring it to the Paulist Center. Semi-robust individuals needed as boxes/items need to be transferred from cars to carts, rolled into the building, unpacked and put away in our pantry, fridge and freezer. Contact Mares at
We are looking for three candidates to fill out places on our Pastoral Council (meets once a month for two hours). If you would like to know more about how to serve the community through this visioning body, please contact Fr. Mike.
To learn more about how you can attend – for free – the Archdiocesan convocation around Social Justice tomorrow, November 7th, 10am-12:30pm, go to this link:


Worshiping In-Person at the Paulist Center Chapel
(imperative if you will be worshiping with us) …

We have re-entered our Paulist Center Chapel. Please reserve a place for either the 5pm Mass on Saturday or the 10am on Sunday.

How to reserve a place?

Call the Center (617.742.4460) Wednesday through noontime Friday during business hours (10am-5pm).  Sal, our receptionist, will take your name and contact information (either email or phone number. We need this information so that we can contact you should we become aware, after the liturgy, of a person with Covid who attended your Mass).

Again, please read the Procedures carefully and watch the video [both links below]).  Of special note:

  • The doors open 10 minutes before the service.
  • Masks must be worn at all times in the Chapel.
  • Please follow the directions of the hospitality ministers when entering, exiting, and at communion.
  • Because central Boston is now in the “Red Zone,” we will be taking the temperature of everyone who enters the Chapel. Thank you for your understanding;
  • Once seated, please stay in place.
  • We invite you to hum along with the songs (no singing).


1) Here are the expectations and requirements: Procedures
2) A wonderful YouTube Video:


If you can assist with welcoming, seating, and directing people into and out of the Chapel, we would love to hear from you! If you are not in a vulnerable group with regard to COVID-19 and are willing and able to assist in this very important ministry, please contact Peter Ghiloni at


Linked In Prayer Opportunities with Your Community:

1.) For the 32nd Sunday of the Year, Ordinary Time, November 8th, Live-Streamed Liturgy/Mass from the Chapel, at 10am (available as recording at same link after 11:15am):
Here is the link:

2) Paulist Center Families Prayer Service, 10 am, Sunday
New Zoom meeting ID.  See the emailed weekly Missive from Fr. Mike McGarry for the link.
Please note that this service – to which all are invited – is only live. That is, you can join only at 10am. The recording of the live-streamed Mass can be viewed anytime: “live” at 10am or recorded any time after 11:15am, same link.
Please Note: This Sunday after the service, there will be brief focus groups to know youth and teen ideas for celebrating the Advent and Christmas seasons. Please let your families know and encourage the ideas and participation of our younger members!

3)  Rosary Group: 7:30 pm, Monday.
Join Zoom Meeting at this link:
Meeting ID: 487 503 158
Passcode: 021078

4) All are welcome to a half-hour prayer gathering with/from the Paulist Center’s LGBTQ+ Group next Wednesday, November 4th, 7pm,   All are welcome!
See the emailed weekly Missive from Fr. Mike McGarry for the link.


Spreading the Wealth:

Our “Community Gift” is our tradition of giving away 5% of our weekend offerings, averaged out over the whole year, to a group outside of ourselves.

This week, we lift up the Campaign for Human Development. This is the domestic anti-poverty program of the U.S. Catholic Bishops, working to carry out the mission of Jesus Christ “to bring good news to the poor …release to captives…sight to the blind, and let the oppressed go free.” (Luke 4:18). Thank you!

We are so very grateful for your support during this time of uncertainly and financial peril. Here are two ways to give:

  1. To make a one-time or recurring donation using your bank account or credit card, click on the following link:
    Giving by text: Text 844-899-7511 with the amount you would like to donate (whole dollars only). Donations collected this way will be designated as part of the “Weekend Offering.”
  2. Giving by text: Text a whole dollar donation amount to 844-899-7511; this will be designated as your “Weekend Offering.”
An idea: Recently a few folks have made special contributions to help cover expenses for our live-streaming equipment. How thoughtful, how generous. What a great idea!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I conclude with the wise words of St. Teresa of Avila:

Nothing can trouble,
nothing can frighten.
Those who seek God shall
never go wanting.
Nothing can trouble,
nothing can frighten.
God alone fills us.

And let us pray for/with one another.

Michael McGarry, C.S.P.
Director, the Paulist Center

Along with Patty, Chuck, Susan, Peter, Dorothy, John, Barbara, Rob, Alvaro, and Sal. Please feel free to call upon your Pastoral Ministers if you wish.

I will be sending out something every Thursday or Friday as the “shut down” continues.