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Three Invitations to Christmas

December 24, 2020

Dear Friends on the Journey,

Here I share with you only links for Christmas Eve through Sunday, December 27th (Reminder: there will be no in-person worship on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day at the Paulist Center this year; there will be in-person worship on Saturday at 5pm and Sunday at 10am):

Thursday, Christmas Eve, December 24th:

Friday, Christmas Day, December 25th two recorded opportunities:

Sunday, Feast of the Holy Family, December 27th:

Know that all of us on staff and support staff at the Paulist Center hold you dearly in our hearts and prayers at this sacred time.

And let us pray for/with one another.

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

December 19, 2020
Dear Friends on the Journey,

This year Christmas will be the same. Just everything around it will be different.

The following has been ascribed to the Spanish mystic John of the Cross, one of the Paulist Fathers’ patron saints:

If you want,
the Virgin will come walking down the road
pregnant with the holy and say,
“I need shelter for the night, please take me inside your heart,
my time is close.”
Then, under the roof of your soul, you will witness the sublime intimacy, the divine,
the Christ taking birth forever,
as she grasps your hand for help,
for each of us is the midwife of God, each of us.
Yes there, under the dome of your being does creation
come into existence externally, through your womb, dear pilgrim –
the sacred womb of your soul,
as God grasps our arms for help; for each of us is
His beloved servant never far.
If you want, the Virgin will come walking
down the street pregnant with Light and sing…

Three  Invitations to Christmas with the Paulist Center Community:

First, to all members of the Paulist Center Community:

  • Join us for the Advent-Christmas Concert on Sunday, December 20th, 7-8pm. This will be a compilation of selections from the 2017, 2018, and 2019 concerts.  Cozy up with an eggnog or milk and cookies, and join in the singing. As enthusiastically as you sing when in chapel! Beginning at 7:00pm a Celebration of Past Advent-Christmas Concerts from the Paulist Center will be available through this link.  The concert will be available at this same link until December 27th. Enjoy!
  • Join the Families’ Zoom Liturgy of the Word, Christmas, Friday, December 25th, 4-4:40pm. Here’s the link. (Zoom Meeting Number 986 8833 1613; Passcode 845101).
  • Watch the recording of last year’s Christmas Pageant, Christmas, Friday, December 25th, 4:40-5pm. Here’s the link.
  • [Watch] No: Pray and Worship¹ with your community at our Virtual Christmas Eve Mass, Friday, December 25th, 5pm. On YouTube and Facebook platforms.  Here’s the link.
  • Gathering after Virtual Mass, via Zoom (N.B.: you’ll have to switch Platforms). ¹ For about 45 Minutes we’ll “gather” to talk with one another, perhaps for a short time in small groups. Here’s the Zoom Link.  (Zoom Meeting ID: 982 4761 7091; Passcode: 294762).

Suggestions for Gathering for Worship on Christmas:  read the Biblical readings; here’s the link;

Your environment:

  • Maybe dress up for this sacred moment together!
  • Clear the table in front of your TV/computer.
  • Leave handheld and other devices in a room away from your House Church Chapel;
  • Place a small creche/Manger Scene nearby (or you can use a particularly beautiful Christmas Card you have received);
  • Light a candle, and perhaps one of you hold it during the singing of “Silent Night”;
  • A few bells to be rung during singing the Angels’ Hymn, the Gloria;
  • And sing your hearts out!

In addition to Regular Worshippers, we think of a Special Second Group: One hallowed part of Christmas at the Paulist Center is the more-than-occasional welcoming of those who have stopped going to Church. But they come to Christmas Mass because they love the person who said “it would mean a lot to me if you came with me to Church.” You know who they are. Rather than let them sit in the back room of your home while you watch pray with your community, tell them we are all better for their presence. We welcome them! Especially if they feel that the Catholic Church has not made room for them in the past, tell them there’s room here! And if those you love are not in the back room, but across the country, the silver lining in this most-different-of-all Christmases is that they can join you if you send them the links and tell them that you will be there and “it would mean so much to me if you would join us.”

A Special Third Group: These are those who live alone, maybe outliving most of their relatives and now are alone, in a assisted-care facility, or who live and work alone in Boston (and elsewhere). I am aware that for some of you/them, joining in such a virtual gathering may make them feel even more empty. But we are blessed by your presence. We Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Christ in communion. And we believe in the real presence of Jesus Christ in one another, whenever two or three are gathered in His name. Your virtual presence is our affirmation of Christ’s presence through and you, because we gather in his name. Join us, please. “It would mean so much to us.”

There will be no in-person worship
for Christmas at the Paulist Center.


See how to contribute to Flowers and other decorations for the sanctuary at Christmas. See below. We will be scrolling the names of those for whom the flowers are dedicated.

2020 Isaac Hecker Award for Social Justice – Call for Submissions! Because of the pandemic delay in awarding our 2019 recipient, Sr. Joan Chittester, we are slightly behind in determining a recipient for our 2020 Isaac Hecker Award for Social Justice. Therefore, we are requesting nominations for your favorite North American Catholic dedicated to peace and justice for this year’s award. Guidelines for nominations can be found on the website or at this link. The deadline for this award is December 31st. Submissions or questions should go to Susan Rutkowski, or 617-948-2426.

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

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).

Note Carefully: If you are experiencing ANY symptom that would indicate that you are ill (not just for Covid), please stay home. If in doubt, please stay out! Also, please read carefully the Procedures and watch the video (both links below). Of special note:

  • The doors open 10 minutes before the service;
  • Please follow the directions of the hospitality ministers when entering, exiting, and at communion;
  • Once seated, please stay in that place;
  • Since there is no singing, we invite you to hum along with the songs.

1) Here are the expectations and requirements
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 Fourth Sunday of Advent, December 20th, Live-Streamed Liturgy/Mass from the Chapel, at 10am (available as recording at same link after 11:15am):

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.

3)  Paulist Center Rosary Circle: 7:30 pm every Monday.
Join Zoom Meeting at this link:
Meeting ID: 487 503 158
Passcode: 021078

4) All are welcome to a half-hour prayer gathering this week with/from the Paulist Center’s LGBTQ+ Group next next Wednesday, December 16th, 7pm,   All are welcome!
See the emailed weekly Missive from Fr. Mike McGarry for the link.


Ways of Giving:

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 Urban Edge. Urban Edge dedicates itself to strengthening communities and families by building affordable housing and vibrant, prosperous neighborhoods. Thank you!

As we prepare for Christmas, note that you may donate to help with expenses for decorating our Sanctuary. Go to #1 below and note the “Flowers” category.

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.”

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I conclude now with the Prophet Micah 6:8:

Our Faithful God has told you, O mortal, what is good;
   and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, to love kindness,
   and to walk humbly with your God?

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.