By: Tara Kerrigan Hayes
While many are aware of the challenges facing todays churches, (from limited parishioners to closings as a result of financial hardships, structural dangers, and more), not enough is said about the extraordinary efforts and good works of those determined to rise to those challenges by continuing to offer the community a safe place to gather, worship, nurture and even nourish. Formed by the Archdiocese of Boston in 2015, the South Boston Seaport Catholic Collaborative (SBSCC) serves four catholic communities: St. Peter, St. Monica-St. Augustine, St. Vincent, and Our Lady of Good Voyage. For covering such a vast area (Old Colony, West Broadway, Fort Point and the Seaport), the SBSCC is managing to do a remarkable job catering to the ever-growing needs of our diverse community. Father Jim Flavin, SBSCC pastor and Father Peter DeFazio, administrator, (who work as a team), are on a mission to spread the word that despite the many set-backs of the church in recent years, there is indeed a place for each of us – regardless of differences or background – to worship.
Since the closing of St. Vincent de Paul on W 3rd (due to structural safety concerns), St. Peter’s Parish has offered a safe place for those parishioners to receive, with English masses on Saturdays at 5:00 pm and Sundays at 9:00 am. Previously known as a predominantly Lithuanian Parish, St. Peter’s has evolved with changing demands of the community. “People speaking exclusively in Lithuanian are becoming fewer in numbers”, says Father DeFazio, “so we are open to trying a bilingual mass with a mix of some Lithuanian with some English, because the younger members and others are now speaking mainly English”. That mass is held each Sunday at 10:30 am for the devoted Lithuanian community.
St. Monica-St. Augustine also offers bilingual masses, with an English spoken mass every Sunday at 10:30 am, followed by a Spanish mass at 12:30 pm. “St. Monica-St. Augustine is actually making huge strides in caring for its community in numerous ways”, says Father DeFazio, “not only do they cater to children with a Children’s Mass every 1st Sunday of the month, but they also have a presence in the substance abuse treatment community by hosting various AA groups on weekday evenings, as well as Saturdays”. In addition, they have a great outreach to the elderly community of St. Vincent de Paul and St. Monica’s, visiting senior housing complexes as well as nursing homes to offer masses for the homebound.
Joining with the Good Samaritan Ministry, they will now be hosting a weekly food pantry each Wednesday (12:30-1:30 pm) called “Monica’s Kitchen”, based out of the St. Monica-St. Augustine lower church hall, where groceries can be picked up by those in need. Beginning in March they will host monthly Peace Breakfasts, held the first Saturday of every month (9:00-11:00 am) offering opportunities for individuals and families to gather together with their neighbors for a free meal and friendship. The intent is not only to feed, but to offer families of diverse backgrounds a chance to come together and interact with one another in a peaceful setting. Friday, February 15 kicked off the first ever Peace Pasta Dinner, and will soon hold a Peace Cookout upon return of the mild weather (date TBD). “All of these efforts are both ministering to the needs of our neighbors and helping build within our great, vibrant community”, says Father DeFazio, “plus we have a full calendar of events coming up for Lenten, and more”. (See below):
South Boston Seaport Catholic Collaborative Events
- Saturday, March 2, 2019: Peace Breakfast from 9:00 to 11:00 am at St. Monica’s Parish
- March 6 Ash Wednesday:
12:30 PM St. Monica Prayer Service
12:30 PM St. Peter Prayer Service
5:00 PM St. Peter Mass
7:00 Pm St. Monica Mass -SPANISH
- Sunday, March 3, 2019: Coffee and pastries following the 10:30 am Mass at St. Monica’s Parish
- Friday, March 15, 2019: Station of the Cross (English) St. Peter’s Parish
- Sunday, March 17, 2019: St. Patrick Day Themed Coffee and Donuts following the 9:00 am Mass at St. Peter’s Parish
- Offering parking spots for parade goers in St. Peter’s Parking Lot for a $15.00 donation
- Sunday, March 17: Coffee and pastries following the St. Vincent de Paul following the 9:00 am Mass
- Wednesday, April 3, 2019: Lenten Reflection from 6:00 – 7:00 pm at St. Peter’s Parish
- Sunday, April 7, 2019: Coffee and Donuts following the 10:30 am Mass at St. Monica’s Parish
- Friday, April 12, 2019: Stations of the Cross (English) at St. Peters with Confessions from 6:00 t0 7:00 pm
- EVERY Friday during Lent: Spanish Stations of the Cross from 7:00 to 8:00 pm
- Sunday, April 14, 2019: Coffee and Donuts following the 9:00 am Mass at St. Peter’s Parish
Anyone interested in joining us in this ministry for Monica’s Kitchen should contact Deacon Paul at (617) 268-8100. Monetary donations can be sent to: Monica’s Kitchen, PO Box 270799 – South Boston, MA 02127.