Catholic Free Press

Catholic Free Press Digital Edition

  • Jun
  • 26

‘Feed my lambs’

Posted By June 26, 2014 | 1:31 pm | Featured Article #1

By Christina Galeone
CFP Correspondent

WHITINSVILLE – In John 21, Jesus instructs Peter to feed his lambs and tend his sheep. Every Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at St. Patrick’s Parish Center on 1 Cross St., our Savior’s kind request is fulfilled at the John 21 Community Breakfast. Started earlier this year, the mission of the new ministry is “to serve a nutritious breakfast, free of charge, every Saturday morning in the spirit of community fellowship and hospitality.”
Nancy O’Sullivan, coordinator of the ministry, says the idea for the breakfast originated because of a parishioner’s commitment to bringing bread, donated by Panera in Worcester, to the parish. Although the parish donated it to various Blackstone Valley organizations, it was more than they could use. Ms. O’Sullivan says “Father Tomasz (Borkowski) and the parish staff came up with the idea of using it as part of a weekly breakfast ministry. There are a lot of people in this area who are struggling in one way or another.”
Fortunately, the parish has received an outpouring of support from the community. This includes planning advice from Father John F. Madden, who runs St. John’s Food for the Poor Program in Worcester, and the founders of Peace of Bread Community Kitchen in Northbridge. It also includes the dedication of nine teams (of 12 or more volunteers) that each cook and serve the meals about once every two months. Additionally, the ministry has received generous donations of food and money.
Although the ministry intends to apply for grants from Partners in Charity and the Walk for Hunger, it currently receives financial and in-kind donations from companies and individuals.
It is grateful for the support of businesses such as Garelick Farms, UniBank, Whole Foods Market, Wickstrom Morse LLP, Jube’s Restaurant, the Knights of Columbus and Tom Berkowitz Trucking, Inc. The ministry is equally thankful for donations from St. Patrick’s parishioners as well as parishioners from St. Mary and St. Philip parishes in Grafton.
Kathy Lyons, the ministry publicist, believes that one way the ministry benefits the community is that it brings “people from all different races, religions, backgrounds and ages together on a Saturday morning, to guarantee that they receive the food for nourishment, but also the fellowship of others that they may not have come in contact with if it was not for this breakfast each and every Saturday.”
In addition to providing 150 hot, tasty meals each week, it enriches the lives of volunteers.
Mrs. Lyons said, “Volunteering for this ministry has made closer bonds for myself and my family with parishioners at St. Patrick’s.” She adds that it also “makes you realize how fortunate you are to live in an area where people help others, and feel so comfortable doing so.”
Going forward, the ministry hopes to continue to provide good food and fellowship to those in need. Ms. O’Sullivan says that despite “how busy we are, we try to take time to talk to our guests and get to know them. Each week we pray together that we may see the face of Christ in all those we serve and they in turn see his reflection in our service. I don’t think we can ask for anything better than that!”
Father Borkowski, pastor of St. Patrick’s, says the ministry fulfills the invitation of Pope Francis to reach out to those in need, as well as that of Jesus in John 21.
He said, “Hunger is not only physical. More often than not, it is spiritual. For this reason, John 21 aims to provide both food and fellowship; build a communion of love and compassion; create a space where all are welcomed.”

Sutton parish history

By William T. Clew

SUTTON – It was a long time coming, but on Dec. 13, 1964, Bishop Bernard J. Flanagan celebrated the first Mass and dedicated St. Mark’s Church near the center of town.
The few Catholics who lived in Sutton during the early 1800s traveled to Millbury, once a part of Sutton but separated in 1813, or to Worcester for Mass, according to a history of St. Mark’s.
The town of Sutton did get a Catholic church in 1883. It was called St. Anne’s. It first was a mission of St. Denis Parish in Douglas, and then, in 1900, a parish on its own.
But it was in the village of Manchaug, a long way from the town center. A fire swept Manchaug in 1921 and burned much of the village, including St. Anne Church, rectory, school and convent. The church and rectory later were replaced.
The number of Catholics in Sutton continued to grow. The Diocese of Worcester was established in 1950 out of the Diocese of Springfield. Soon after that, according to the parish history, Father Daniel O’Brien and William Hamilton, both of St. Brigid’s in Millbury, began to visit the Chancery in Worcester to make the case for a Catholic parish in Sutton.
Bishop Wright designated the Sutton section of St. Brigid’s Parish and established a mission named St. Mark’s. Sutton town officials approved a request that the new mission could celebrate Mass in the Town Hall. The first Mass was celebrated there on Aug. 19, 1962, according to the parish history. Earlier that year, in April, the diocese bought a four-acre parcel of land on Boston Road, a part of what was known as the Stockwell farm. The property included a 14-room house, built in 1765. It became the St. Mark’s rectory and may well be the oldest Catholic rectory building in the diocese and, perhaps, in New England.
It was built by John Whipple and later owned by his son, John Jr., who, in 1803, deeded it to the Rev. Edmond Mills, the second minister of the First Congregational Church in Sutton.
Later it was owned by Jonas Sibley, who passed it on to his son. James  Stockwell next owned it. In 1927 he sold it to Mr. and Mrs. Steven Benjamin, who renovated it and turned it into a restaurant and tea room. They sold it in 1941 to Henry M. Mingolla, who sold it to the Worcester Diocese.
It was just a little more than two years after the first mission Mass was celebrated in the Sutton Town Hall that a church was erected on the land bought by the diocese. The church was designed by Wendell T. Phillips Associates of Milford and constructed by the M. G. Poulin Construction Co. of Sterling. It is of wood frame, colonial design and seated 300 when built. The choir was seated off the sanctuary on the gospel side. The church hall in the basement has utility rooms, kitchen, a work sacristy and toilet facilities.
Conforming to changes made at the Second Vatican Council, Mass was celebrated at the free-standing altar with the priest facing the congregation.
Bishop Flanagan said the name, St. Mark’s, filled out the diocese’s list of evangelists. There are two churches dedicated to St. John, one in Worcester and one in Clinton, one dedicated to St. Matthew in Southborough and one dedicated to St. Luke in Westborough.
St. Mark’s was made a parish on Sept. 8, 1966. Father Moise R. LeDoux was its first pastor. The parish continued to grow and, in 1992 two wings, one on either side of the church, were added to handle the growing number of church-goers. It doubled the seating capacity of the church and provided rooms in the basement for extra classroom space.
The kitchen also was enlarged, a handicap-access ramp was built, as were two bathrooms for handicapped people on the main  floor and two in the basement and an elevator was installed. In addition, a 30-foot-high steeple with carillon was built.
Father John E. Horgan, the pastor at the time, said the project came in within $1,000 or $2,000 of the $450,000 budget.
When the diocese closed St. Anne Parish in Manchaug in 2013, the statue of St. Anne, the Stations of the Cross and the tabernacle from that church were incorporated into St. Mark’s. A new organ also was installed, according to the parish history.