By William T. Clew
What started with an invitation for Kathleen Kelly about 12 years ago in Princeton came to an end May 31 at St. Paul Cathedral with what she called a “fun party.”
Mrs. Kelly, who lived in Princeton with her husband, William, and their two children, Timothy and Erin, was one of the lectors at Masses for Father James J. Caldarella, then pastor of Prince of Peace Parish there.
On occasion, Father Conrad S. Pecevich filled in for Sunday Mass and she served as lector. When he was asked to celebrate a television Mass once a month, he invited her to be his lector.
“I felt blessed to be asked,” Mrs. Kelly said.
Once a month she traveled from Princeton to Catholic Charities at 10 Hammond St. in Worcester to read the Scriptures at Mass. When Armand Laperle, altar server and lector for television Masses, died, Mrs. Kelly volunteered her services as lector. She said she read Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
That continued when she and her husband lived in Holden and later in Worcester, and when the televised Masses moved from Catholic Charities to St. Paul Cathedral.
Mrs. Kelly said the staff, priests, volunteers and the congregation that attended those Masses became her extended family.
“The priests are wonderful,” she said. “They’re more than generous with their time for the TV Mass.”
She said the staff and volunteers are “a very dedicated group.” She had special words of thanks and praise for Stephen Kaufman, manager of productions and programming for the diocesan Office of Communications/TV Ministry.
“He keeps everything running. He’s very calm, cool and collected when things go wrong,” she said.
One of the things Mrs. Kelly did was coordinate the color of the clothes she wore with the colors of the priest’s vestments at the Mass. She said Mr. Kaufman gave her a calendar on which the various feast days were marked so she could plan what to wear.
Mrs. Kelly said she plans to move back to Princeton to be near her son and his wife and their eight children. They live in the same house where Mrs. Kelly and her husband lived and are active in Prince of Peace Parish, where she began as a lector. Her son is deputy fire chief in Princeton, she said. Her granddaughters are Autumn and Ciana. Her grandsons are Joshua, Zachary, Liam, Seamus, Isaac and Brian.
Joshua, Zachary and Liam are Eagle Scouts, she said. They followed in the footsteps of their father and grandfather, both of whom were Eagle Scouts. Seamus is working to attain that rank.
Autumn and Liam, like their grandmother before them, are lectors. Ciana is a cantor and Seamus often brings the gifts to the altar during Mass, Mrs. Kelly said.
She said there were two surprises on May 31 after her final Mass as lector ended. The first was that “fun party.” It was held in the Cenacle in the lower level of the cathedral. The 15 or 20 regular attendees who make up the congregation, staff, volunteers and several priests attended.
The second surprise, Mrs. Kelly said, was when Bishop McManus arrived to present the St. Paul Award for her “many years of ministry as lector on the Daily TV Mass, ministering to the homebound in the Diocese of Worcester.”
Reflecting on her ministry, Mrs. Kelly said: “I love the TV Mass. That experience is the most blessed and rewarding of my lifetime.”