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Scouts attend children’s Mass at St. Edward’s

Posted By February 6, 2014 | 1:02 pm | Lead Story #2
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By Patricia O’Connell
CFP Correspondent

WESTMINSTER – Last Sunday was the feast of the Presentation of the Lord. This is when Our Lady and Saint Joseph brought Jesus to the temple, 40 days after his birth.
A man named Simeon, guided by the Holy Spirit, recognized this child as the Messiah. And Anna, a prophetess who spent all of her time at prayer in the temple, was also there. She spoke of the child’s greatness.
Last weekend was also Boy Scout Sunday. So, not surprisingly, St. Edward the Confessor Church was filled with Boy Scouts and their families during the 9 a.m. Mass.
Pastor Father William E. Champlin asked all the children in attendance to pay special attention to the Gospel reading, which described how Simeon felt as his life’s mission were complete, because he had seen the Messiah.
Speaking of Simeon and Anna during his homily, Father Champlin explained they had been waiting for a long time for a sign of redemption. “These were people who loved God.” he said. “These people had been told for hundreds of years that, at some point, Jesus was going to come.”
Father Champlin described Simeon and Anna as “very special holy and good people.”
He said that others who knew them could also recognize that they were close to God. He then told the children that they also probably know others, right now, who fit that description as well, whether it be grandparents, a teacher, or perhaps someone else whom is older.
This is how we can recognize Christ in others, he noted. “It’s a sign to us of the very presence of Jesus in our lives.”
Touching upon the Scouting theme, Father Champlin said that “some of the same values you learn in Scouting” are some of the same things we need to do in order to live out our vocation as Catholics.
“Today, as we celebrate this feast, we hear about Jesus being a light to the nations,” he added.
In a later interview, Father Champlin spoke more about the feast of the Presentation, which Catholics meditate upon as they pray the joyful mysteries of the rosary.
“Both Simeon and Anna are people who remind us of the prophets,” he explained, adding that these prophets foretold the coming of Jesus. People waited many years for his arrival.
“They (Simeon and Anna) were fortunate enough to see Jesus,” he noted. “They saw the Son of God themselves with their own eyes.”
Anna spent many hours at prayer in the temple, even though there was no tabernacle with Christ living inside. “They didn’t have the Eucharist, but they had Christ present to them in a different way,” said Father Champlin.
Simeon and Anna were both old, and probably didn’t have much longer on earth, after meeting Jesus in the temple.         “We have to think that when they died they both died happy deaths because they had both seen Jesus for themselves,” said Father Champlin.
Last weekend’s Mass was a liturgy aimed toward children. Father Champlin said he does this once a month.
The church was filled with young families and the front pews were filled with Scouts and their troop leaders. Jamie Pitney, who heads the Diocese of Worcester Catholic Committee on Scouting, was also there, as St. Edward is his parish.
Mr. Pitney’s 9-year-old son served on the altar during the Mass. He said his son, a Webelo Scout, has earned two Catholic medals during his time with the organization, and, during this time, has followed a Religious Emblems program using a curriculum designed by the Catholic Church.
Parish Secretary Linda Barrows has two sons involved with the local troop. Her oldest, Ethan Barrows, is a 20-year-old Eagle Scout. Her other son, Joseph Barrows, is a Wolf Cub.
She said it has taught both boys leadership skills. “It helps them learn how to plan and work with other boys,” she noted.