Saint Marys Church - Foxboro - Holy Family - Peace Gardenby Robert Gillis
Published in The Foxboro Reporter April 1999

Palm Sunday mass, and Saint Mary’s is filled beyond capacity this afternoon. There is literally a standing room only crowd. I’m late again, so I’m also standing.

This particular mass features the longest gospel of the year — the Passion of Jesus Christ, which tells the story from the Last Supper to the day after the crucifixion.

My mind wanders back to many years ago at Saint Kevin’s in Dorchester, when we’d all stand for the long gospel, and then afterward Father Kierce would say a seemingly longer sermon and then read the announcements from the church bulletin.

But this afternoon, Father Steve — bless him — has asked us to all sit, and the church family listens intently to the gospel. Kids fuss, but people are listening. Participating. Being part of a church community.

When I left church, I was thinking about how wonderful it is that the place was so crowded today. I was also reflecting that over these last few weeks I’ve been re-reading some of my old columns, and while the sentiments were always genuine, I feel that some (especially the earliest ones) were very preachy and a little too philosophical. Maybe that’s not a bad thing, but being TOO philosophical can get a little tiresome, I suppose. At worst, it can seem insincere or unbelievable. I’ve tried to make an effort to tone that down a little.

So I didn’t want to be too profound, but I had to comment on what I saw at that mass.

Here in Foxboro, people are going to church in droves. Not just Christmas and Easter, but most weekends. The town serves many faiths and has a very strong church-going community. The annual Ecumenical service and newspaper-page filled with church activities is a great indication of what the Church means to us all.

Don’t want to be preachy, but I think that’s fantastic. To see so many people involved in church, to see so many bringing their kids, to see so many boys (and now girls) acting as alter servers — well, it just gives me a shot of hope that there are some things RIGHT with the world. In a time when interest in vocations is falling and there are fewer priests and nuns, it’s good to know that so many still turn to the church.

End of speech. Happy Easter, all.

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