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Thursday, December 9, 2004

100 days at St Albert the Great.

I meant to mention this story on Sunday (but that post was already getting too long): The members of St Albert the Great in Weymouth, Massachusetts, have occupied their church around the clock since August 29 in order to keep the Archdiocese of Boston from closing it. Without a priest, they've kept the church open and alive for 100 days, 24-7. (An unidentified person is supplying consecrated host for communion.) Bella English writes:

But for the absence of their former priest, Ron Coyne, the church looks very much like any other Catholic church during the Advent season. There are flowers on the altar. Two of the candles on the Advent wreath are lit. A Christmas tree at the front of the church bears name tags for needy children; piled beneath are dozens of gifts. A nearby basket holds grocery store coupons for the poor. The children of the church have made and sent dozens of colorful Christmas cards to local troops serving abroad. A collection is being taken to send them toiletries.

Outside, the creche is on display. On the front of the church hangs a new sign: "The Impossible . . . We Do Right Away. Miracles Take a Little Longer." The front doors are framed by huge wreaths, and an 8-foot outdoor Christmas tree was lit last night, followed by carols, cookies, and cocoa. Only the rectory next door remains dark.

But yesterday's church bulletin held a message from Coyne, who has returned to his family home in West Roxbury. "I miss all of you, the parish and the Church very much. I am in touch with your pastoral council leadership and am aware of all the responsibility you have taken in the St. Albert community. It reminds me of the early Church when everything was held in common and everyone used their gifts and talents for the good of all."

Those gifts and talents have indeed been put to use at the church, which has begun a plethora of classes, including knitting, holiday cake and cookie decorating, slate painting, Bible studies, yoga, and wreath-making. The knitting class is working on "chemo caps" to be donated to cancer centers. A book group is scheduled to start in January, and the health care ministry, run by the nurses in the congregation, has started back up.

That sounds like a lively church indeed. ("St. Albert's Parishioners Stay Vigilant," Bella English, Boston Globe 12.5.04)

Copyright © 2004 by Philocrites | Posted 9 December 2004 at 7:56 AM

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