Dear Parishioners: A Letter From our Pastor
“Cue the Duck Boats!” Those words get the immediate attention of every Boston sports fan, as championships won by our Boston sports teams are celebrated in rolling parades down the streets of Boston. Remodeled amphibious trucks form rolling platforms for the players and team personnel to be transported upon so that their fans can line the route and celebrate the great victory. In past years there would be a fixed location for the festivities, for example City Hall Plaza, but the rolling rally concept allows more fans to get closer to the players.
I am always amazed at the large numbers of people who find their way along the route hoping to catch a glimpse of their favorite players and share a moment of joy. People travel for miles, skip school and work, arrive hours in advance, and gather in all kinds of weather to share vicariously in the moment of triumph by their favorite team.
Far be it from me to be critical of the fans! God knows that we need more joy and celebration in our lives and to see so many people united and happy is a good thing. A public expression of our shared joy is appropriate and is the source for many happy memories.
On the other hand, many people have observed that the crowds that gather at Memorial Day and Veterans Day have diminished over the years. Parades that used to draw practically the whole town are now often reduced to a small ceremony at a cemetery. While there is great energy to celebrate a sports victory, too many appear to be lightly excused from honoring heroes who sacrificed their lives for us so that we could live in freedom.
We could say similar things about the public expressions of our Catholic faith. Many of our older parishioners can recall Holy Name parades that stretched for miles or Marian and Eucharistic Processions that incorporated the whole parish from the youngest to the most senior members. To be together and to be expressing and celebrating our faith publicly are moments that we will never forget. How many at the first notes of the May Crowning songs find tears forming in their eyes! These sentiments are deeper than words can express. They live forever in our hearts. These moments, however, need not be relegated to the past.
We desire to celebrate our faith in a public way next Sunday, November 21, on the Feast of Christ the King. What a fitting day to process through the streets of Lowell with our Eucharistic Lord! He is our Lord, our King, and our Savior. He is deserving of all praise, worship and thanksgiving. We will begin at 1:00pm at St. Rita Church, process on Mammoth Road to the Grotto at the former Franco American School, and then down Pawtucket Street to University Avenue with a station at UMass Lowell. We will continue to Ste Jeanne d’Arc School with a station there and down 5th Avenue back to St. Rita for Benediction. The entire route is approximately 1.5 miles and it is not expected that most people would be able to walk the whole route. But I would ask that everyone make an attempt to walk part of the route, to gather at St. Rita or at one of the above named stations, or simply locate yourself somewhere along the path of the procession.
I am personally asking each one of you to make an effort to participate in some way in this Eucharistic Procession and to bring along your families, neighbors and friends. Jesus is passing by: Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. Let us proudly and gratefully acknowledge Jesus as our Lord and King!
Rev. Richard F. Clancy
Pastor, River of Divine Mercy Catholic Collaborative