Summary of today’s show: Sister Patricia Boyle has been a Sister of St. Joseph for nearly 50 years and Scot Landry and Fr. Mark O’Connell talk with Sr. Pat about how she became a religious sister, and served in a number of positions including parochial school teacher for many years, a pastoral associate at St. Ann’s in Quincy, and now as associate director of pastoral planning for the Archdiocese. Sr. Pat was instrumental in helping professionalize the ministry of pastoral associate and now is working in the vital ministry of pastoral planning for the future of the Archdiocese through the Disciples in Mission pastoral plan.
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Today’s host(s): Scot Landry and Fr. Mark O’Connell
Today’s guest(s): Sister Patricia Boyle, CSJ
Links from today’s show:
Today’s topics: Profile: Sr. Pat Boyle
1st segment: Scot Landry welcomed everyone to the show on this end of the workweek and Friday of Easter week. Scot noted that Fr. Mark O’Connell will be leaving this weekend for a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with Cardinal Seán and a group of priests from the Archdiocese of Boston. They will stay in Galilee and Jerusalem. He’s looking forward to being in all these places connected to the life of Christ. He said he’s been to two other Holy Lands: Rome and Ireland, but this is his first trip to the real Holy Land. Cardinal Seán will be preaching this trip like a retreat for the priests.
Fr. Mark also noted that today would have been his father’s birthday and his father died this past January.
Scot said today’s guest is Sr. Pat Boyle, who has worked in the Pastoral Center for the past few months, but has worked in the Archdiocese of Boston for years as a pastoral associate at St. Ann’s in Quincy. Fr. Mark said Sr. Pat now works with Fr. Paul Soper in the Pastoral Planning office. Sr. Pat said she’s worked on the pastoral associate advisory board for as long as she’s been a pastoral associate. The board provides an encouraging presence to the pastoral associates.
Sr. Pat grew up in the Forest Hills neighborhood of Jamaica Plain. She’s one of five children. Her father died when she was young and so was raised by her mother. In elementary school, she had the Sisters of St. Joseph and then later at high school. She knew from a young age that she wanted to be one of them. It was their way of life, their joy, and their outreach that drew her in. They had an impact on her as a child and she wanted to be like them.
Sr. Pat said her sponsor, Sr. Ann Marie Mazzone, stood out as the happiest. She was the cook in the rectory. She said was a real dynamo and everybody loved her.
Scot noted that the Sisters of St. Joseph are a diocesan order so they generally stay local and many of the sisters grew up in Boston. Sr. Pat has been able to be in religious life with Sisters that she had as teachers and later lived in community with them. They also connect to the wider Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph throughout the world.
Fr. Mark asked about the charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph. They describe themselves as a congregation with an emphasis on unity and reconciliation. They try to live the prayer that “they all may be one.” They work to bring people together in places that need unity. They have teachers, retreat leaders, those working with immigrants, working in technology, social services, and more.
Sister started as an elementary school teacher in St. John the Evangelist in Canton, after five years in formation. She described the habits they wore at the time and then the modified habit. They discussed the changes that came about after Vatican II and how they had gone back into their founding documents to rediscover their purpose. They found that they were to dress like a woman of the day, but even so today people can pick her out of a crowd as a religious sister.
After three years in Canton, sister moved to St. Raphael’s in Medford for 7 years then three years in St. Catherine’s in Charlestown. After that she became vocation director, where she had the privilege of helping people explore their potential and desire for religious life. From there she did graduate studies at Boston College and then came to work at the Office of Spiritual Development for 11 years. Then she went to St. Ann’s in Quincy as a pastoral associate and from there to her current position.
Scot asked Sr. Pat what a pastoral associate does. She said they work in connection with the priest or priests in the parish. Their responsibilities vary. Some may have responsibility for faith formation. Others work with liturgical ministers. Some visit with sick and homebound or grieving. Some work with baptism teams and work with new parents. It’s determined by the pastoral associates conversation with the hiring pastor. Cardinal Seán has promulgated a new certification process for pastoral associates to ensure they’re competent for the work in the parish.
Fr. Mark said the Tribunal is relying on certified pastoral associates. The Tribunal certifies them separately to do marriage work, especially with declarations of nullity. These are pastoral associates in the parish who have been trained in the processes and paperwork.
Sr. Pat said she loved being in the weekend liturgies at St. Ann’s because she loved getting the flavor of the whole parish and connecting with all the people. She especially loved the children’s liturgy program.
She said St. Ann’s has a strong sense of family. People enjoy being together. They are a very faith-filled people of diverse ages.
Scot noted that while she was at St. Ann’s, Sr. Pat was named a member of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Planning Commission and then was later asked to come and be part of the Pastoral Planning Office. Sr. Pat said it was difficult to leave St. Ann’s. She still feels like a woman without a country. She wants to be a part of a parish. Once you leave a parish it’s hard to go back. When she goes to Mass she no longer feels the same tie.
Fr. Mark said Sr. Pat was loved by Quincy and she loved them back. He said that the charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph is perfectly matched to the new job where so much disharmony will be involved in the new pastoral collaborative process.
Sr. Pat said she feels called since being in her new job to be more intentional about her faith life. If we can help the people in the pews to be more intentional about living their faith, they will be the evangelizers who bring the message out to other people. She said she prays every day, but is more intentional about it. She tells herself that she is going to be listening to what God has to say to her today about how to live her life. There is a more conscious awareness about it. She’s also trying to reach into her activities and attitudes during her day, especially while driving. She’s trying to be more aware of her words and behaviors as a witness to Christ.
Scot has related how putting a WQOM bumper sticker on his car has made him more aware of his witness while he drives. He’s also been more intentional about what he listens to on the radio and on his iPhone, whether spiritual books or Christian music, especially during Lent. Sister said one her sisters prays the rosary while she drives and calms her down and makes her less aggressive.
Scot asked about the implementation of Phase 1 of the Disciples in Mission pastoral plan. They’re waiting for the last pastors to be named and that should happen in next week’s Pilot. They’re preparing the eight-day training session for the eight new pastors. Then those pastors will move into the new parishes on June 4 and the new collaboratives will begin July 1. At the end of October the new pastors will be forming new pastoral teams and new parish councils.
Sister said people should check out the DisciplesinMission.com or read the Pilot. If they have questions, they can call Sr. Pat at 617-746-5689. Sister said she and Fr. Paul are willing to go anywhere to talk to anyone about this process. They have re-instituted parish consultations for when a new pastor is going to be assigned so that they can elicit what qualities parishes would like to move them from where they are now to where they hope to be.
Sr. Pat said much of the feedback in the parish consultations has been positive rather than negative because people welcome the ability to be able to share. Sister said in her 49-1/2 years of religious life, she hasn’t seen the engagement of people at all levels willing to share their wisdom. This is the movement of the Holy Spirit within the Archdiocese. People have been educated in their faith, have had good experiences in their parishes,and all of that has touched people in their faith life to help them to see they have something to say.
Sister said the time when just priests and sisters did the work has passed. There are many more laity who are willing to offer their expertise to help the work of the Church.
Now as we do every week at this time, we will consider the Mass readings for this Sunday, specifically the Gospel reading.
- First Reading for the Second Sunday of Easter, Acts 5:12-16
Many signs and wonders were done among the people
at the hands of the apostles.
They were all together in Solomon’s portico.
None of the others dared to join them, but the people esteemed them.
Yet more than ever, believers in the Lord,
great numbers of men and women, were added to them.
Thus they even carried the sick out into the streets
and laid them on cots and mats
so that when Peter came by,
at least his shadow might fall on one or another of them.
A large number of people from the towns
in the vicinity of Jerusalem also gathered,
bringing the sick and those disturbed by unclean spirits,
and they were all cured.
- Gospel for the Second Sunday of Easter, April 7, 2013, John 20:19-31
On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”
Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve,
was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”
But he said to them,
“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands
and put my finger into the nailmarks
and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
Now a week later his disciples were again inside
and Thomas was with them.
Jesus came, although the doors were locked,
and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands,
and bring your hand and put it into my side,
and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”
Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples
that are not written in this book.
But these are written that you may come to believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that through this belief you may have life in his name.
Scot said Fr. Mark will be in the upper room from the Gospel in about a week. Fr. Mark said he’s hoping it’s a moment for a revelation for him as well. Scot said we all have doubts sometimes. Sr. Pat said it’s part of being human. She said she remembers learning as a child that we should praise at the moment of the elevation of the Eucharist at the consecration we should pray, “My Lord and my God.” It comes out of those moments of doubt where we need to remember my Lord and my God.
Scot said his wife and son went to the Holy Land last year and there isn’t one of these Gospels that don’t remind them of those tangible moments there. He said Fr. Mark and his brother priests will help us to look at it in a new way.