The Holy Season of Christmas
To the Editor:
My dear friends in Christ, close your eyes, fold your hands. For a moment let your sorrow fade. Why, oh, why are you afraid? Has this world stripped you of your faith?
Close your eyes and on bend knee, listen to an angel pray and once again prepare the way so you’ll see a Gift that’s given.
For you, a time of Joy! Behold, a baby boy! – from Good News by Avalon
The holy season of Christmas is almost upon us, a season of hope and joy. The Advent journey we’ve been on has called us to repentance and preparation, and now we stand just outside of the great city of Bethlehem, ready to meet our Savior.
This year has been so very hard for so many of us, but through it all, our faith has given us the courage and the stamina to make it through. It has brought about great pain and loss, but it has also brought about extraordinary courage and compassion- we have seen it manifest itself in the doctors and nurses and frontline workers who selflessly offered themselves to save lives, give comfort and bring hope. We saw it in scientists and technicians who worked long hours to discover the light at the end of this long tunnel- a vaccine that soon will bring an end to this nightmare and allow us to dream of what the coming year may bring to us all- to be with those we love again, to make plans for the future confidently, to be together again.
We also saw it in one another- how we reached out to one another, embraced technology that gave us new ways to share the moments in our lives, found ways around and through the challenges that faced us along the way, and came to see that even though we were physically distant, our faith, hope and love connected us- Christ was present in us, through us, with us. We opened our churches, shared and taught the timeless truths of our faith through Zoom, reached out to those in need, anointed the sick, and buried too many people, but we also celebrated baptisms, first communions, Confirmations, and even rejoiced in weddings. I saw it every day as our Collaborative staff and community reached out, following protocols, using the technology, innovating, all the while understanding why we needed to protect not only ourselves but one another. It’s been different, and at times it’s been frustrating, but we held the torch of our faith high, and we look to a brighter 2021 with renewed hope- ever looking up and looking ahead. And now… Christmas.
As we rejoice in the birth of our Savior, we understand how different this Christmas is. So many of the members of our Collaborative family cannot be with us- please know that through your prayers, you are present… we miss you, but we understand. If you feel in anyway unsure, please do not feel obligated to attend. We will be live streaming the Christmas Eve Mass from OLG at 4 pm on our Facebook page. The Cardinal’s suspension of the obligation to attend Mass remains.
If you can join us, please keep in mind that we will follow all the guidelines of keeping each other safe. Both churches have a limit of 70 people- if we go over the limit, there will be seating downstairs- the 4 pm Mass in both parishes will be shown on a screen in the halls, and a Eucharistic Minister will distribute communion. As we have done every weekend, names will be taken in the interest of contact tracing, temperatures will be taken, and masks are mandatory. Ushers will help keep the social distancing, and we sincerely ask everyone’s cooperation and understanding- soon we will be free- but not yet- there’s too much at stake.
As we look up and look ahead at the star and the bright promise of a new year, I express my sincere gratitude to Linda DeCristoforo and our incredible staff, Frs. Michael, Tom & Brian, Deacon Xavi and seminarian Sean, Bros. Jay-Ar and Jonathan, members of our committees, faith formation teachers, ministers and lectors, musicians and so many people who help make our Collaborative the blessing that it is. I pray that 2021 brings new hope, new joy and new blessings for you and your family, our collaborative, and the world. Please keep in touch with us via Facebook, email, our web page and YouTube.
Have a merry Christmas and a blessed New Year- look up, look ahead.
Yours in Christ,
Fr. John Sheridan, Pastor
Morning Star Catholic Collaborative
Our Lady of Grace, Chelsea/Everett
St. Mary of the
Christmas Mass Schedule
2 pm St. Mary’s
4 pm Our Lady of Grace
Live streamed on our Facebook page
4 pm St. Mary’s
7 pm Our Lady of Grace in Kreyol
8 am Our Lady of Grace
9:30 am St. Mary’s
11 am Our Lady of Grace
The Christmas collection will benefit the Clergy trust fund.
Please give generously. Thank you!
Congratulations, Dr. Walensky
To the Editor:
On behalf of the entire Mass General family and with enormous pride and admiration, we congratulate Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH, chief of Infectious Diseases at Mass General, on her appointment as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). President-Elect Joseph Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris yesterday announced the members of the leadership team who will be shaping, overseeing, improving and ensuring the health, well-being and safety of our nation. Dr. Walensky will be an integral part of this national health executive team, whose first and most pressing challenge will be directing and implementing the United States’ response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
A Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and the Steve and Deborah Gorlin MGH Research Scholar 2015-2020, Dr. Walensky is an inspired choice for this top public health role. She is an accomplished clinician, scientist and educator who will bring creativity and boldness, wisdom and compassion to her new role. Committed to equity and fairness, Dr. Walensky has been a relentless advocate for ensuring that the highest quality healthcare is accessible and available to underserved communities, a priority that has defined her leadership in the Mass General Division of Infectious Diseases.
For the past 10 months, Dr. Walensky has been leading and supporting staff in her division as they battle against COVID-19. She has played a critical role advising Mass General and the Mass General Brigham system in all aspects of understanding, controlling, treating and preventing the virus. At the state level, she has served on Gov. Baker’s COVID-19 Advisory Board, shaping key decisions and actions. She also has helped both the medical community and the public sort through changing guidelines and conflicting information, co-authoring more than a dozen COVID-related papers, organizing infectious disease leaders across Boston to publish a series of important op-ed pieces, and reaching millions as a medical analyst on CNN.
Dr. Walensky is internationally recognized for her work in the field of HIV/AIDS. She has pushed U.S. and global policy toward routine HIV screening and promoted the idea of HIV treatment as prevention. As the first investigator to assess the survival benefits of AIDS treatment, Dr. Walensky, through her fierce advocacy, helped increase investment in research and treatment. She is a past chair of the National Institutes of Health’s Office of AIDS Research Advisory Council.
When she takes the reins of the CDC this January, Dr. Walensky will lead a federal agency responsible for protecting and guiding the nation’s public health and safety. Headquartered in Atlanta, the CDC is part of the Department of Health and Human Services, with more than 10,000 employees and a budget of approximately $12 billion. The CDC coordinates, supports and funds a vast range of programs including immunization, HIV/AIDS, emerging infectious diseases, environmental health, disease prevention, injury prevention, and public health preparedness and response.
Dr. Walensky holds an undergraduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis, a medical degree from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and a master’s in public health from the Harvard School of Public Health. She trained in internal medicine at Hopkins and in infectious diseases in the MGH/BWH combined fellowship program. She and her husband, Loren Walensky, MD, PhD, a physician-scientist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Boston Children’s Hospital, are the parents of three sons.
In Dr. Walensky, the new administration has chosen a fearless, brilliant and compassionate ally who will give her all to protect and advance the health of our nation — just as she has done for patients, colleagues and the community at Mass General.
Peter L. Slavin, MD
Mass General President
Timothy G. Ferris, MD
Katrina Armstrong, MD