St. Francis

Fr. Seán Maher, Administrator, St. Francis Parish

June 2016 to current

To learn more about Fr. Maher, click on link to Lowell Sun article

"You Have a Home Here" (scroll down)


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Fr. Maher's Weekly Bulletin Columns




Father Maher's Bulletin Column about Mass Changes
Hello Everyone,
Grace and peace from our Lord Jesus Christ to you all!
I want to thank all of you who shared your thoughts and ideas about the Mass times with me or with the members of our Parish Pastoral Council.  It really has been beneficial to the process, and has led to us making changes to our thinking.  I want to thank the PPC members themselves, and the Lord Whose guidance we sought in Eucharistic Adoration at the beginning of our meeting on Monday.
As anticipated, we will make no change to the 4pm on Saturday.  The first change we will make will be when the 5pm Mass stops for the summer months.  There were several requests for an evening Mass during the summer months, and so we will introduce a 7pm Mass for the month of June, and depending on how well attended that is, we will continue it for the remainder of the summer.  Regardless of how it goes during the summer, we will have a 7pm Mass in place of the 5pm during the academic year.  To my surprise, many current 5pm attendees also requested this.  Nonetheless, it will necessitate changes to our confirmation and youth ministry programs, and possibly to music as well.  The thought at the PPC meeting was that during the summer, we might not have music at the 7pm but definitely want to have it back for the Fall, when the youth activities start up again.
The next change we will make will be in September to bring the 10am and 11:30am Masses together at 10:30am.  It might have been better to make this change at the same time as adding the 7pm Mass but we don't have the means to consult with those who have booked Mass intentions on the current schedule during the summer (one of those Mass intentions could have been moved to the 7pm Mass).  The vast majority of feedback that we received from you suggested bringing these two Masses together for a 10:30am or an 11am Mass (with 10:30am being the most suggested).  We considered a number of factors here, including the coffee and donuts (after an 11am was considered too late to do this, and putting on a brunch too expensive).  
There was less feedback, but perhaps more debate, about what to do with the 8am.  A common response was to change the Masses to an 8:30am and a 10:30am.  This idea has a lot of merit.  That could be ideal timing to have an educational program between Masses, allowing attendance at either Mass with the program.  Many people felt that it would be good to change all the Masses so that no group of Mass attendees felt that it was only their Mass that was affected while others were not.  Several people expressed a preference for a 7am, and perhaps no music (which had existed in the past).  In the end, we decided to keep it at 8am, which was itself a compromise between the old 7am and 8:30am Masses.
From September, one of the Sunday morning Masses will be a multiple intentioned Mass, which canon law allows, and which will help to make sure everyone who wants the book a Mass can do so.  Oftentimes, when people are trying the book a Mass around the first anniversary of the death of a loved one, there has been none available.  As a practical matter, we will probably cap the number of intentions at the multiple intentioned Mass.  We are unsure whether it is best to have this Mass be the 8am (which would help ensure a more balanced Mass attendance) or the 10:30am (which we think could occasionally get crowded if there were a lot of Mass intentions for recently deceased).  Once again, your feedback is welcome.  With this matter settled, we expect to be booking Mass intentions for 2018 (which we had postponed until the new schedule was worked out) right after Easter.
Finally, this schedule could all change again, particularly if or when we enter a pastoral collaborative with Saint Michael's parish (we are still awaiting confirmation of this previous plan).
Thank you and God bless you all,
Father Maher
Read more about Fr. Maher,
Dec. 2016 article by Todd Feathers in The Lowell Sun
"Time to begin again: You Have a Home Here"
Listen to Fr. Maher's Christmas Homily 2016,
which has an inspiring year-round message 


 Fr. Maher can be reached at 978-452-6611 or email