Today marked the beginning of the Easter Triduum in the Catholic Church. It also marked the return of the St. Francis parish, Belmont to their church compound. They were put out of their Church building about five years ago because it was thought to be unsafe. Since then, they have celebrated the highest form of worship – the Holy Mass – in the driveway of their church yard and under tents.
About a year ago when restoration work was being done on the church building, they were once again asked to move from the driveway because of OSHA regulations. Thankfully, the Dominican nuns at Holy Name Convent opened the doors of their chapel to the parish and that is where most weekend masses were celebrated.
In his sermon, Fr. Thomas Lawson, parish priest, thanked the nuns of Holy Name Convent for their generosity in opening their doors to the parish community. He was also high in praise to the Carmelite nuns of St. Jude’s Home who facilitated the parish on some occasions. Fr. Lawson thanked those who freely and generously gave of their time, treasure and talent, contributing to the successful opening of the pastoral center.
Fr. Thom (as he is more affectionately called) welcomed the parish home and assured them that the journey has only just begun. “WE have completed the building of the pastoral center,” he said. “We must now focus on rebuilding the spiritual life of the parish through service to the community.” He said, “Just as Jesus served, we too are called to serve each other. We are called to be a community of love for there are broken people here and we must reach out to them,” said Fr. Thom. He also said that there are people in the community in need of love, and we must use the one thing that we all have to reach them – that is our hearts filled with love.
Today’s celebration was attended by some three hundred and fifty parishioners who started gathering as early as 5:15PM for the 6:30PM celebration. Another crowd is also expected for the Good Friday part of the Triduum.