BRAINTREE -- The Archdiocese of Boston shifted gears in June to support priests assigned to collaborative parishes in the first phase of the new pastoral plan.
Father Paul Soper, director of the Office of Pastoral Planning, went out on June 4 to begin his work supporting the collaborative parishes and their 12 pastors.
"My whole job now becomes going out and being in the collaboratives for these coming months, mostly to be certain that the mechanism of support that we have set up from the Pastoral Center for the collaboratives is working," Father Soper said.
In phase one implementation of the plan, "Disciples in Mission: A Pastoral Plan for the Archdiocese of Boston," 28 parishes in Belmont, Beverly, Billerica, Brookline, Jamaica Plain, Lakeville, Lynn, Lynnfield, Methuen, Middleboro, Newton, Roxbury, Salem, and Weymouth received 12 pastors to serve collaborative parishes in these towns.
Pastors of the collaborative parishes are:
-- Father Thomas A. Mahoney, pastor at St. Luke and St. Joseph in Belmont;
-- Father Mark A. Mahoney, pastor at St. Mary, St. Margaret and St. John in Beverly;
-- Father Shawn W. Allen, pastor at St. Mary, St. Theresa and St. Andrew in Billerica;
-- Father Brian Clary, pastor at St. Mary in Brookline;
-- Father Carlos Flor, pastor at St. Mary of the Angels in Roxbury and St. Thomas and Our Lady of Lourdes in Jamaica Plain;
-- Father Brian L. Flynn, pastor at St. Mary and Sacred Heart in Lynn;
-- Father Paul E. Ritt, pastor at Our Lady of the Assumption and St. Maria Goretti in Lynnfield;
-- Msgr. William P. Fay, pastor at St. Lucy and St. Monica in Methuen;
-- Father John E. Sheridan, pastor at Sacred Heart in Middleborough and Rochester and Sts. Martha and Mary in Lakeville;
-- Father John E. Sassani, pastor at Sacred Heart and Our Lady Help of Christians in Newton;
-- Father Daniel J. Riley, pastor at St. James, St. John, Immaculate Conception and St. Anne in Salem; and
-- Father Joseph M. Rossi, pastor at St. Jerome and Immaculate Conception in Weymouth.
"The whole diocese is praying for them every day, and praying for the exciting work that they are doing," Father Soper said.
On June 4, Father Soper visited parishes in the northern part of the archdiocese: Billerica, Methuen, Lynn, Lynnfield, and Beverly. He planned to visit Salem parishes the next day.
Sister Patricia Boyle, CSJ, associate director of the Office of Pastoral Planning, visited parishes mainly in the south and western areas: Weymouth, Jamaica Plain and Roxbury, Newton, and Belmont.
Father Soper said a collaborative parish in Brookline and one group of collaborative parishes covering Middleborough, Lakeville and Rochester will receive visits later in the week.
"We have very positive hopes for these pastors going forward," he said.
At the parishes visited so far the office gave each pastor an icon of St. John Vianney -- patron St. of priests or an icon of Christ -- as the Good Shepherd, and an icon of one of the 12 apostles -- including Matthias.
"In many ways we are sort of borrowing our vision for these collaboratives on the work of the 12 apostles, which is intentioned to go make disciples of all nations," Father Soper said.