Linda Daley is pictured with her husband, Richard, and her two sons Nicholas and Richie. Pilot photo courtesy/ The Daleys
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NORWELL -- The need to pass the faith onto the next generation is a value Linda Daley holds close to her heart.
As director of religious education for St. Helen Mother of the Emperor Constantine parish in Norwell, Daley has the formidable task of setting a curriculum which will enable the youngest of parishioners to have an encounter with God.
“I want to make religious education both fun and educational,” said Daley. “My hope is that they get to know a kind and loving God.”
Daley, 52, acknowledged that teaching religious education can often be very challenging.
“Religion is tough nowadays. Too often it is put on the back burner,” she said, noting that the curriculum at St. Helen’s is geared to make children “feel good about their faith.”
One of the ways the parish does that is by incorporating community service into the religious education program at all grade levels. Children as young as six participate in service projects that invite them “to live the message of the Gospel.”
“This way, it becomes more than just bookwork,” she said.
Perhaps her favorite example of this faith in action is the parish’s involvement in the Catholic Heart Workcamp.
Last year, 25 teens and their chaperones traveled to Newark, N.J. to participate in the week-long service trip during which volunteers helped residents of poverty-stricken neighborhoods by doing whatever was needed -- painting, building, cleaning.
“The feedback was so positive we decided to do it again this year,” she said, adding that this year’s group has grown to 40 young people.
Daley said she and her husband of 27 years Richard Daley, have been parishioners at St. Helen’s since 1986.
She praised her pastor, Father Thomas Maguire, for his ability to bring the parish community together.
“He has a lot of vision for this parish, and a lot of hope,” she said, noting that he has created many new opportunities for parishioners to socialize and get to know one another.
“He has led us to see that going to St. Helen’s is more than just going to Mass, it’s being a member of a community,” she said.
Originally from Norwood, Daley was raised in a Catholic family, although she admits that her commitment to the Church really blossomed after she had her two sons, now ages 21 and 16.
“Once we had kids, it just became what we did, and I am very glad we did it,” she said with a smile. “We always thought it was very important for our boys to have a strong foundation in their faith, and in return it has become for us the foundation of our lives from which we build everything on.”
St. Helen Mother of the Emperor Constantine Parish, Norwell
Year established -- 1950
Pastor -- Father Thomas H. Maguire
Religious Education Director -- Linda Daley, Jeanne Cregan
Music Director -- William Bernardi
Organist -- Eleanor Larson