George and Betty Jackson of St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Braintree. Courtesy photo
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BRAINTREE -- You name it, George Jackson has built it.
A parishioner at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Braintree, Jackson is known in his parish as someone his pastor, Father Kevin Sepe, can turn to when he wants something to be built.
“I like doing woodwork and Father Sepe found that out,” he said with a laugh.
This year alone, Jackson has built three benches for the Holy Thursday rite of the Washing of the Feet, a holder for the parish crucifix for the Adoration of the Cross on Good Friday, a “fancy wooden cover” for the sacrarium and is currently working on making a dolly for the parish paschal candle.
“Father appreciates it so much,” he said, “and I really enjoy working with my hands.”
George credits much of his involvement in the parish to his wife of 14 years, Betty Jackson.
George went on to explain how, at the age of 60, “God moved me right across the street from [Betty].”
Never married, George admits marriage was the farthest thing from his mind when he first met Betty. Nevertheless, it didn’t take long before the couple was wed.
“God is the master planner,” he laughed.
“Her faith has grown on me,” he said. “My wife was widowed with five children -- the youngest of whom was six months, and to live through that made her quite a strong woman and a faithful woman. I just hope that’s rubbing off on me.”
For Betty, her faith is what has kept her strong throughout her life.
Widowed twice, she raised her five children at St. Francis, often turning to her faith for the support she needed to get her through the difficult moments.
“Anytime I’ve had any problems, that’s what I have always fallen back on my faith. I wouldn’t know how to live without it.”
A cradle Catholic who fondly remembers being taught by the Sisters of Notre Dame, Betty is a daily communicant at St. Francis of Assisi.
“I love St. Francis,” Betty added. “It’s a very warm and caring community.”
“Going there every morning makes me feel like I have an added family,” she said.
She added, “When someone isn’t there, you check up on them. That’s really nice.”
Betty is currently involved in the parish bereavement committee and is in charge of scheduling the extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion and the lectors. She and George also help maintain a traffic island sponsored by the parish.
Both Betty and George lauded Father Sepe.
“Father Sepe is just marvelous,” Betty said.
George agreed. “He’s really quite good at explaining everything in laymen’s terms. He’s also wonderful at scooping up volunteers, which only helps you to grow your own faith in the end.”
St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Braintree
Year established -- 1903
Pastor -- Father Kevin Sepe
Parochial Vicar -- Father Darin Colarusso
In residence -- Father Mark O’Connell
Senior Deacon -- Florian F. Yanikoski
Pastoral Associate -- Linda Muldoon
Religious Education Director -- Margaret Donaher
Business Manager -- Rick Timmerman
Parish Secretary -- Patty Kinnally
Organist -- Judy Roberts
Elementary School Principal -- Vittoria DeBenedictis