Mary Toomey Courtesy photo
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WOBURN -- Mary Toomey can be seen at her parish, St. Joseph in Woburn, just about every day.
A regular at daily Mass, she was asked to be the first female lector of the parish in 1963, a ministry she continues today. Several years later, she was asked to be one of the first female Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, a ministry she also continues to the present.
In addition, Toomey cantors at funerals and weddings. She coordinates the schedule for the parish’s Vocations cross -- a cross that a different parish family places in their home each week to help them pray for an increase in vocations. Toomey prays the rosary with a small group of parishioners every day before the daily Mass. She volunteers to bring Holy Communion to the sick in the hospital and the shut-ins in their homes. And the list goes on.
“My faith means so much to me,” she said.
Raised Catholic, Toomey has had trials in her life that could have led her away from the faith. Instead, they brought her closer to it.
In 1972, one of her children was accidentally struck and killed by a car; nine years later, her youngest son died of leukemia. Just a few years after that, Toomey lost her husband to cancer as well.
“It it weren’t for my faith, I wouldn’t have survived -- really and truly,” she said pensively.
“I’ve accepted what God had planned for me,” she added.
Toomey says her parish helped her to get through all the difficulties.
“We’re close, like a family,” she said. “And like a family, we always seem to gather around someone when that person has a problem.”
“We’re a very warm parish, and I enjoy being a part of it,” continued Toomey.
Toomey praised her pastor, Father Harold LeBlanc, for his ability to explain the faith to everyone.
“He is excellent in weddings and funerals because he explains what it is that is going on,” she said. “It is really great how he does that.”
Toomey first became a parishioner at St. Joseph’s in 1963, shortly after she was married. Originally from Boston, Toomey credits her father’s mother with giving her a firm foundation in her faith. She recalled how her grandmother would often take her into Mission Church in Roxbury and explain to her the significance of her faith.
“I know the value of the Mass. I know the value of prayer, and I am very grateful that I was given this faith from my birth,” she said.
St. Joseph Parish, Woburn
Year established -- 1906
Pastor -- Father Harold LeBlanc
Religious Education Director -- Donna Ingham
Music Director -- Marion Murphy
Youth Minister -- Marion Murphy