Francis and Mary Jesch Pilot photo/ Courtesy the Jeschs
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FRAMINGHAM -- As Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley often says: “Vocations are everybody’s business.”
At St. Bridget Parish in Framingham, Francis and Mary Jesch have taken that call to heart. Four years ago, the couple became the parish’s Vocation Awareness Program coordinators.
In order to create a community of people all praying for an increase in vocations, the Jesches have set up posters inviting everyone to pray for vocations. The parish has also recently celebrated Priesthood Appreciation Sunday, where parishioners were given prayer cards and spiritual bouquets for the Year for Priests.
But perhaps the most dynamic aspect of the Vocation Awareness program is the “Vocations Chalice.”
Each week, a family from the parish takes the chalice to their home. They are then invited to pray for an increase in vocations both at St. Bridget’s and throughout the archdiocese.
“We have been blessed to have so many of our parishioners volunteer to take the chalice for a week to pray for vocations,” Mary said.
Because of their involvement in vocation awareness, they also were asked to be charter members of Serra Boston, a nonprofit organization whose aim is to assist lay people in promoting vocations.
“(The Serra Club) is going to be a wonderful blessing for the archdiocese,” Francis said.
According to Mary, the success of the vocation awareness programs at St. Bridget’s is largely due to the support and encouragement of their pastor, Msgr. Francis Strahan.
Msgr. Strahan, they said, witnesses to the joys for the priesthood in the way he lives his own vocation.
“Msgr. Strahan is wonderful,” she said. “He’s so compassionate.”
“He has a great sense of humor,” added Francis. “He has a great spirituality and is a great speaker.”
“He loves being a priest. He just loves it,” she continued.
Francis and Mary have been parishioners at St. Bridget’s since they married, 17 years ago. In addition to their involvement in the Vocation Awareness Program, they are the self-described “relief pitchers” of the choir, helping out when the regular organist and cantor are unavailable. Francis is also a member of the parish pastoral council.
Although the couple never had children, they count themselves as “blessed to have shared other people’s children,” as Mary said, both through teaching religious education, and by volunteering at the parish CYO.
Cradle Catholics, the couple sees that their faith is an anchor in their marriage.
“I think that’s why our marriage works well,” said Francis. “Our faith is just everything in our lives.”
“The most important relationship I have is with the Lord,” added Mary. “Our faith just puts our whole lives into perspective.”
St. Bridget Parish, Framingham
Year established -- 1878
Pastor -- Msgr. Francis V. Strahan
Parochial Vicars -- Father Thomas P. Rossi, Father Peter H. Shen
Pastoral Associates -- Elizabeth Mingolelli, Barbara Conlin
Religious Ed. Directors -- Gail Barbato, Marguerite Tibbert
Business Manager -- Maria S. Sebastian
Music Director -- Ann O’Brien