Richard and Rosemary Martinez pictured in St. Christine Church following a Mass celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. Pilot photo/ Courtesy Richard and Rosemary Martinez
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MARSHFIELD -- Rosemary Martinez has been attending Mass at St. Christine Parish since before there was a church building.
“Our parish started out as a barn,” she told The Pilot.
Until the 1940s, Catholics in Marshfield attended one of two churches: St. Mary Parish in Scituate or St. Teresa Chapel in Marshfield -- a summer mission chapel. Because of the large numbers of families, Father Edmund Moran, the first pastor of St. Christine Parish, began to look for a suitable place to worship, she explained. He found a barn that had been used as an antique shop, and there St. Christine Parish was born.
“It was quite a sight -- especially at Christmastime with the hay and the crèche, it was marvelous,” recalled Martinez.
Until the 1960s, parishioners of St. Christine’s celebrated in the barn, until a more permanent building was built in its current Marshfield Hills location.
Celebrating Mass in such an unconventional environment led parishioners to become quite close, Martinez said. And although the barn is long gone -- it is now a residential property -- the close-knit family feeling remains.
“I can’t tell you what a wonderful parish it is,” she said. “It’s a treat to go there.”
Martinez lauded the parish choir, led by director Meri-Lee Mafera, in particular.
“I think it’s the best choir on the South Shore,” she said. “It’s such a joy to listen to that choir.”
Together with her husband of 50 years, Richard Martinez, she attends Mass almost every day turday, once in the morning and once for the vigil Mass.
“When you go there every day, you get to know everyone. And if you’re not in the pew -- and you’re not supposed to change your seat, you know -- then people check in on you and make sure you’re doing OK,” Martinez added with a chuckle.
Martinez, 77, was born in Augusta, Maine. She moved to Marshfield when she first married because her husband had a fondness for the town he had summered in as a child.
“Ever since we moved here, we’ve been going to St. Christine’s,” she said.
For years both Richard and Rosemary Martinez worked as teachers in the Marshfield public schools. Together they raised four children.
In addition to her involvement in the parish, Martinez is also a doting grandmother of eight grandchildren.
“It’s extraordinary how enjoyable being a grandmother is,” she remarked.
She is also involved in a cabaret production at the Hingham Community Center, where she has performed since its inception in 1962.
For Martinez, faith has been an anchor in her life.
According to Martinez, the parishioners at St. Christine Parish not only care for each other, but for the larger community as well.
Several parish programs, such as the Giving Tree at Christmastime, Baby Showers for the unborn, and a prayer shawl group that knits sweaters for members of the armed forces overseas, enable parishioners to reach out and help others in need.
“I just love St. Christine’s, mainly because of the people,” Martinez said. “We are very much a parish family.”