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LYNNFIELD -- For the past 18 years, Arthur Wood has faithfully been the head custodian for Our Lady of the Assumption Parish. At times, he has worked in the parish school, but primarily he works to ensure his church is a beautiful place to worship -- and he does it with a heart full of love.
“I’m in charge of the entire parish under Father [John] Farrell’s command,” he said with pride.
“Everyone here -- from the parish secretary to the parents at the school -- is just great,” added Wood.
He praised his pastor, Father Farrell.
“You couldn’t ask for a better guy,” said Wood. “He’s very smart, but he can come down to your level.”
Wood describes Father Farrell as a “caring and understanding” pastor whose ability to relate to others is “excellent.” For example, said Wood, Father Farrell speaks to children during the children’s liturgy in a way that helps them understand the Gospels and yet, the children do not feel they are being spoken down to.
“He’s a peach of a guy,” said Wood.
“Even though he’s only a few years older than me, I consider him a father,” he added.
Attending Our Lady of the Assumption Parish is something Wood has been doing since he was a young child.
“I’ve been coming here right from the start,” the 60-year-old parishioner declared.
“I remember as a kid when we could just cross the road to go to church,” he said smiling. “That ‘road’ is now Route 1,” one of the major thoroughfares of the North Shore.
According to Wood, his mother’s devotion to her faith was transmitted to him throughout his life.
“When I was a kid, getting a missalette in Latin and English was considered to be a wonderful present for us children,” he recalled.
In addition, Wood credits the priests that have staffed his parish throughout the years for building up his faith.
“My faith has definitely grown because of the priests here,” he said.
In particular, Wood credits a former pastor with bringing his wife into the Church. Renee Wood, his wife of 32 years, was raised a Protestant. Although she agreed to raise their two daughters in the Catholic faith, sending them to the parish parochial school, she herself did not enter into full communion with the Church until the couple had been married for several years.
“That was an amazing time for me, seeing us all attending Mass together,’’ Wood said.
Aside from being the head custodian at the parish, he is also a Peabody firefighter.
For Wood, his faith colors everything he does, inside and outside the parish.
“I believe wholeheartedly in our Lord,” he said. “He answers all our prayers.”