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LYNNFIELD -- “I know it might sound odd, being a teen, but I love being involved in church and going to Mass,” said Kyle Lawless, 18, parishioner at St. Maria Goretti Parish.
“I love to thank God for what I have -- for my family, my house, my friends -- and to pray for people who don’t have what I have,” he continued.
Lawless, a senior at Lynnfield High School, is very involved in his parish. He, his parents and two younger sisters attend Mass every week. In addition, he has been an altar server since the fifth grade, and is currently a lector. He also volunteers at the church whenever he is needed -- setting up Christmas trees during Advent, maintaining the grounds during the summer.
“St. Maria’s is a really warm, great place where different people in Lynnfield and around here come together to be a community,” Lawless said.
Lawless believes his parish is the wonderful place it is because of his pastor, Father Thomas Powers.
“He is a great pastor,” he said. “Much of the greatness of our church is due to him.”
Lawless said Father Powers “connects with everyone,” making seniors, adults, teens and children “all feel like they really belong here.”
“You hear a lot of bad things in the press about priests, but when you meet someone like Father Powers, you forget all about that,” he added.
“He also does a lot of good things that no one knows about,” Lawless said.
For example, Lawless had to have shoulder surgery recently and, having never undergone an operation, he was a bit worried. The night before the surgery, Father Powers called him on the phone.
“He said he would say a little prayer for me,” recalled Lawless. “He didn’t have to do that. He just did it because he knew that I was a little nervous and he knew that would help me. And it did.”
In addition to his involvement in St. Maria’s, Lawless is the president of his senior class. He is also on the school’s lacrosse team and runs track, and before the shoulder injury he played football.
Thinking ahead to next year, Lawless is planning to study either political science or business, although he is not sure which college he will be attending. One thing he is sure of, though, is that he wants to stay involved in his faith.
“I want to be a part of the Catholic Church on the campus,” he said, adding that it is important to him to continue to nurture the faith he has been given through his family and his parish community.
“To me faith is to believe that there is a God that loves us all,” he said. “I feel that to have faith means that we need to give back to those who are less fortunate, either by praying for them or by doing something to help them.”