Joe and Hillary Kushi with the children David and Ben. Pilot photo/ Courtesy The Kushi family
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MARLBOROUGH -- Making the decision to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church is a process Hillary Kushi knows about first-hand.
After several years of marriage to her husband Joe, a cradle Catholic, and having two children, Hillary decided to take that step.
“Having two young children really made me start thinking about my faith, and about what I wanted to pass onto them,” recalled Hillary.
She turned to Father Francis O’Brien, pastor of St. Matthias parish in Marlborough -- the parish she and Joe had been attending for years, and began the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) program in her parish.
Last year, at the Easter Vigil, Hillary Kushi, 42, became Catholic.
“The parishioners were so very welcoming,” she recalled. “People were very encouraging to me every step of the way.”
“Having embraced the faith has given me a sense of peace and calm I didn’t have before,” she continued. “It has also given me a new perspective on life.”
Because her experience of the RCIA program “was so positive,” this year Hillary returned to the program -- only this time as a member of the St. Matthias RCIA team.
However, the Kushis are also involved in their parish in many more ways -- Joe is an Extraordinary Minister of Communion and also serves on the parish pastoral council. He also helps with the Children’s Liturgy of the Word.
Although the couple does not live in Marlborough -- they live in nearby Hudson -- they feel that being involved in the parish is integral to their lives.
“When I go to St. Matthias, I feel like I’m going to be with friends, not going as a consumer of religion,” Joe explained.
Hillary agrees. “The feeling of community is what kept us both going there,” she said.
“Having been raised Protestant, I always felt like it was a social club. It’s not so with the Catholic Church,” she added.
According to Joe, the couple first attended St. Matthias 8 years ago, just before they married. Joe recalled that he was immediately taken with Father O’Brien’s pastoral manner.
“More than anything, Father O’Brien is very open and spiritual,” he said. “He does a really good job of balancing some of the old parish traditions with some of the new ones.”
Father O’Brien is also very musical, added Joe, noting that, “on more than one occasion during the homily he has sat down at the piano and played showtunes to make a point.”
But above all, both the Kushis feel that being parishioners at St. Matthias is something that keeps their family focused on God.
“To me God offers us his friendship, his son’s friendship and the confidence that he is both our friend and God,” said Joe. “And that is something to hold onto.”
St. Matthias, Marlborough
Year established -- 1963
Pastor -- Father Francis O’Brien
Deacon -- Douglas Peltak
Pastoral Associate -- Joan Barclay
Religious Education Director -- Karen McNamara
Business Manager -- Steven Levy
Music Director -- Judy McManus
Organist -- Joyce Belliveau