Our Parish of Saint Matthew the Evangelist Has Been Given a Precious Gift!
As a result of consultative meetings such as our parishes entered into in the Spring of 2020, the two parishes of Saint Matthew, Dorchester and Saint Angela Merici in Mattapan decided to consolidate their two parishes to form one new parish called Our Lady of Mount Carmel, effective July 1, 2020. In subsequent planning the people of the parish made the difficult decision to close Saint Matthew Church, which happened on October 1, 2020. At what I imagine was a difficult time for this community, when they could have felt pity for themselves and strive to keep things as they were, they chose rather to pass on as a gift their most precious treasure and part of their legacy to someone else.
On Thursday, November 12, 2020 I received a call from Fr. Garcia Breneville, the pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel informing me that the people of his parish wish to give to the new parish of Saint Matthew the Evangelist in Billerica their very rare and precious Relic of Saint Matthew. I was speechless at their generosity. On Tuesday, November 17, 2020 I went to Mattapan to meet with Fr. Garcia. In that meeting I was humbled and honored to receive this precious relic for our parish.. Father Garcia and I reflected together about this relic, how this chip of bone was from a person, who walked, talked and ate with Jesus. Matthew was a man who received a direct invitation from the mouth of the Lord, to reform his life as a tax collector, and follow Jesus as a disciple. It was chilling for the two of us to think about that. Fr. Garcia also informed me that Saint Matthew is the only one of the four Evangelists (authors of the gospels) to have the three titles of Apostle, Evangelist and Martyr.
Saint Matthew and Saint Angela Merici parishes were some of the poorest parishes in the Archdiocese of Boston with old buildings that are difficult to maintain. Though they may be deemed poor financially, I feel that they are wealthy in other ways. Perhaps their lack of financial resources lends to this parish to appreciate what they do have. When expressing my deep gratitude to Fr. Garcia to relay to his people for such a generous gift, he expressed his parishioners thoughts being ‘we are One Church.” In this instance it is obvious these parishioners were not talking about buildings. Along with the beautiful reliquary housing the relic of Saint Matthew, I pray that through his intercession we may also receive the sense of Church and collaboration, and openness to adapt to change that has sustained these parish communities for many years.
CLICK HERE to see an article about this in the Pilot.