Catholic parish's celebration of Assumption takes place on land and sea
Story and photos by Christopher S. Pineo
Catholic News Service
HULL, Mass. (CNS) -- While many parishes and Catholic communities mark the feast day of their parish with a procession on land, one parish in the Boston Archdiocese has been celebrating by land and sea for the past three years.
St. Mary of the Assumption Parish expresses its Catholic identity publicly with a procession on foot over land and with some of its members traveling by sea -- in two boats.
This is how the parish celebrates the feast of the Assumption of Mary. But the festivities take place the Sunday before the Aug. 15 feast day to allow enough time for the procession and other activities attended by parishioners, residents and guests.
On Aug. 11, a decorated statue of Mary arrived by boat with Father Joseph M. Mazzone, pastor, and Deacons Charles E. Sullivan and James C. Theriault at the A Street Pier in Hull.
Altar servers bearing the crucifix arrived on the first boat in the procession, before hundreds joined on foot and headed toward the parish church, called St. Ann's, where more than 400 people packed into the pews for the Mass.
"I was praying, since the first year we have done it. I said, 'Please Jesus let there be more people on the dock then there are in the boat.' And there were ... hundreds," Father Mazzone said, as he began his homily.
Father Mazzone said the Mass and this year's procession drew more people from the community than in previous years. He thanked the guests who turned out in addition to the parishioners.
"I think this might be the biggest year, so thank you so much. I love you. Don't get big heads, but I love you," he said.
After the Mass, the parish welcomed guests for a feast under tents set up on the parish grounds.
During his homily, Father Mazzone told a story of himself getting caught sneaking desserts at a wedding reception he was invited to, before he entered seminary. He also used the story as a segue to invite guests to the feast after the Mass.
"The reception was held at the house of a friend. They had a beautiful house with a big sloping lawn in the back. They set up big tents, just like we have here, and all of the food was homemade, just like we are going to have here, afterwards -- everything homemade," he said.
His story centered on how he had antagonized the host by sneaking into the room where the desserts were and getting caught not once but three times.
"Wouldn't it be great if (instead) we constantly got caught in the act of doing something good? (If) we weren't doing it for attention, (but) we were actually being quiet about our good deed, and somebody found out," Father Mazzone said.
When the occasion arises to do good work or express Christian ideals, he said, Christians should hope to "get caught," so to speak, by Jesus Christ.
If one is aware that the Lord could return at any moment, it can serve as a meaningful moment-to-moment guide in living out the faith, added Father Mazzone.
- Pineo is a reporter at The Pilot, newspaper of the Boston Archdiocese.