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Summertime…and the living is easy… and ripe for reading!


Jeff Pajak, a volunteer summer intern at Catholic Communications, was asked to offer some good summer reading suggestions.

Pajak, a 2007 graduate of Holyoke Catholic High School, is an English major at Providence College and entering his senior year.

The ten books listed below might seem daunting at first glance, but he said these classics are worth the time.

Books for the Summer

By Jeff Pajak

1. The Brothers Karamazov

This Russian classic speaks for itself. This great opus defined my entire summer last year. Fyodor Dostoevsky’s masterful novel often seems to escape the notice of the standard literature curriculum in universities today, but only because of the novel’s massive girth. Sure, with a binding the width of a small piano (and nearly identical in weight), the book is more than intimidating.

You might have to forgo any other plans you had for the summer, but if it means reading from cover to cover the greatest novel written by perhaps the greatest novelist – trust me, it’s worth it.

2. Invisible Cities

Italo Calvini was reputed as a wonderful storyteller, and nowhere may this be better demonstrated than in his work, Invisible Cities. Set in the time of the declining empire of Kublai Khan, Cities seems to pull on all the mysteries of the Far East that westerners have ever wondered about and use them to tantalize our imaginations. As Calvini shares his wisdom with us through the tales and reports of Marco Polo, we are simultaneously granted the warm comfort of swapping stories around a campfire, and the majesty of an imperial palace. In a more practical sense, Cities makes for convenient reading because it takes mere minutes to visit one city or another, as each of Polo’s descriptions is no more than a page or two.

Swapping stories by the camp fire

Like the contents of a good fortune cookie, the proverbial insights offered in this book are short and sweet, lasting long after the book has been ingested.

3. Paradise Lost

            John Milton’s work was recorded by his daughter after he had lost his sight from years of government service during Oliver Cromwell’s administration.  Milton’s epic poem from the seventeenth century is probably the most famous work of literature that recounts that fall of Lucifer, and later, the fall of humankind. While intricately beautiful, Milton’s language takes getting used to, so take full advantage of the “arguments” which preface and summarize each of the poem’s twelve books. Though blind himself, Milton shows us a cosmic vision of hate and love, defeat and victory, fall and promised redemption. It is great experiencing the events before and after Creation from the perspectives of unforgettable characters like Satan (and all his buddies), Abdiel, Raphael, Adam and Eve, and God Himself. It gave me a new appreciation for some of the Biblical stories I learned in my religious education classes, to say the least.

4. The Wind in the Willows



    I felt a little silly searching for this cute book in the children’s section of the library, but never has embarrassment over a book beneath my reading level (supposedly) been so rewarding. I began reading Kenneth Grahame’s novel during my first days back on campus for the second semester at Providence College (when the desire for a longer Christmas break was the strongest). I would never have expected it, but the delightful and refreshing story of four talking animal friends (with British accents!) living simple lives between the fraying covers of that 1925 edition extended my vacation until I read the very last word. Each night, after a long day of classes and work, I found myself smiling like a child as I hopped into a comfy chair and respectfully parted the yellowed pages until I met those four critters wherever I had last left them.

Whether I was floating serenely down the river in Rat’s raft, bouncing down a dirt road in Mr. Toad’s new automobile, or scurrying with Mole through the Wild Wood in the hopes of reaching the safety of Mr. Badger’s burrow, The Wind in the Willows was a joyful retreat. I recall it fondly, and every so often, muse upon its simplicity and the hidden truths undoubtedly hidden in the story.

5. David Copperfield

            Finishing with a grand total of eight hundred and fifty-five pages, my copy of David Copperfield is a worthy rival of The Brothers Karamazov for the “Fattest Book Award” in my collection. This book, however, has the special honor of being the only book which a professor assigned me to read part of that I then went and finished on my own, months after the semester had ended. More importantly, it is the novel that taught me to appreciate Charles Dickens, in all his brilliant wordiness. Recounting the loves, trials, friends, and enemies of young Mr. Copperfield, this novel includes some of the most memorable characters in English literature, such as the bumbling but well-intentioned Mr. Micawber, or the sniveling and devious Uriah Heep. It is the coming of age story of a young man as he journeys from poverty to a place of his own, and as the quasi-autobiographical work of the elegant author’s own life, it promises to be both enjoyable and instructive.

6. A Guide for the Perplexed

            Every once in a while, we will be in the midst of living our lives without too much concern, when suddenly we come face to face with some thing that wakes us up. We realize how very little we actually know. E.F. Schumacher’s Guide opened my eyes in this way. Having read the book, I see now how fitting the title is. However, when I first received it as a birthday gift from my father several years ago, I read the title and thought, “Great! Next time I’m confused, I’ll know where to find the answers.” But books like this are not meant to be treated as first aid kits, used only in a time of crisis. Rather, the time to read such books is always “now.” It wasn’t until a year ago when, feeling hungry for something a “smart” person would read, I dusted off the cover of this book and cracked it open. To be honest, much of what I encountered in Schumacher’s philosophical study of being and knowledge went over my head. However, what I did understand blew my mind. With the precision of Aristotle or Aquinas, Schumacher analyzes…everything. I recall how he illustrated the unknown limitations of the human spirit with the story of Therese Neumann, a German peasant of the last century who survived without drink or food, except the Eucharist, for thirty-five years! It’s like catching a glimpse of how the miracle of life works. Even as I try to describe this book, I realize now it might be time to revisit its pages. When I do reread it, I do not expect to be bored. Schumacher’s Guide is the kind that makes different truths known every time it’s consulted.

7. The Silmarillion

            My own personal favorite, J.R.R. Tolkien spent his entire life working on this history of the world called Middle Earth. As the chronological prequel to both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion is actually a concise narrative of merely the First Age of Middle Earth, and it is wrought with tales of creation, exile, love, betrayal, woe, and resistance. In essence, it is about the ongoing battle between good and evil, told as a myth in poetic language by the master of fantasy. It is the gravest of faerie tales, and an epic in its own right. Mirroring the scope of the Old Testament and Paradise Lost, The Silmarillion echoes the tragedy of man and of our own Earth.

8. Perelandra

            Probably one of the most beloved authors of the twentieth century, C.S. Lewis no doubt has influenced the lives of a countless number of people. My own parents introduced me to him through The Chronicles of Narnia when I was fairly young. Since then, I have bumped into Mr. Lewis time and time again, whether in books, articles, the classroom, or even daily conversation. Amongst my friends and me, it is safe to say Lewis is the most frequently quoted. What he says in his books has a way of sticking with you because he writes in such a unique, sensible, and familiar style. This style is perhaps best exhibited in his apologetic book, Mere Christianity, which my sister just received as a gift for her Confirmation. Perelandra, on the other hand, is the second book in Lewis’ lesser known fiction series entitled “The Space Trilogy.” It continues the theme of the fall of man and its effects in the adventures of Dr. Ransom, who intellectually and physically takes on and old evil on a planet that still grows the fruits of Eden. While it is the second book in the trilogy, Perelandra may be read on its own. It is an excellent way to engage the mind of Lewis, again or for the first time.

9. Persuasion

            At the risk of losing respect from a few of my testosterone-driven comrades, I am recommending on of the last novels written by none other than the infamous Jane Austen. Unquestionably one of the greatest novelists in all of women’s literature, Austen writes with the subtlety, emotion, and wit of an artist who has developed her personal technique to the fullest. I think what struck me most about Persuasion was the maturity of its two central characters in comparison to those found Austen’s other novels. Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth are confronted with the age-old question of duty and love, and which of the two should take priority. With her usual combination of humor, primness, and charm, Austen spins a romance in Persuasion that is a far superior alternative to viewing whatever romantic comedy is currently playing in theaters.

10. The Lion in Winter

            When a person is looking for good reading material, works of drama don’t usually come to mind. At least, for me they didn’t – that is, until recently. Written for the stage, I have discovered (as I’m sure many of you have) that plays often hold nuggets of profound truth or unforgettable scenes of action and dialogue which are incomparable to those found in novels. However, since most of us can’t see a Broadway performance or school production every weekend, we shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to experience the world of Shakespeare in the comfort of our own homes. The Lion in Winter is a shining example of what is waiting to be discovered. It’s Christmastime, and James Goldman tells the story of a family suffering from the pressure and frenzy of the holiday season. Sound familiar? Only, this family is that of Henry II, King of England, who shares his castle with figures like Eleanor of Aquitaine and Richard the Lionhearted; and everyone is plotting for possession of the throne. Goldman writes this comedy of historical titans with a biting wit and passion, making this impressive play more than worth the afternoon spent reading it.


St. Michael’s Cathedral Parish in Springfield will miss Msgr. Leo.

Margot Moran, the parish scrivener, submitted this photo from September, 1977, of Msgr. Leo Leclerc.

It was taken at the Sheraton Hotel in Springfield at the 150th anniversary celebration of the parish.

Seated wtih him is Judy Kelly, St. Michael’s Parish Council president in 1977.

Photo courtesy of St. Michael's Cathedral Parish in Springfield

By Carol Pirog

St. Rose de Lima Parish

Once upon a time……..

I start this reflection with “Once upon a time”  because surely a life so exemplary can’t be real, it must be a fairy tale.  No one who didn’t know Msgr. Leo would believe, that that level of love, honesty, integrity, loyalty and faith could be contained in one man. 

A magnificent monsignor

Many years ago, I was walking the perimeter of the St. Rose Cemetery. As I walked in a clockwise direction, an elderly man simultaneously walked counter clockwise.  As we approached each other and came face to face, we would smile, nod and continue on.  After doing this three or four times, I finally stopped, and said, “We might as well introduce ourselves, I still have another half mile to go.”


I said, “My name’s Carol and I’m from St. Rose. The elderly gentleman shook my hand, shared his name and said I’m from St. Rose too.  I said “oh then you know Msgr. Leo”.  He said “Know him?, me and Fr. Leo are like this, (crossing his fingers to indicate a tight bond).  To me, that one moment sums up the essence of Fr. Leo. No matter who you ask, no matter what their age, no  matter how long they have known him,  a day, a year, a lifetime, they are certain that they and Fr. Leo are like “this”.  He treated everyone as if they were his close personal friend and as a result everyone welcomed him into their lives, their hearts and their homes.

Msgr. Leo was the preeminent teacher to all he ministered to.  But I had the unique opportunity and privilege to be his teacher for the past five years, and it became the nickname he would often call me.  Upon his retirement, we met multiple times a month to teach him whatever computer skill he wanted to learn.  And since his brother Ronnie was destined to push him headlong into technology, my classes often included iPods, digital cameras, cell phones, Palm Pilots and whatever new gadget hit the market. 

My most memorable “teaching experience of him” though came before retirement while he was still pastor here at St. Rose.  I was in a meeting and he broke in and said Carol can you come and see me in my office before you leave I have a computer problem.  When I walked in his office and said, what seems to be the problem he said “watch this”.  He slams his fist on top of the computer monitor and it goes blank.  I started to say something and he says..wait ..wait…watch. He slams it once again and it goes on again.  He turns to me and says, see what do you think,  I look him square in the eye and laughing said, well for starters you need to stop doing that.

I tell that story because I guess in some ways that sums up what Fr. Leo was for us. He was the guy who in his own gentle way would thump our hearts and heads when we veered off into a behavior that took our eyes off God, and we questioned why life was hard, and remind us…”for starters you need to stop doing that”.

Is this the end of the fairy tale…….well no because you know how those stories end….

Carol reading the Frog Prince to Msgr. Leo

… and he lived happily ever after!

You are a priest forever

The diocese mourns but many have fond memories of Msgr. Leo Leclerc.

The following testimonial is by  Fr. Christopher J. Waitekus, Pastor of St. Ann Parish in Lenox

I  was truly blessed to work and live with Msgr. Leo for six happy years at St. Rose de Lima Parish. Each day was a joy and he taught me so much about being a parish priest. He modeled for me what a true priest was.

I believe with all my heart that he was a saint on earth…walking among us, crying with us, supporting us, laughing with us and while being a holy priest was also a humble man.

Msgr. Leo at St. Elizabeth Parish in Ludlow

A few days before he left the hospital, I was visiting him and I had to step out of the room so a nurse could perform a procedure on him. As I left and the nurse entered, I overheard the nurse say…”You’re a Monsignor?…would you like me to call you Monsigor or Father?” His response was, “Please… just call me Leo.”
Dear Leo, Holy Priest of God, Rest in peace.

Many in the Diocese of Springfield have fond memories of Msgr. Leo Leclerc who passed away May 23 at age 75.

Kathryn Lawrence of St. Elizabeth Parish in Ludlow shared these photos from their Parish Mission in March 2010 with Vince Ambrosetti.

A gathering of good men

Marvelous mission

She also submitted the pictures below  which are from Msgr. Homer Gosselin’s 40th Ordination Party on May 3, 2009.

A devoted priest

A celebration of priesthood

Sharing a laugh

Ministering to others

Holyoke Catholic High School


I wasn’t exactly thrilled about participating in my school’s “Senior Seminar.” I have a bit of an infamous reputation among my classmates as an over-achiever who is somewhat “in love” with school: the teachers, the socializing, and yes—the academics and school work. Therefore, giving up my last two weeks of school in exchange for working—unpaid—wasn’t even close to appealing.

Flash forward to today, Day 7 of my internship here at the Catholic Communications Corporation (CCC) for the Diocese of Springfield. With being half way done with this internship, I can sincerely say that had I been faced with the choice to remain in school or intern here at the CCC for these two weeks, interning may have the upper hand. I will share my experiences so far, some behind the scenes details, and why this experience has turned out to be exactly what was hoped for by my school administrators.


Finding my way

Day 1: “Go straight on. After about 600 feet, merge onto Route 291.” I’m from the very small and isolated town of Granby. I have never driven myself to this part of Springfield. So, when my GPS system told me to take 291, I immediately said to myself, “There’s a 291?” I have been on and heard of 391 and 91 plenty of times, so when I was instructed to go onto a highway that I’ve never heard of (but later found out I have been on it countless times with my parents) I realized just how isolated I was. Immediately exiting the highway, I locked my car doors and rolled up the windows. I was in Springfield, after all. In fact, when my mother asked me if I was nervous at all that morning, it wasn’t because of starting this internship or making a bad impression, it was driving into Springfield everyday. However, my commute turned out to be uneventful. And I discovered a new side of Springfield, something that would turn into a fondness on Day 4.

I met with Sr. Cathy Homrok at 10:30 a.m., after arriving close to 15 minutes early (I overestimated my commute). From the instant I met Sr. Cathy, I knew I was in incredibly good hands for this seminar.

Sister Cathy Homrok, co-director of Catholic Communications introduces me to a logging station.

 She’s organized. She’s always on her A-game. She’s the quintessential mentor to have for guiding me through this process. Unlike some seminar mentors of my peers who seem to be inconvenienced by the students, Sr. Cathy makes me one of her top priorities. Having her as a mentor has turned what could have been a bad experience for this internship into a great one.

After Sr. Cathy showed me my schedule for the week (I’d actually be able to go on filming segments!) she gave me a brief tour of the office building. Meeting all the office staff, there was one thing that was extremely apparent—there was not one unwelcoming face, something I probably would not have been able to find at other potential sites. My favorite was meeting everyone in the news room: Terry Hegarty, Sharon Roulier, and Peggy Weber. The way they joked and laughed together made me look forward to joining this news “family.”

Sharon Roulier

Terry Hegarty

Peggy Weber

After getting acquainted with everyone, Sr. Cathy left me to work with Peggy, who would give me an introduction into the CCC’s Facebook page, blog (, and the Diocese’s new magazine, The Catholic Mirror. Being placed to work with Peggy was a little ironic, to say the least. Recently, I accepted Fairfield University’s offer for admission and, with great regret, turned down Providence College.

Peggy happens to be a  Providence alum, with all three of her children alumni as well. Even walking into her office, I noticed the PC paraphernalia and the socks on her feet that proudly displayed “Friars.” So when I told her the decision I made for school, she looked me up and down and simply told me to get out of her sight. She was obviously joking and still does to this day.

I spent the remainder of the day learning of journalistic techniques and philosophies from Peggy, along with meeting the countless faces who popped their heads into her office to ask the “Office Mother.”  As Peggy and I were discussing journalism’s upgrade to 21st Century advances, she showed me a YouTube video made by her son, Matt, a graduate student at Harvard. “The Spirit of the Harvard Graduate School of Education” was simply written and edited, yet its message that “people represent places” really struck a chord with me. In a way gave me new insight to making new impressions as I enter college.

"People Represent Places" video

Day 2:  Coming into the office for 11:30 a.m. was quite a change for me, especially since I’ve been used to going into school for 7:30 a.m. In fact, I was pacing the house all dressed and ready, waiting for it to be time for me to commute.

After doing my daily ritual check-in chat with Sr. Cathy, we were off to the logging station. Logging a piece from a video “shoot” is a unique process. Like most people, I assumed that after something is recorded, it is immediately sent to the editing room and that is where it is pieced together. However, Sr. Cathy and Peggy showed me that the reporter in charge of the story is responsible for “logging” the pieces of the features they want to use and then send those for editing, to be pieced together by the editor.

Not this kind of "logging"

For example, if part of the interview contained the interviewee stuttering or rubbing his/her face, the reporter would probably not want to use that portion. Yet when there is an exceptional quotation from the interviewee, the reporter would log the time when the quotation begins and ends, then send all their logs to the editor for the final project. Because there are only two viewing stations, the viewing room can get a little chaotic, with different reporters fighting for the stations to log. Therefore, each reporter has to fill their names in a schedule for a designated time for their own logging. All around the office I’ll always hear, every single day, “Are you logging? Have you logged? When are you logging?” With that being said, logging is a pretty big deal here at the CCC.

After Sr. Cathy showed me a piece she did a couple weeks ago and described all the different techniques she kept in mind, I was introduced to the videographer, Owen Seery and reporter, Steve Kiltonic, with whom I’d be accompanying to shoot an interview for the story “Deacon Detective.”

Owen handles the camera

It was kind of a surreal experience, being my first time standing behind the camera and lights, while seeing  Steve prep Angel Perez’s house. Angel was, to me, a perfect interview. His most memorable quotation he said that night was that when he is out patrolling, he doesn’t see black or white; he only sees the color of the police—blue. That line stayed with me, showing that he is living his faith and reiterating the idea that God, too, is color blind.

Deacon Perez and his wife are interviewed by Steve

I got home later that night to a house with a sink full of dirty dishes and a stove with leftovers wrapped in tinfoil. For the first time, I experienced what the life of a working professional felt like.

Day 3: The third day of my internship felt like the pivotal moment which my past days were leading up to—the host segment. This would be where the hosts of Real to Real—Ken Lancaster and Sharon Roulier—would go on location to film their opening remarks, teasers, and other host duties for the upcoming episode. This week’s host site was at Our Lady of Fatima in Ludlow, a modernly beautiful church. What popped out at me the most was the stunningly intricate mosaic that housed the altar. The pictures I took of it do not do it justice in any sense.

Our Lady of Fatima in Ludlow

After setting up the cameras and lights in the church (one of the most tedious duties I’ve encountered) for the hosting segments, Ken and Sharon began to read through their script. It was amusing to see how one moment they were talking to the production staff in their normal speaking voices, yet when time came for them to read off the script, thundering, articulate voices came out. I couldn’t help but laugh to myself, wondering if those were the same people I just heard speaking before.

Gettin ready to "host" with Bill Paocha filming

The hosting segments took about a dozen takes—more than usual, according to Ken. Several times both hosts broke out in laughter, lost their place on the rolling script underneath the camera, or began reading too fast or too slowly.  It was refreshing too see how down to earth they were about it, though. A lot of the time, Ken and Sharon didn’t like the way things came out.

The day continued with setting up and moving the cameras to different locations throughout the parish for different interviews and Ken’s introductions. Ken really impressed me. Although he could perhaps be viewed as unapproachable because he is seen on T.V. weekly, he was extremely down to earth and on solid ground with the rest of the crew. Countless times he would point something out to me, or explain a concept or duty. He always took into consideration that I was an intern there to learn and never seemed inconvenienced by my disruption to the norm, something one doesn’t see too often.

Talking with Ken


Sharon conducts an interview

Day 4: I accompanied Sr. Cathy and Owen to the third grade of St. George/St. Joan of Arc School in Chicopee to film “b-roll” for a piece Sr. Cathy did on a project based on the book series Flat Stanley. I was looking forward to going because a close friend of mine, Jen Pytka, was doing her Senior Seminar at this school in none other than the third grade. It was disappointing to not see her everyday at HCHS (our lockers were right next to each other and we had six of our seven classes together, not to mention talking on the phone most nights), so it was exciting that our paths were able to cross.

Jen with some of her students

Sr. Cathy interviewed a few more students while Owen filmed the b-roll for her feature. B-roll is something I’ve always been familiar with, yet never knew the name for it. When there is an action shot on a television program (perhaps someone writing at a desk or reading a book) with a voice-over speaking, those action shots are known as b-roll.

Jen and I check out a student's work

Upon returning to the office, I met with Peggy (decked out in a Providence sweatshirt) and headed over to St. Michael’s Cathedral for Ascension Thursday Mass, joined by the rest of the CCC staff. It was such a luxury to have a seminar site where I could just simply cross the street to fulfill my holy day obligation, rather than having to worry about attending the 7 p.m. Mass at my own parish. Also, it was really nice seeing the cathedral—my first time being inside.

After Mass, Peggy gave me a mini walking tour of Springfield as we went to return some books to the library. As I mentioned, being from Granby really isolated me, so I had never been to the Springfield museums. I was able to feel like a kid again by sitting with the Dr. Seuss characters, and photographing the stunning architecture of the Springfield library.

Dr. Seuss Memorial

The dome at the downtown library in Springfield

Then Peggy showed me Mattoon Street. I was absolutely floored. I had never known such a quaint and polished neighborhood existed in the same city that the news portrays as the most dangerous of the state. The brick facades, the elaborate entrance steps, the Victorian street lamps, and the cobblestone sidewalks reminded me of Greenwich Village. My eyes were opened to the beauty of Springfield, and I felt rather foolish for thinking so negatively of the city previously.

Mattoon Street

Day 5:  The last day of my first week of seminar was very laid-back and calm. Because most of the staff was gone to meetings or graduations out of town (Peggy was attending the commencement at—you guessed it, Providence College), the only available thing for me to do was to attend a shoot at Angel Perez’s house to get b-roll of him and his family. I went again with Owen, which is always fun, because he is down right hilarious. Also, it was nice because I had spent the past three days with him on shoots, so a type of camaraderie had developed. 

Day 6: I had the opportunity to sit in on the live taping of Chalice of Salvation on Sunday morning. When I walked into the control room next to the chapel where the mass is filmed, I felt as though I had walked into a science fiction cockpit. Countless switchboards, computers, and flat screen televisions filled the place wall to wall.

Television control panel

The director, Ed Knowlton (who also works for WWLP) along with the rest of the staff were very welcoming. Sitting in on a live show was definitely an experience. Perhaps experience isn’t the right word. It was more like an anxiety attack. So many things can go wrong, from certain cameras not making connections to microphones not working. There was a lot of activity going on.

A lot of buttons to check and push

The Assistant Producer, Marie Renaud, summed it up perfectly when she said, “It’s always different each week in the control room.”  Right as the show was about to start, Ed and the Producer, Br. Terrence Scanlon (and one of the nicest men I have ever met), asked if the microphones were all on, something I began to worry about because there were about 20 seconds to show time. Luckily, it took about two seconds to double check, and then all systems were go.

Brother Terry

I was floored by the tasks that Ed was faced with. Once he put the head set on, he started pointing and rambling out commands like, “Input B standby,” as if it were by instinct.

The show ran positively smoothly while it was being filmed, fitting it’s runtime of 59:25 perfectly. I was a little taken aback at the manner with which the staff exited the control room, for they didn’t say anything like, “Oh, that was a close one.” I suppose for them it is just business as usual.

I’m finishing this blog entry right in the middle of my second week of my seminar. In a couple of days, it will be time for me to say goodbye to all the welcoming staff that I have gotten to be close with and then begin preparing for graduation. It is really unfortunate that this internship is already coming to an end. Even though this week is normal for the CCC—different shoots, the hosting segment Wednesday, preparing the Observer—I am still eager to see and learn more. My friends and perhaps a lot of my teachers will think I am insane, but I wish seminar lasted a bit longer. To get so close to people for two weeks and then suddenly it is taken away is a little painful. But those are the same feelings I am associating with graduation—we dedicate ourselves to  the same building, the same people for four years, when suddenly it is taken away and we have to move on to experience new things, new people, new aspects of ourselves.

My time here at the CCC seems a little unfair, because it is giving me a false sense of what the work force is truly like. Everywhere I work in the future probably won’t compare to the family I found myself immersed in. I hope I can be lucky enough to find a place of employment where my job isn’t just a “job,” but a place where I can grow as an individual, just like the CCC provides. In Matt Weber’s simple college video I saw on my first day, he claimed that people represent places. I couldn’t state it any better to describe my positive experience here with Catholic Communications.



A May Crowning was held with the students at Saint Mary Elementary School in Westfield. Students sang  “Immaculate Mary” during the ceremony, which was held in the parish church on May 5. (Photo courtesy of the Westfield Evening News)


Students, parents, faculty, staff and anyone driving by St. Michael’s Academy Middle School on Wendover Road in Springfield are reminded that May is Mary’s month. The school also is looking for a nice statue of Mary to put in their lobby. Anyone willing to make a donation or connect the school to Mary should call 439-4300.

A beautiful May crowning was held at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Springfield on May 2.

Parish children gather around their mother

 Like all good May crownings, this one involved the young people of the parish.

Courtney Shea and Caleigh Croteau were responsible for the crown and flower that were given to Mary

 Courtney and Caleigh were part of the fourth grade group that led the procession. They were chosen because they were among some of  the students who had perfect attendance in the parish’s CCD program.

The Coronation

 About 35 students were involved in this special Marian celebration which took place as part of the 10:30 a.m. Mass.

May crowning participants

The statue of Mary was crowned through the organizational efforts of Sister of St. Joseph Betty Matuszek, pastoral minister, and Christine DiVenuto, religious education coordinator.

Al Rosati leads the congregation.

The event included the singing of Marian hymns, especially “Immaculate Mary.”

It’s great to see parishes celebrate Mary, our Mother, with special events. Send photos of other Marian events to the diocesan blog at