The St. John-St. Paul Collaborative has a rich, full schedule of liturgies, programs and events planned for Lent.
Please join us on this Lenten journey!
A Lenten Message from Fr. Jim

“Yet even now, return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, weeping, and mourning.
Rend your hearts, not your garments, 
and return to the LORD, your God.”

—Joel 2:12-13a

My dear friends in Christ,
As Lent is upon us once again, my mind wandered back to Ash Wednesday of 2020. As usual, our churches were packed tightly with people, lining up to receive their ashes. There was a prayerful spirit as we resolved to open our hearts to God and to the needs of those around us. We looked forward to the Easter joy at the end of our Lenten journey when we would gather to celebrate Christ’s victory over sin and death. But two short weeks later, a then unfamiliar virus would bring society to a crashing halt. The unthinkable happened. There was no public celebration of Easter that year. We were told that it would be weeks or even months before things returned to normal. That was then.

We could never have imagined then that we would still be dealing with a global pandemic two years later. In all of this time, what have been the lessons learned? With our ability to be together severely curtailed to various degrees during this time, we have learned through depravation our need for community, for belonging. We have learned more deeply our need for God as our perceived control over life was revealed as an illusion. We need God and we need each other. Please visit our website to explore the many opportunities to come together for prayer, study and service.
The pandemic has also exposed the gross economic inequities of our society and the scourge of racism. Our Lenten journey also involves looking beyond ourselves to the needs of the those most marginalized. This year, through our Lenten Gift, we will reach out to help some of the most vulnerable in our community – individuals and families experiencing homelessness – through our support of the Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program.

May we turn our gaze upon the God who looks with love upon us. 

“Behold, now is a very acceptable time.
Now is the day of salvation.”

2 Corinthians: 6:2

Yours in Christ,
 Fr. Jim


Community Read and Lecture Series
Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future
by Pope Francis
Available at local libraries, bookstores, and Amazon.
Lecture Series: 7:00pm at St. Paul Parish Hall
March 10 with Sr. Evelyn Ronan – click the link below to watch the recording:
Part One: A Time to See
March 24 with Kelly Meraw – click the link below to watch the recording:
Part Two: A Time to Choose
Thursday, April 7 with Fr. Bryan Hehir
Part Three: A Time to Act

This Lent, as we prepare our hearts and minds to begin our synodal journey together, we will dive deeply into Pope Francis’ recent book, Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future, written during the pandemic in collaboration with his biographer Austin Ivereigh. In a relaxed and conversational tone, Francis poignantly captures the ills of today’s world and suggests practical solutions for overcoming them, both personally and systemically. 

Those wishing to understand Pope Francis’ emphasis on synodality will find many revelations here –
we encourage everyone to read this wonderful book!

The book is divided into three parts.  In Part One: A Time to See, Pope Francis explores what this crisis can teach us about how to handle upheaval of any kind in our own lives and the world at large, and with much candor reveals how three crises in his own life changed him dramatically for the better. 

In Part Two: A Time to Choose, Pope Francis offers an unsparing critique of the systems and ideologies that came together to produce the current crisis.  He reminds us that Christians’ first duty is to serve others, especially the poor and the marginalized, just as Jesus did.

Finally, in Part Three: A Time to Act, Francis exhorts us to “recover our sense of belonging, the knowledge that we are part of a people,” and he offers an inspiring blueprint for building a safer, fairer, and healthier world, showing how ordinary people acting together – despite their differences – can discover unforeseen possibilities. 

Please join us for three special Lenten Lectures, featuring Sr. Evelyn Ronan, SNDKelly Meraw, Director of Pastoral Care, and Fr. Bryan Hehir.  Each will take one part of the book and discuss the themes raised and the implications for our lives, our Church, and our world. 

We encourage everyone to read the Pope’s book, but it is not required or even necessary to have read the book to benefit from the lectures – all are strongly urged to attend!

If you are unable to join us in person, you can join via livestream by clicking the St. Paul Live Stream link

More detailed information on the book and lecture series here:
Community Read and Lecture Series – “Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future” by Pope Francis


Community Read, Author night, and book discussion
Stories from the Shadows: Reflections of a Street Doctor
by James J. O’Connell, M.D.
Available at local libraries and through the BHCHP website. A limited number of copies available for purchase now through the Collaborative – please call either office to reserve a copy. Books will also be available to purchase at the Dr. O’Connell’s Author Talk on March 16.

Wednesday, March 16 at 7:00pm
Author Night with Dr. James J. O’Connell
St. John the Evangelist Church

Wednesday, March 30 at 7:00pm
Interactive Book Discussion
St. John Powers Hall

Dr. O’Connell is the President of Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program (BHCHP), the recipient of this year’s Collaborative Lenten Gift. 

“Stories from the Shadows: Reflections of a Street Doctor” is a collection of stories and essays written during thirty years of caring for homeless persons in Boston. Dr. O’Connell gently illuminates the humanity and raw courage of those who struggle to survive and find meaning and hope while living on the streets. We encourage everyone to read this incredibly moving book!

“…this volume instantly and irrevocably transports you into a fascinating universe of individuals usually invisible to us. They are often faceless and nameless, lost in plain sight, and forced to live on the fringes of society. But this volume makes unforgettable those who are usually forgotten. The riveting stories presented here capture each life in such moving and vivid detail that you will be forever changed.”

—From the Foreword by Howard K. Koh, M.D., M.P.H. 

We are thrilled to be hosting Dr. O’Connell for an Author Night on Wednesday, March 16. Through Dr. O’Connell’s reflections, we will hear the stories of individuals who are among the most marginalized in our society, and learn about the truly life-changing work being done by BHCHP.

On Wednesday, March 30 will will host a Book Discussion for those who would like to talk more about the book and the themes and issues that it raises. The discussion will be facilitated by Kelly Meraw, Director of Pastoral Care, Deirdre Heilbron, R.N., parishioner and nurse with BHCHP, and Sue Brady Hartigan, parishioner and volunteer with BHCHP.

We encourage everyone to read Dr. O’Connell’s memoir, but it is not necessary to have read the book to benefit from his lecture – all are strongly urged to attend!

If you are unable to join us in person, you can join via livestream by clicking the St. John Live Stream link.


24 Hours for the Lord
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
Begins Friday, March 18 after the 9:00am Mass
Concludes Saturday, March 19 at 9:30am
St. Paul Church (Chapel)

Please come at any time and stay for any length of time! Bring a friend! All are invited to this experience of God’s love and mercy!

If you are able to commit to a 2-hour period of time to be present for Adoration, please let us know by signing up online – click the link below for more information and to sign up:



Taizé Prayer Service
with Opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation
Wednesday, April 6 at 7:00pm at St. Paul Church

All are invited for an evening of beautiful Taizé-inspired music and prayer. Taizé is an ecumenical monastic order in Taizé, Saône-et-Loire, Burgundy, France, with a strong devotion to peace and reconciliation through prayer and meditation. Taizé is a quieting and mystical experience. The repetitive sung simple prayers draw you deeply into communion with the Holy Spirit and allows the clutter of your thoughts to subside. Holy Scripture and silence is interwoven in the experience in order for worshipers to be attentive to God’s voice. 

The evening will be punctuated with the opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation throughout.

There can be no better way to prepare for Holy Week than to approach it full of God’s abundant grace.


Our Collaborative Lenten Gift:
Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program
Special Collection:  April 2-3

Each year, through our Collaborative Lenten Gift, we reach out as a community to one particular place of suffering, amid so many in the world.

This year, we will open our eyes and hearts to the plight of those suffering on the streets of Boston. We will reach out through our support of the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program (BHCHP), which provides the highest quality health care services possible to some of the most vulnerable members of our community – Boston’s homeless individuals and families of all ages.

Throughout Lent, in the bulletin, via email, on our website and social media, we will share this story with you.

A Special Collection will be taken up at all Masses on the weekend of April 2-3. If you prefer, you may donate online at any time during the Lenten season, or by sending a check to your parish office (please note 2022 Lenten Gift in the memo.) Thank you very much.

Our gift will allow each of us to share in easing the suffering and to answer Lent’s clarion call to love extravagantly.

To learn more or make a donation online, click here to visit our Collaborative Lenten Gift page.