LYNN — Cardinal Sean O’Malley will help Sacred Heart Church celebrate its 125th anniversary Saturday by leading a concelebrated Mass at 4 p.m.
“Everyone is invited to join that celebration,” said Father Brian Flynn, the pastor for the St. Mary’s-Sacred Heart collaborative.
Fr. Flynn said there would be a reception following the Mass in the school gymnasium. The lower church hall, which had been remodeled, is unavailable due to damage sustained in last month’s floods that plagued the city, Fr. Flynn said.
This will be Cardinal O’Malley’s first trip to Sacred Heart — at least, since Fr. Flynn has been involved with the parish, he said.
The Mass represents the beginning of a year-long celebration of the parish’s anniversary. Fr. Flynn said the plans are to highlight “the things we do every year — our adult formation program; our annual fall festival, which has been going on long before I came; our faith foundation program.
“We hope, each month, to focus on highlighting the good work we do.”
The celebration will wrap up in May with another Mass, “and we’re hoping that we can get the regional bishop (Mark O’Connell) to attend,” Fr. Flynn said.
Fr. Flynn said the anniversary celebrations recognize the many challenges the church faced in establishing itself 125 years ago — and the challenges in maintaining itself.
“There were good people who were there before we got there,” he said, “and there will be good people here after we leave. They’re the real reason why Sacred Heart has been here for 125 years and, we pray, beyond that.
“We face many challenges today, but the church has always faced challenges,” he said. “What I hold onto, and speaking specifically about Sacred Heart, are the good people it took to get the church built, the school built, and to continue through the years.”
He mentioned two of the church’s deacons, John Hardy and Dick Field, and their wives Josephine and Donna, respectively, as being major reasons Sacred Heart remains viable.
“Deacon John is retired now,” Fr. Flynn said, “but he’s always there to help. Dick and Donna … they’ll do anything.
“There are also parishioners of all ilks that help us out in so many ways,” he said. “When the church faces challenges, these are the people we trust.”
The Knights of Malta will form a lane of honor for Cardinal O’Malley, as will fourth-degree members of the Knights of Columbus. Both groups will be in full regalia, according to Lynn’s Dave Solimine.