By Fr. Eugene Tremblay, OMI www.stjosephshrine.org
At the request of Pope Francis, throughout the Catholic World on March 4-5, designated sites in each Diocese have been asked to open their doors for a full 24 hour period during which Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is to take place and Sacramental Reconciliation made available to the faithful around the clock.
St. Joseph the Worker Shrine in downtown Lowell was selected as one of these sites in the Merrimack Region of the Archdiocese of Boston. From 4:00 p.m. on Friday, March 4th straddling the overnight hours into Saturday, March 5th until 4:00 p.m., the Shrine is welcoming the faithful to avail themselves of these extraordinary opportunities to invite God’s grace and mercy into their lives.
The Missionary Oblates in our area have a singular contribution to offer in this effort by virtue of making Sacramental Reconciliation available in a multiplicity of languages – ministering to folks in English, Spanish, French, Polish, Russian, Creole, Vietnamese and other Southeast Asian languages. These ethnicities reflect the global Catholic reality and St. Joseph the Worker Shrine is proud to mirror this reality by our daily outreach to the many immigrant folks living in our midst – singularly reflected in this worldwide Event at the heart of the Jubilee Year of Mercy.
Founded by Fr. Andre Garin, OMI in 1868, this was the first parish established in Lowell to serve the spiritual needs of the French-speaking immigrants. Saint Joseph was selected as the patron. In 1956, the downtown church, with its rich tradition, was dedicated as a shrine in honor of Saint Joseph the Worker.
According to Fr. Eugene Tremblay, OMI, the Shrine was a busy place even before it’s new Papal designation, “Our signature ministry is Sacramental Reconciliation (3 hours each day – 10,000 confessions per year are heard here, folks coming from near and far for this graced encounter) as well as 3 daily Eucharistic celebrations at times convenient for working folks. We’re noted for our availability and for the quality of our preaching – the Oblate charism in a nutshell!”