Welcome to St. Bart's

St. Bartholomew Catholic Church is a Roman Catholic church located in Needham, Massachusetts. We are a faith-filled community of believers, engaged in a wide variety of stewardship activities. We have a religious education program for children and many ministry programs for adults.

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A Note from Fr. Derek

Some time ago I saw, online, an advertisement encouraging people to observe “Meatless Mondays,” along with a recipe to reinforce it.  This reminded me of an experience a few years ago when I saw some signs in the cafeteria of a Catholic university encouraging the same thing.  I presume Mondays were chosen for this simply because meatless and Monday both start with the letter “m.”  I’m somewhat correct.  It seems that during World War I, in order to reduce consumption of some important staples, the U.S. government proclaimed “Meatless Mondays” and “Wheatless Wednesdays,” encouraging families to sign on to a pledge to keep this going.  In 2003, the idea of “Meatless Mondays” was revived with the idea that on Monday we make decisions that would affect the rest of the week and that this would lead to healthier living.  This, however, seems to focus the action of abstinence on one’s self.


For Christians, however, Friday is the day that we associate as a day of abstinence from meat.  This is because Fridays are supposed to be observed with a certain amount of penitential reverence, commemorating the day of the week on which our Lord Jesus suffered and died on the Cross.  Observing Fridays as a day of abstinence from meat comes to us from the days of the Apostles.  Are you aware that the Code of Canon Law (the law of the Church) still obliges Catholics throughout the world to abstain from meat on all Fridays (even outside of Lent), unless that Friday is a Solemnity?  Recognizing that there are differences in customs, climates and food prices, among other things, the same law permits local bishops to modify this law for their area.  In 1966, the Catholic bishops of the United States recognized that many people may already be keeping a meatless diet and that abstaining from meat was not always the most effective form of penance.  As a result, they issued a Pastoral Statement in which they said that the faithful were no longer bound to abstain from meat on Fridays (except those of Lent).  They also reinforced, however, that this was not to diminish the reality that Friday is a day of penitential observance.  To keep this in mind, they noted that, while abstaining from meat on Fridays (not Mondays) is a time-honored tradition, those who choose to have meat on Friday (outside of Lent) should seek out some other “work of self-denial and personal penance.” In this way, the each of us is given the freedom to choose the best way to unite ourselves to Christ’s sufferings each Friday.

From our Blog

Stewardship: A Way of Life

Sharing: Time Talent Treasure

No one needs to go to the dictionary to define the word ‘gift’. If anyone has ever given something to someone or in turn received something, the meaning of what a gift is is obvious. However, some gifts that we have received are not so concrete or obvious.

How about gifts without a physical structure? How about the gift of life? “I knew you before you were born!” says the Lord. How about our senses? Can you imagine a life without these blessed paths of knowledge? The Disciples asked; “Why do You (Jesus) speak to them in parables? ‘He said to them in reply, “Because knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted’.” (Matthew 13:1-23) The gift of the Holy Spirit was given to the Disciples and as a result, they are able to share God’s wisdom with us. God provides many different paths for us in life to understand life and all the beauties of His creation. Our brains to know; our hearts to love; our abilities to make connections outside of ourselves; gifts the world gives us; gifts we can give to the world—‘love one another as I have loved you.’

Vacation time is here and hopefully the living is easy. Do we become so enamored with the physicality of fun in the sun, etc. that we forget who we are? We are children of God and we need not to forget to say thank you. Our Lord rested on the 7th day of creation. A Commandment reminds us to ‘keep holy the Sabbath.’ Rest was created for us. God knows the value of rest even when we do not. But ignoring our Lord and a failure to acknowledge Him in our joy on vacation is not acceptable. We turn to Him in our need or sadness or beg Him for His forgiveness. Is it not amazing that we can ignore Him in our happiness, when all He has hoped for us is joy in life? Is a vacation not a great gift?

‘There was an old woman who every day came out on her front porch and yelled at the top of her voice, “Praise the Lord for He is good. Thank the Lord for all He gives. Thank the Lord for all His love.” All of her neighbors accepted this ritual except the man next door, who was an atheist. It drove him crazy. After months and months and months of listening to this, the words suddenly changed. The old woman had come on hard times. She prayed out loud now. “Lord, I praise you and your good works. The Lord loves me. Help me Lord in my need.” The next day a bag of groceries appeared on the porch. When she saw it, she cried out her thanks to the Lord. The atheist neighbor jumped out and cried.,

“Aha. Your Lord did not give you that food . I did.” Raising her eyes to heaven, she even more loudly thanked the Lord for these gifts and for the gift of the devil paying for them.* No one knows how or where some of our gifts come from. But all gifts are from our Lord. Some can even be called miracles. We, because we know our God, are so blessed.

Stewardship Questions: Kathy Reilly 781-444-0862 email: kreilly15@yahoo.com
If anyone needs a ride to a church service or wishes a home or Communion visit, please contact me. * Thank you to St. Anthony’s parish for sharing this story.

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