‘We are going to be OK’ | Merrimack Valley

LAWRENCE – Masked and socially distanced, Corpus Christi parishioners collected Saturday afternoon just a shorter distance away from where they commonly attend weekend Mass. 

“What a variance a week can make. I am nicely. Thank God,” famous parish pastor, the Rev. Francis Mawn, at the start of the 4 p.m. Mass in the Corpus Christi Parish Heart at 34 Frequent St. 

Five days earlier, on Monday evening, a 4-alarm blaze gutted the rectory of the parish’s beloved and historic Holy Rosary Church.

In the wake of the fireplace, Masses will be held in the parish heart. While the fire was in the rectory, the church was still left broken by h2o. 

The electrical hearth prompted an believed $1.5 million in destruction. Investigators identified the blaze ignited in a void in a first-flooring ceiling in the rectory. 

Mawn was on your own in the rectory but escaped unharmed following the fireplace ignited all around 6 p.m. Monday.

At Mass on Saturday, Mawn reported he was fortunate the fire happened at 6 p.m. and not 6 a.m. 

“We are likely to be Ok,” Mawn advised the 30 or so parishioners who burst into applause and also provided their many thanks Saturday afternoon.

At Mass, Mawn lightly remarked that he is desired to downsize some of his possessions.

“God took treatment of it for me,” he said. 

Volunteers carried the altar and cross around to the parish heart so Masses could proceed.

This Sunday is the next Sunday of Lent – the 40 times from Ash Wednesday to Easter observed by the Roman Catholic Church. 

Thanks to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, all who attended Mass had their temperature taken when entering the heart Saturday. Chairs were put six toes apart and parishioners all wore masks.

During Mass, Mawn spoke of Christian lifetime and how “in a perception that is like climbing up a mountain.” Some continue to be in spot and by no means depart town to climb the mountain. Other people commence the climb and transform close to even though some go off and take a look at a cave, he explained.

Whatsoever the journey, “the spirit of God in them will by no means lead them astray,” Mawn claimed. 

Mawn also thanked Lawrence Fire Main Brian Moriarty, Lawrence firefighters and the quite a few mutual help firefighters who came from encompassing towns and towns to fight Monday’s fire. 

“The simple fact that God safeguarded our church is a fantastic issue,” he claimed. 

Mawn also available his many thanks for firefighters in the parish’s weekly bulletin, which was handed out at Mass. 

“On Monday evening all-around 100 firefighters from Lawrence and place cities and cities used several hours battling a persistent 4-alarm blaze in our rectory,” he wrote, emphasizing they brought “this fire underneath regulate right after hrs and several hours of tough do the job and eliminating the hotspots and blocking the hearth” from spreading to the church. 

“It all could have been considerably worse and we are incredibly grateful no one particular was hurt,” Mawn wrote. 

He also thanked the law enforcement officers and other very first responders for their assist Monday night. 

“You are all the finest. All of you in no way gave up battling to earn what could have been a seriously awful fight,” he wrote. 

Holy Rosary Church was established by Italian immigrants in 1904. In the 1960s, it embraced the initially Cubans to arrive in Lawrence, and afterwards other Hispanic communities, in accordance to the church’s web page.

In November 2004, the Archdiocese of Boston founded Corpus Christi Parish at Holy Rosary Church by uniting Holy Rosary and three other ethnic church buildings — Holy Trinity (Polish), St. Francis (Lithuanian) and Sts. Peter and Paul (Portuguese).

The church is the backbone of the yearly Feast of the 3 Saints in Lawrence and beloved to many throughout the Merrimack Valley who have attended Masses, baptisms, weddings, funerals and much more there.

Observe staff members reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.