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The flag and what it stands for

“Our country is a spiritual thought that is in our minds. It is the flag and what it stands for; it is its glorious history; it is the fireside and the home.”

By Pres. Benjamin Harrison

Hubby spent part of Sunday afternoon wiring up the electric flag to the rose trellis. He also found red, white, and blue tiny lights to put around the porch railing. We have a red, white, and blue windsock, hanging from the roof of the porch. There is a wreath of red, white, and blue flowers hanging on our door.

On Flag Day, June 14, Hubby and I were on Morrissey Blvd., ready to attend a special school graduation. It was the 37th graduation of the Notre Dame Montessori School, which is located in the lower floor of St. Christopher Church at Harbor Point. We were early for this graduation so Hubby had time to go around to take photos of the little children before they lined up for the procession to the stage. Sister Elizabeth, the school’s director, welcomed us with a big smile. Fr. George Carrigg also came into the graduation and sat near us at the back of the hall. I had a chance to speak with Loretta Martin, who handles the computer work. The parents of the children were getting to their seats.

The music started and the children marched into the hall. Sister Elizabeth welcomed us all to the graduation. The children then sang Funga Alafia, a traditional African folksong. It means, “With my mind I welcome you.” The next verse was, “With my voice I welcome you.” The third verse was, “With my heart I welcome you. Peace!” The children did a lovely job on that song. The next song was Praise Him. The words were: “Praise Him in the morning!” The next was: “Praise Him in the noontime!” Then it was: “Praise Him till the sun goes down.”

The children followed these songs with more familiar songs that we “older folks” knew and could sing along: This Little Light of Mine and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. During the middle of the ceremony, Sister Elizabeth read what Neijali Ming had answered in response to the questions that she had been asked as this year’s only graduate. Neijali’s Mom and her great grandmother were given beautiful red roses. Also given one of these lovely roses was Fr. George Carrigg, the administrator of St. Christopher Parish where the school is located. Each member of the staff and City Councillor Maureen Feeney were also given roses. Maureen was thanked for the kindness she has shown the school throughout her years on the City Council.

Fr. George then came to the microphone and spoke about his interaction with the children and about their helping with his planting outside the church. The children also sang Our Garden Song, (“Inch by inch, row by row.”) Fr. George also bestowed a blessing on the children and their families. Loretta Martin then read her poem, honoring Fr. George. Sr. Elizabeth also thanked two of the kindly benefactors of the school who were in attendance at the graduation, Jack Shaughnessy Sr. and Ed Casey. Just before the end of the graduation, the children sang a very fitting song, God Be With You.

When the ceremony was completed, the audience dined on a delicious buffet, thanks to the kindness of the parents, staff, and guests. (There was so much food that custodian Craig Rue, who is a great cook himself, had a little problem fitting all the food on the tables.) I enjoyed chatting with Councillor Feeney, who was sitting across from us, while Hubby went over to check out the buffet. He brought me back some scrumptious fresh fruit. Hubby and I always enjoy going to the Notre Dam Montessori School’s graduation. It reminds us of our days teaching school.

On June 17, Hubby and I joined other senior citizens at the Healing Mass at St. Mark’s Hall. Fr. Dan Finn was setting up the altar for the Mass. Assisting him was Deacon Van Nguyen. Almost every seat in the audience was filled as Fr. Finn began Mass. Joe Lizius played the organ and led us in singing the hymns. Joe began with the song Open My Eyes. Fr. Finn and Deacon Nguyen then anointed each member of the audience with holy oil. At Communion, Joe led us in Song of the Body of Christ. That was followed by the Sending Song, City of God. The final song which most of us knew was Morning Has Broken.

After the Mass was completed, Fr. Finn invited us to partake of the food. I had seen Gerard bringing in the food and knew that everything would be delicious. Gerard even waved over to us as he left the hall. As soon as Hubby returned from getting his food, I went up to the buffet and went though the line very quickly. Judy, the parish secretary, served the food beautifully. I saw Gerard’s tasty meatballs and took several of those. There were also all kinds of sandwiches, which were wonderful. There were plenty of desserts, especially brownies. We topped the food off with coffee and/or water.

When I got back to our table, we asked Frank and Marianna Hannigan to join us. Frank was the wonderful lector at the Mass. (He has such a strong, clear voice.) Fr. Finn also joined us for part of the time. So did Judy Greeley after she finished serving food to the seniors. Fr. Finn mentioned that he had hoped that even more people would have come to the Mass. I enjoyed speaking with Frank and Marianna and catching up on their family, Judy told me about her Mom Barbara and her aunt Betty. Hubby and I had graduated from State Teachers’ College at Boston with Betty and were delighted to hear about her and her terrific husband George. We also had a chance to chat with Mary Carney, Pat Kennedy, and Dolly Farquharson. I understand that Bridie Knauber was at the Mass also. As we left the hall, Hubby and I both agreed that the healing Mass is always a lovely time. We thank Fr. Finn for celebrating this Mass each year.

I just received an e-mail from the City of Boston concerning the Mayor’s Wednesday Evening Concert Series (this is the 38th year of the concerts.) As I mentioned in a previous column, on Wed., July 13, it will be “Motown Night,” featuring Soul City. On Wed., July 27, it will be “Disco Night,”featuring Stardust. The final evening will be Wed., Aug. 10, “Country Night,” sponsored by Country 102.5 WKLB. All concerts begin at 7 p.m. Interstate Rentals will set up a dance floor for each concert. If you want to watch the dancers, sit right up front.

Last week Hubby came home from his daily walk at Castle Island. He told me that Admiral Farragut’s statue was now sporting a Bruins’ shirt. That sight made him smile all the way home.

I was sorry to hear of the death of Carmella (Puleo) Brillo on June 20 at age 91. I send my sympathy to her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. I also send my sympathy to her brother John Puleo and to her sister Anna “Ann” Mazzone. I was also sorry to read of the death of James “Jim” Cawley on June 24. Jim served in the Air Force. He was a member of the MBTA Machinist Union Local # 264. I also heard that he was very involved with St. Ann’s Band for years. I send my sympathy to his wife of 55 years, Frances “Fran” (McGowan) and to his children: James “Jim” and Elisa Birdseye, Patricia, Kathleen and Patrick Connolly, Gerri and John McGee, Michael and Ellen Cawley, and Marianne and Ted Pick.

I heard that Jim McGettrick, the owner of the Beachcomber Restaurant along Wollaston Beach in Quincy, passed away on June 21. His restaurant is well known for the many Irish bands that have played at there over the 25 plus years that Jim has owned it. (Recently his sons have been running the restaurant.) I send my sympathy to his children: Michelle Holland, Jim Jr., Sean, and Patrick. His death is a big loss to the Irish community. Even the group from the Irish Pastoral Centre prayed for Jim at its monthly luncheon at the Irish Cultural Centre.

I just read that there will be more than 100 cruise ships, with more than 300,000 passengers, coming to Boston during this cruise season. The newly-refurbished Norwegian Dawn will be the most frequent visitor, making 22 trips from Boston to Bermuda. In the fall, she will make trips to Canada. She carries 2,200 passengers and has a crew of more than 1,000.

I forgot to mention that, while we were at the Irish Village in May, our pal Gregory Ashe began chatting with one of the employees. The employee asked where Greg was from in Ireland. He told her that he was from County Kerry. The employee said that she knew only one person from Kerry, “Her name is Sister Gabriel Ashe, a Dominican Missionary of Mary.” “That is my sister,” said Gregory. She is stationed in Drogheda. It is, indeed, a small world! Also. I forgot to mention the name of the bartender with the wonderful voice at the Irish Village. His name is Mikey. If you go to the Irish Village, just hope that he sings for you.

Hubby has been out in the garden, pulling weeds from the area where the tomatoes are planted. He nodded in agreement when he saw this thought by Charles Dudley Warren: “What a man needs in gardening is a cast-iron back, with a hinge in it,” from “My Summer in a Garden” (1872).