- Introductory links to Chronicle viewers, on the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary's main page.
- Refutations of some of the strange rumors circulated about us in Richmond. Most of our neighbors in town are very good to us. We try to be good neighbors to all. A few critics seem to have creative imaginations and lots of spare blogging time.
- Fatherfeeney.org is not associated with Father Feeney or the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary — The Chronicle web page linked to this strange web site run by a non-Catholic racist who has nothing to do with our apostolate.
- About Brother Francis, our ninety-four-year-old superior. A philosopher and poet from Lebanon.
- Brother André Marie's Theology Weblog may help you get a better picture of one who was interviewed in the program. (You can fast forward to his about me page.)
- Click here to see what a competent Canon Lawyer (Church law expert) thinks of whether or not we're Catholic. (You can read about this lawyer here.) As Mr. Vere shows, we're Catholic, no matter what others may say.
- Visit our conference web site, about our annual Summer Conference in Nashua.
- Finally, learn about our annual Festival, put on by our Sisters' Catholic school.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
August 4, 2007
For a while now I have been wanting to address you regarding the controversy which has surrounded Saint Benedict Center’s plans to erect another building on our property. Recent events have reminded me that it is necessary to do this sooner rather than later.
With this letter I extend an olive branch to all our neighbors, whether you are in favor of our building project, against it, or are indifferent to it.
First, I would like to say that I’m very sorry that our attempt to build a 10,300-square-foot school and chapel has occasioned bad feelings in the community. This was certainly not our intention. We have lived at peace in this town for almost twenty years now and we intend to remain here in peace.
Nevertheless, there is something else at work. In an effort to oppose our project, some folks have tried to “stir the pot.” They have made very ugly and defamatory accusations regarding SBC and the families who worship here. Even friendly bystanders who do not practice our religion have been caught in the crossfire.
We are very sorry that some Richmond residents have had their peace disturbed, but we had no way of knowing that a handful of opponents would resort to these tactics.
The situation has escalated to the point that a nationally-known organization, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), has run an article on it in their publication, Intelligence Report. This article has been circulated around town. I have already responded to it on our web site (www.catholicism.org), but I will make some brief comments on it here.
The SPLC is well known for profiling organizations as “hate groups.” They started during the civil rights movement, by going after racist groups like the KKK and similar organizations. But then they moved on to other territory, making a lot of money in the process. As part of their multi-million-dollar annual business, they label many conservative, pro-family, and pro-American organizations as intolerant extremists. They very often create controversy where there is none, as when they portrayed the movie series, “The Lord of the Rings,” as racist propaganda. Americans on both the political left and the political right have questioned the SPLC’s credibility.
The story they ran on SBC included serious misquotations, non-factual statements, and untruthful rumors. A layman who comes to our chapel was accused of making the despicable statement that “Jews should be dealt with using ‘blood and terror if it’s required.’” This is a libelous claim. The vile quotation was fabricated.
The article also reported the unfounded rumor that people “heard the sound of automatic weapon fire at SBC on a regular basis.” SBC is a monastery, not a shooting range; we have no automatic weapons. This claim is untrue, as are numerous others calculated to make us look like a dangerous cult.
What got left out of the article is what we actually do in the community, like visiting the elderly in nursing homes, helping disabled neighbors with their firewood, sponsoring a Boy Scout troop, teaching children in our school, training altar boys to serve Mass, and entertaining people with wholesome, family fun at our annual festival. As a service to the community, we also typeset and helped publish two books on Richmond’s history: The Town in the Forest: Life Story of Richmond, New Hampshire, by Neith Boyce and The Only Mill in Town: The Story of the Pail-Making Industry in Richmond, New Hampshire, by Richard A Martin. We rendered these services for free.
Many of you have visited here and know us, or you know families who worship here. You know that these defamatory claims portray us in a very false light — as we were able to show in the detailed refutation on our web site. It is a terrible shame that outsiders based in Alabama, people who do not know us and who made no effort to interview us for their article, have attempted to stir up trouble in our small New Hampshire community.
That said, we bear no grudge against those who were quoted in the article. Neither do we hold it against people if they oppose our building project for one reason or another. Contrary to what the article claimed, we don’t want to chase people out of town. Rather, we want to remain your good neighbors. Here in Richmond, as everywhere else, there are bound to be disagreements of one kind or another; but that does not prevent us from being kind, civil, and neighborly to each other. And if we try to interest you in our Catholic religion, it is out of Christian charity, not out of hatred.
To those we haven’t met: We invite you to get to know us. Some folks may attempt to give this letter their own spin, causing doubt and confusion about who we are. This makes it even more helpful for you to get to know us personally. This year’s Blueberry Fiddle Festival would be a great opportunity for us to enjoy each others’ company. We hope to see you soon!
Brother André Marie, M.I.C.M.
Your neighbor, and the Prior of SBC
Yes, the liberal organization — which impugns our stance on “divorce, abortion, birth control, pornography, [and] sodomy” — has given us a sound thrashing. You see, to have strong views against such things makes us a “hate group” to their way of thinking. This, from an organization which calls conservative political commentator Pat Buchanan a “white nationalist” guilty of “selling racism.” Further, those who call for stronger control of immigration are tied in with “white supremacist” causes and “anti-immigration extremists” (even Alan Keyes?). But Christian men aren’t the only source of evil, for the Concerned Women for America, are in SPLC’s sights for their pro-family agenda, and David Horowitz advances “efforts to make bigoted and discredited ideas respectable.” You movie buffs will be surprised to learn that Gods and Generals is racist historical revisionism and that The Lord of the Rings advances the cause of “the White Patriarchy” (because its heroes are “manly men who are whiter than white”). And lastly, to utter the unholy name of perhaps the most nefarious goose-steppers of all, the Michigan State University Young Americans for Freedom, like us, were designated a “hate group.”
One may wonder why we don’t simply ignore this organization. The main reason is that they are very well endowed financially and therefore have the money to make their claims stick. Further, they have stirred up a bit of trouble for us locally.
We have published a refutation of the article’s claims: “The Trouble in Paradise is Trouble with the Truth.” Here, we present a summary of its inaccuracies. Included in the SPLC’s fictitious portrayal of our religious community are the following:
- A layman who comes to our chapel was accused of making the despicable statement that “Jews should be dealt with using ‘blood and terror if it’s required.’” This is false. The man said no such thing.
- “Rumors” that “SBC members have rifles equipped with night vision scopes” and that automatic weapons are fired at our monastery “on a regular basis.” are reported. These rumors, unverified by the journalist, are false.
- The claim is made that our religious community is “training in martial arts and weapons.” The unsubstantiated claim is false.
- The article states: “Some [residents] even fear that the Slaves really intend to draw children away from public schools in favor of their own, possibly crippling secular public schools by de-funding them in the process.” The fear is groundless and nothing is offered to prove it.
- One individual is cited claiming that “she feels that the SBC has begun to threaten her formerly idyllic way of life. At issue are both the beliefs and the practices of the SBC.... ” The implication is false. SBC has never threatened this person in any way.
- We were accused of trying to pressure non-SBC-affiliated residents out of town: “The [SBC’s] goal was to have people get wind of this expansion and then move out.” Not a single shred of proof offered to support this statement. It is a suspicion, and a false one at that.
- The article accuses us of “anti-Semitism,” which one SPLC spokesperson defined as “hating Jews.” The charge is false. Why do we bemoan the lack of serious effort to convert Jews to the Catholic Faith if we “hate” them? Among those Father Feeney was instrumental in bringing into the Catholic Church were over a dozen Jewish converts.
- The article states: “Increasingly, folks here are objecting to the SBC’s desire to outlaw divorce, abortion, birth control, pornography, sodomy, public education and even, some fear, government in general.” The notion that we “desire to outlaw government in general” is false, silly, and, not surprisingly, unproven.
- The article employs colorful words to portray us in a fanatical light. We are called “radical,” and “angry.” We “hotly denied” accusations against us in the press. Further, we employ “extremist rhetoric” and live in a “compound.” Such inflated rhetoric does not advance the cause of truth, but only bolsters the article’s false assertions.
- The article cited “concerns” about “the potability of wells on the SBC property. ” The “concerns” are baseless. Our drinking-water wells comply with the stringent standards of the NH DES , which monitors our systems through periodic testing.
For a longer refutation of the SPLC’s recent article, see “The Trouble in Paradise is Trouble with the Truth.”
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
The assertion not only has no correspondence with our way of doing things; but it is a classical non-sequitur: The conclusion simply does not follow from the premises.
The traditional Catholic social teaching we embrace does not remotely resemble Moslem Sharia Law; neither is it a totalitarianism of any sort. Those interested in learning more about the kind of Catholic political thought we embrace are invited to consult the book Framework of a Christian State by Fr. E. Cahill, S. J.
Whenever, in the history of the Church, there were those who incorrectly sought to force conversions, the pope or the bishops generally were there to issue a reprimand. That’s not the Catholic way and its not our way. Even when it comes to dealing with outright, self-professed enemies of the Church, the Catholic way is to live in peace with them as much as possible, while seeking to protect the liberty of the Church and her children from any harm that the Church’s enemies may seek to do to them. This last part, protection of bodily welfare and civil rights, is the job of the state.
That said, it is also to be noted that seeking the conversion of one soul from error to truth is an act of charity, that is, of divine love.
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Let Heaven and earth rejoice, Alleluia!
It has come to our attention that someone is once again challenging the veracity of our public claims regarding Paul Melanson, his attendance here at Mass, and his application for admission in our religious Congregation. I would like to make it very clear that I stand by these statements, which I originally made on the TalkBack blog that the Keene Sentinel removed from its site. Someone recently informed me by email that I am being called a liar for making these claims. Such a charge is completely libelous.
Here is the reply I sent to that inquirer:
If Paul Melanson is really denying that he sought admission here as a brother, he is not telling the truth, plain and simple. (Of course, on line, especially on blogs, you can't know who is saying what, can you?) Several people here were aware of Paul's presence and were surprised at his subsequent criticism of us. The letters I spoke of on TalkBack [see below] are indeed here on file for anybody to see, as I said. In any fair tribunal, I could easily prove the veracity of my statements with documentary evidence and eyewitness accounts. Further, there is no inconsistency in my claims, as the "inexplicable rage" I referred to began shortly after his letter to me withdrawing his application. That letter was a little weird, but was written in a more balanced tone. [Note: someone had claimed that my reference to Paul’s rage was undone by my quote from his civil-sounding letter.]
The claim that the Center "may erupt in violence at any moment" is amateurish rhetoric gone wild. Whoever wrote it obviously doesn't know us. We've lived in peace here for 18 years, a record which speaks well for itself. Unless someone else plans a violent assault on us, there will be no violence here. This gentleman's claims are as comical as they are false. Of course, it's very sad that someone would lie about another's reputation. That's nothing to laugh about.
For the record, here is the original posting I made concerning Mr. Melanson. I emboldened a passage I consider particularly worthy of attention. Readers will note that I am making factual claims which require proof (proof which I have), and not merely making anonymous (or pseudonymous) claims I cannot substantiate.
This is my penultimate posting on the Sentinel’s blogs. My last message will soon follow. My present subject limited to the proof I have of Paul Melanson’s petition to join here as a brother. I quote from a letter that Paul Anthony Melanson sent me, dated May 2, 2004. This is the letter whereby he withdrew his application because I asked him to provide his honorable discharge from the United States Air Force (his DD 214), as he had promised.
On page two of that letter, we read this:
[Begin excerpt of Paul Anthony Melanson letter of May 2, 2004...]
“It would appear that it is not God’s Will for me to enter the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. For this reason, would you be so kind as to return the documentation which I have provided you with? This would be greatly appreciated.
“I am sorry for all the inconvenience you may have been caused. It was my hope that since I was ready to take a leap of faith by entering Religious Life with no assurances as to the character and background of those I would be living with that I too would be given a certain amount of trust. It was not meant to be.
“Again, thank you for your consideration,
“God bless you Brother Andre
“Paul Anthony Melanson”
[...end excerpt of Paul Anthony Melanson letter of May 2, 2004]
Apparently I did send Paul his material back, as I cannot find it in our files. At the time, I would have seen no reason to keep it, since he withdrew his application. Mr. Vaste has asked for information about Paul’s letters of commendation, etc. Providentially, it turns out that page one of Paul’s May 2 letter has some pertinent information. Speaking of the documentation he earlier provided me with, Paul wrote this:
[Begin excerpt of Paul Anthony Melanson letter of May 2, 2004...]
“My performance evaluations were all straight 9’s , the highest possible evaluation one may receive in the Armed Forces. My letters of commendation from Colonel John G. Lorber, Commander of the 432 Tactical Fighter Wing, Colonel Mary F. Felts, Commander of the 3484 STUS/CC, Captain Ryan T. Whittaker, Commander of the 3484th Student Squadron and most significantly, my letter of commendation from Lt. General Charles W. Dyke, Commanding Officer of US Army Forces in Japan, IX Corps, all point out the fact that my performance for the Air Force were [sic] very much above standard.”
[...end excerpt of Paul Anthony Melanson letter of May 2, 2004]
This letter is on file at the Center.
Also on file is Paul Anthony Melanson’s signed letter of petition, to Brother Francis, with his “request for acceptance into The Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, that I may test my vocation to follow the Lord more closely....” That letter, which I have just quoted, is dated April 14, 2004 (exactly 3 years ago today).
Anybody who would like to review these letters, original copies with Paul Anthony Melanson’s signature, may make an appointment with me. Also available are the letters I sent Paul and printed postings I put on Paul’s blog, postings which challenged his slanderous attacks against us. Paul removed my postings, but not before we printed hard copies.
I would not have bothered to name Paul Anthony Melanson, or dredge up any of this history, but he was named as some sort of expert and I thought his history with us should be noted. My words in his regard were then challenged and my honor questioned by people who assume I am a mendacious individual and my Order is suspicious. In his Introduction to a Devout Life, St. Francis de Sales points out that a man is entitled to his good name. A fortiori, a religious order is entitled to the same.
I suspect that this will not be sufficient for some would-be inquisitors. Fine. Say what you will. You are only limited by the low standards of the Keene Sentinel’s editorial staff. This is not a court or legal tribunal of any sort. There appear to be no rules here on the Great TalkBack Pseudoinquisition of 2007, where anybody with a Quixotic penchant for cyber-toasting others’ reputations can say anything he wants, even under an assumed name, from the comfort of his own living room. If this were a court (civil or ecclesiastical), competent lawyers would argue the case before a competent judge; evidence would be looked at; witnesses would be summoned; people would testify under oath, etc. In short, there would be responsibility and accountability according to real standards and perjury would be punished. I would be able to bring many witnesses and much evidence forth to prove the veracity of my statements. In the end, I would win.
Thank you for your consideration.
— Brother André Marie, M.I.C.M.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
The question has been asked, “What does the Richmond Blueberry Fiddle Festival do for Richmond”? Good questions deserves good answers. Here are a few:
1. Richmond businesses stand to profit financially. The Four Corners Store has, in the past, enjoyed a larger influx of business due to the crowds. Besides that, while the vendors / exhibitors do pay a booth rental fee to our school, all monies taken in are theirs to keep. Many of the vendors / exhibitors have been Richmond businesses.
2. Richmond residents get a cultural event that is fun, free, and family oriented. They can listen to hours of Bluegrass, Old-Time, Early Americana, and a little Gospel and Blues; they can learn old-fashioned dances (including contra and clogging). No admission fee is charged for any of these things. IHM School brings in revenue by the following means: the parking fee (new, as of 2007), booth rentals, certain games, the bake-off auction, voluntary donations, and the reasonably-priced food and drink concessions. All the music, workshops, and many of the games are entirely free. In the past, the popcorn has always been free. The classic car show, new this year, is also free.
3. Young Richmond residents can get exposure to fun, innocent music, learn from free workshops, and connect with teachers who can tutor them privately, if they are interested. Homemade music is more fun and more ennobling than wiring yourself to a an iPod to roast your brain on the nihilistic trash that often passes for entertainment nowadays. At least we think so.
4. That Richmond has such a free event is a way of practicing good will with residents of neighboring towns. The thinking goes like this: “Come to our free event. Bring your family and have fun in Richmond. You can dance, listen to music, and see how hospitable Richmond residents are.”
Note: Lamentably, we have outgrown Richmond’s Pavilion. Due to safety concerns, we have to move the event to Swanzey.* In the future, all the above benefits will remain, with two major changes: (1) People won’t be coming to our town to enjoy our hospitality at the event. (2) The Four Corners Store will not benefit from the Festival’s proximity. We wish there were a way to keep it in our lovely town. If it is possible in the future to bring it back to Richmond, we will do so.
* We will keep Richmond in the name, though. There are numerous precedents for this: “Keene Airport” is actually in Swanzey, and some ball clubs have their stadiums in places other than those from which they derive their name.
Friday, March 23, 2007
After we completed the "Rumors" posting immediately below this one, it came to our attention that there was one rumor not yet addressed: Loreto Publications and SBC are the same thing. Well, they aren't. There is no affiliation, association, or parent- or successor-corporation relationship between the two. There never was any such arrangement. The two corporations are entirely independent from one another and always were. This is easily verifiable at the Secretary of State's office.
Personally speaking, those who run and work at Loreto are involved in SBC as congregants, friends, and supporters. But we also have U.S. military personnel who fit those categories. Last we checked, our Order hasn't had a corporate merger with the Department of Defense!
Please note the new feature on this blog: the long list, running down the right side of the page, of our favorite authors. It's designed to give a little insight into our thinking, for those who would like to know us better.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Lately, many rumors have spread throughout town about Saint Benedict Center (SBC), our Catholic monastery, convent, chapel, and affiliated school. In this letter, I am appealing to the good people of Richmond — the ones who have made us feel at home in this beautiful town for the last 18 years — to consider the facts and see the falsity of these rumors. We are confident that the fair-minded, friendly, and neighborly people in town outnumber the few who are trying to disparage us.
Rumor #1: SBC is buying up all the property at the Morgan Reserve.
Response: Wrong! We have no interest in this land and consequently to this day have no idea if it’s even for sale. SBC did not desire to purchase the additional land it bought last year. We were effectively forced to do so because a town ordinance was changed in 2006, requiring educational and cultural usages in the town to have a minimum of 20 acres. In order to add one new building, we had to comply with the new ordinance. Prior to the recent purchase, there was enough usable room to build that structure on our existing land.
Rumor #2: SBC will be buying up all the property at the Four Corners (the intersection of Routes 32 and 119).
Response: Wrong again! We are neither land barons nor commercial proprietors. Again, as we are not interested in the land, we do not even know of its availability.
Rumor #3: The families that go to Mass at SBC on Sundays give their homes to SBC so that they do not have to pay real estate taxes.
Response: Wrong again! In the 18 years we have been here, not one single residence has been donated to SBC.
We are not in the illegal tax-shelter business. We understand that if we were to own a home not used for our non-profit, religious purposes, we may have to pay taxes on it. We do not own any such homes and do not plan on procuring them.
Rumor #4: The SBC families pay no real estate taxes and they have to give 60% of their income to SBC.
Response: Wrong again! Every private person who owns a private residence in Richmond pays real estate property taxes, school taxes, and, if they own a vehicle, automobile registration taxes and fees. As for the comical 60% figure, no person who attends SBC or IHM school for whatever function has to give any set amount as a donation. Their donations are purely voluntary.
Rumor #5: SBC is the largest nonprofit landowner in town.
Response: Wrong again! Check the tax records. The Cheshire County YMCA, a nonprofit corporation, owns almost three times the tax-exempt property SBC does (this includes all property — buildings and land — currently owned by the YMCA and SBC). Even the Town of Richmond owns more tax-exempt property than SBC — over a million dollars more. Look at the Town Report; the facts are all there.
What was just said is not a criticism of the YMCA or the Town, simply a correction of the false statement.
Rumor #6: SBC was formerly Blessed Sacrament, Inc. or Blessed Sacrament Community, Inc. (BSC).
Response: Wrong again! The professional communist liar, Vladimir Lenin, said “A lie told often enough becomes the truth.” Sadly, certain interested parties have been re-telling this lie over and over again until it has nearly “become the truth.” SBC is, and has always been, a totally separate New Hampshire corporation from BSC. SBC is a non-profit corporation, while BSC is a for-profit corporation. None of the incorporators, officers, or directors of the two corporations are the same. None of them have ever served on the other corporation. Check the records at the Secretary of State’s Office in Concord; examine the records at the Registry of Deeds in Keene; look at the Richmond Town Tax Office records; read the Town Report. These sources will only confirm my response to be true.
SBC purchased property from BSC 18 years ago in a legal and properly recorded land transaction. That does not make one a parent corporation or successor corporation of the other.
Rumor # 7: SBC proposes to build an enormous structure that will alter the town’s rural character.
Response: Wrong again! Of course, this one is more a matter of opinion than of fact, but please look at the facts to formulate your own informed opinion: The one-story building is a combination school / chapel designed to offer children a better learning environment. The proposed structure would give us just sufficient room to do what needs to be done — worship God and teach children. It will have six classrooms in the school section and a one-room oratory for the chapel space.
For comparison, consider these facts: Mountain View Bible Church in Dublin — a town with a population of 1,556 (source: Town Selectmen) — has a school-church building of 28,088 square feet. Wells Memorial School in Harrisville — population 1,015 (source: Town Selectmen) — is 16,000 square feet. Marlborough Elementary School in Marlborough — population 2,882 (source: nextag.com)— is 38,000 square feet. James Faulkner Elementary School in Stoddard — population 992 (source: Town Selectmen) — is 10,500 square feet. Westmoreland School in Westmoreland — population 1,787 (source: bestplaces.net) — is 25,400 square feet. Considering these figures, proportional to Richmond’s population of 1,203 (source: bestplaces.net) , our 10,206 square foot chapel-school building is modest indeed! (Sources for church / school square footage: individual institutions.)
Rumor #8: SBC refuses to pay their fair share of road and bridge upgrades required by additional traffic to their property.
Response: Wrong again — and a total calumny! Before we even submitted a site plan application we were sensitive to the potential needs and requirements of the town. Every year Fay Martin Road needs some work. And we are not the only people using the road and bridge. We have not taken logging trucks over the road and bridge causing damage. But, with absolutely no legal requirement to do so, we offered to pay for the cost of an upgrade proposed by the town road agent. The upgrade amount was far beyond our potential increased usage — and would have covered the entire area of Fay Martin Road that might be affected by our new building (down to the former Boscarino driveway, now our Priory at 115 Fay Martin Rd.). And the bridge was also considered. Based on what we discovered of the availability of state funding, we offered to pay 100% of the cost of repairs or installation of a new bridge — fronting all the money. We only asked to be reimbursed 80% of the money (exactly the portion funded by the state), whenever the state should reimburse the town. This was money coming from a state program, not by direct taxes to Richmond residents.
Now there is another thing you should know: The SBC-hired engineer — and the engineers hired by the town — agreed that there was no need for the road or bridge to be upgraded due to our one building, not for engineering purposes, safety purposes, or any other reasons. Why not? Because all the studies showed so small an increase in traffic that such upgrades were not needed. We did not say that. It was the engineers — on both sides — who said it. We believe that our neighbors’ concerns on this issue have merit. So we have tried to be good neighbors, as indicated above.We have been engaged in the long and expensive process of trying to get site-plan approval for almost two years, without doing anything to cause undue pressure on the Planning Board. We have been responsive to requests from the Planning Board. Since we are not experts, we have hired experts to draw up and present plans, to file our application, to follow up with studies. We have followed the rules and been cooperative, even paying for the Planning Board to do further studies which only confirmed the initial studies we supplied. We ask for nothing out of the ordinary, only that the decisions be reasonable and based on applicable statutes, ordinances, etc. We also ask people to ignore the rumors and stick to the facts.
I have presented the facts to you. I hope the good people of Richmond, knowing these things, will be fair and reasonable too. That is all we ask of you, our neighbors. Thank you for your time and God bless you all!
Monday, March 19, 2007
Mr. Robert Cohen, who was then (and is now) an employee here at Saint Benedict Center, did the typesetting for the book, The Town in the Forest: Life Story of Richmond, New Hampshire, by Neith Boyce. Bob also made the necessary arrangements to have the book printed by Turley Publications in Palmer, MA — the commercial printer whose services we used at that time.
Tim Harron, then a student at the Center’s IHM school (class of '91), helped with this project.
Mr. Cohen was a paid employee of Saint Benedict Center. We provided his services on an entirely volunteer basis as a good-will gesture to our neighbors in Richmond. Neither the Center nor Mr. Cohen nor Tim Harron made any money from this project.
The same is true of the book The Only Mill in Town: The Story of the Pail-Making Industry in Richmond, New Hampshire, by Richard A Martin. We typeset the book and dealt with our commercial printer to bring it into print, all pro bono.
- We provide religious services for Richmond residents. All are welcome to our Masses, our public Rosary, and other religious services not only on Sunday, but every day of the week. (Non-Catholic Richmond residents have come to our services.)
- We have night classes every Friday. They are free and open to the public.
- We provide a Catholic school that Richmond residents can send their children to. While religious instruction is mandatory for all students, we do not require the students to be Catholic to attend. We have had non-Catholic students.
- We have an annual Christmas pageant and other musical / entertainment programs five other times of the year (All Hallow’s Eve, Thanksgiving, Anniversary of the Order, St. Patrick’s Day, End of School Program.) They are free and open to the public. There are non-Catholic Richmond residents who have come to them.
- Our school puts on the Richmond Blueberry Fiddle Festival, begun at the suggestion of the former fire chief, Mr. Bud Jacobsen. (Bud, who is not Catholic, is the much-liked former owner of the 4-Corners Store. He has since moved down South.) The festival is a cultural event which provides free, wholesome family fun and entertainment to all comers. Yes, it is a fund raiser for our school. ALL advertising openly states that it is put on by our school. (Some have falsely accused us of "hiding" behind the name of Richmond.) Hundreds of people come to this event.
- On different occasions the brothers and sisters from the Center have organized our members to to assist handicapped, aged, or grieving neighbors, several of whom were folks who did not come here for Mass either because they were not Catholic or because they were non-practicing Catholics. For example, our neighbor, Mr. Grover LaBelle received much attention from us after his beloved wife died. The brothers visited him and gave him occasional car rides when he was sent to the Carpenter Home in Swanzey. (Both Grover and his beloved wife died Catholics, received into the Church here in our chapel.)
- Other little acts of neighborly charity would include this: Several "Center families" who live on Tully Brook Road assisted their new neighbor and his family to move into their new house. The gentleman is a Mormon bishop.
- It's not Richmond, but it pertains to a slightly wider "local community": Every week we visit the retirement home in Winchester (next town to the West) to visit with the residents. The staff there is appreciative of our charitable work of visiting with lonely and sick old folks. One of those residents benefits from regular rides to and from Sunday Mass.