Today is a new beginning for the Church in Watertown/Oakville. We are now one community of faith under the name Holy Disciples Parish. We give thanks for the legacies of St Mary Magdalen Parish and St. John the Evangelist Parish that have served Catholics for generations. We now take those legacies, unite them, and go forward with new strength and passion to accomplish our ultimate mission - proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Please join me in giving thanks for those who labored to build our Catholic communities - (a legacy that will endure) and celebrate a new future filled with exciting possibilities.
Fr Anthony J Smith
Pastor, Holy Disciples Parish
2023 Parish Office Hours
Effective January 2023, our Parish Office and Parish Life Office will be located at 21 Academy Hill, Watertown with office hours on Monday through Thursday from 9am to 4pm.
All Offices will be closed on Fridays
The Parish Life Office will also be open at 145 Buckingham Street, Oakville on Mondays ONLY from 10am to 2pm.
Faith Formation Offices will be located at 9 Academy Hill, Watertown
Check the website for hours.
Phone: 860-274-4123 or 860-274-1955
Message from Rev. Anthony Smith - November 10, 2022
To the Holy Disciples Parish Family
Our principal, Sherried Gemmell at St John the Evangelist Middle School, part of the Unified Schools of St Mary Magdalen and St John the Evangelist, will be retiring this month.
With the recent passing of her father, Sherrie, finds herself needed to attend to her family at this time.
On behalf of the whole parish community I wish to thank Sherrie for her service to our school and offer prayers for Sherrie and her family.
I have been working with our School Board to begin the search for a new principal and we will keep you posted when we hire a qualified candidate to effectively lead our school forward through this time of transition.
Sincerely in Christ
Fr Anthony J. Smith
October 13, 2022 - Statement of Fr. Anthony J. Smith
Today we woke up to the tragic news that three officers were shot in Bristol resulting in two deaths and one serious injury. I ask that you offer a time of prayerful silence today with your family for the deceased and the injured and for all families involved in this tragedy. Additionally, I ask that you keep the members of our Watertown Police and Fire departments in your prayers. The men and women who heroically protect us every day need our unwavering support and gratitude always, but especially during this time of mourning.
Pastor's Letter on the Supreme Court Decision
June 25, 2022
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
After almost 50 years of marching in Washington, countless rosaries prayed and the creation of many agencies that assist women in crisis, like Carolyn’s Place, the Prolife cause has been rewarded for perseverance and trust in the power of faith. The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs Wade is correct on two levels; judicial and moral.
I pray Friday, June 24th 2022 is the beginning of a change in the consciousness of America. Contrary to false claims in the media, abortion has not been outlawed. The Supreme Court ruled that each state should now decide their own laws regarding the legality of abortion and any limits where it remains legal. The decision handed down Friday is a legal matter, and, God willing, it will lead to more lives saved. But the battle for the soul of America continues. We must still work and pray hard to change the hearts and minds of many. The debate can now happen on a local level and when all the arguments are placed on the table, life will always triumph.
As a people of faith we must continue to provide support to women who face difficult decisions about unplanned pregnancies. Our responsibility to care for those in need of support does not wane with a change in the law. We must continue to support life at all stages and support those who bravely choose life despite the many challenges.
Please join me in giving thanks for a new beginning in the struggle to protect the life of the unborn, and continue to pray that our country begins to travel down a path where the sanctity of life, at all stages, is protected.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr Anthony J. Smith
June 26, 2022
In one week we will celebrate our country’s 246th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It will be a much deserved three day weekend for everyone to enjoy the festivities, cookouts, firework shows and time with family and friends. Amidst the national celebration will come the official unification of St Mary Magdalen parish and St John the Evangelist Parish, along with the unification of our schools, on July 1st. From that day forward we will be known as Holy Disciples Parish, one strong Catholic community in Oakville/Watertown.
The complexity of bringing two parishes and two schools together can be a bit overwhelming. Many people from both parishes and schools have been working out details and preparing for the future parish. I am so grateful for all their work. The process will be ongoing for several months and there is still much work to be done.
In the midst of all the legal, and logistical matters that need attention, there is one component that can be forgotten – the mark of our oneness as followers of Christ. Throughout our country’s history we have experienced waves of immigrants and population shifts. As a Church we adapted to these changes by creating parish communities to accommodate the needs of the faithful. This resulted in multiple parish communities even in one town or city especially in the Northeast. With all these individual parishes formed we became intimately connected with our own parish and our focus was very parochial. With so many separate worship communities we can lose sight of our oneness. This unification is an opportunity to reinvigorate the first mark of our faith – that we are one. And as one, we can be a stronger force in our mission to spread the Gospel.
We experience this oneness and the strength of unity everyday in our country. As the United States we are stronger and more viable than we would be if our states were not united under one flag. We find this strength in our domestic life as well. When a man and woman come together before the altar to be joined in Holy Matrimony they become a creative force and form a family that is the foundation of society. In the Gospel of John Jesus says “I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me (Jn 17:21). Our mission is, first and foremost, making Christ present in our world. As one we have the strength and viability to accomplish this primary mission.
And so my friends, we have two reasons to celebrate this summer; our annual 4th of July anniversary and a historic coming together of two parishes that have left a legacy of faith in our town. July 1st , 2022 begins a new chapter in the history of Catholicism in Watertown/Oakville and you and I are privileged to write this first chapter. What we do now matters for our church and for generations to follow, just as it did on the day our forefathers signed the Declaration of Independence. Thank you for all your support in this endeavor and I look forward to celebrating our unity with all of you. Happy 4th of July!!