An interview with Fr. John Madden

posted by Mike on August 11th, 2011

For the latest episode of The Silver Mountain, Bruce “Snow Ghost” Russell and I talked to Fr. John Madden, pastor of St. John’s Catholic Church in Worcester. Fr. John talks about being a priest, organizing a soup line, Dorothy Day, and the Catholic Worker movement.

More notes at Landlubber.

Fr. Madden wins Worcester human rights award

posted by Mike on December 13th, 2010

Father John Madden, pastor of St. John’s Church in Worcester, has won the Worcester Human Rights Commission’s Eleanor T. Hawley Award for outstanding contributions to the field of Human Rights.

According to the City Manager’s letter on the subject:

From serving more than 3,000 meals annually, to housing men in recovery from addiction, a free medical clinic, English as a Second Language classes, to the church’s ministry to Vietnamese residents, Father Madden protects and respects each and every person’s human rights.

The St. John’s soup kitchen has been one of the best around, and a fantastic manifestation of the Catholic Worker spirit in the city. (Fr. Madden spend a number of months living at the New York Catholic Worker house before helping found the soup kitchen at St. John’s.)

We used to write about St. John’s and Fr. Madden much more often around here; we should get back to it.

Hilda Ramirez of the Youth Center also received this award. Congrats to them both!

Madden pastor of St John’s

posted by Mike on February 8th, 2008

Catholic Free Press:

Father John F. Madden was named pastor of St. John Parish, where he has been serving as administrator.

Thanksgiving at St. John’s parish

posted by Mike on November 23rd, 2007


Pictured: The St. John’s high school football team stops by the St. John’s parish Thanksgiving free meal (held at Fiddler’s Green–long story) to say hi to Father John Madden. Later in the day, they beat St Peter-Marian 17-6.

8 grand stolen from St. John’s Parish

posted by Mike on March 21st, 2006

Rev. Madden posted a notice in the parish bulletin at Masses Saturday and Sunday saying: “After a wonderful novena, it is heartbreaking to report that during the 7:15 p.m. Mass on last Sunday, thieves broke into the rectory and stole, $7,844.00.”
(Telegram & Gazette, subscription required)

Things seem to be going great at St. John’s in so many other ways. The article notes that they may be covered by insurance.

Last night Rev. Madden was talking about watching reruns of the cathedral’s Sunday mass on the mighty WCCA-TV. “It’s kind of like watching a game film.”

Rehashing the death of Robert Patricks

posted by Mike on January 23rd, 2006

According to an article in Sunday’s T&G, Bill’s Place is closed, but Bill McNeil continues his solo efforts to aid the homeless locally.

The article starts off at a dramatic and sordid moment, with the death last winter of Bobby Patricks, a hard-core heroin addict and homeless man staying in the garage at St. John’s Church with his friend Joe Hickey.

This was last winter, and the situation frustrated Mr. McNeil. He called code enforcement officials, who cleaned out the garage and referred Joe to a social service agency. Church officials called Mr. McNeil a bully for ratting out one of the few places homeless people could find refuge. Yet it was nothing new to Mr. McNeil. He’s been called a bully before, but it’s all part of his efforts to advocate for the homeless. No one should have to sleep in a garage. No one should die in one. And if he was being called a bully, so be it.

“I don’t think fighting for the homeless is being a bulldog,” he said. “I’ve shown the city I ain’t scared to stand up for people freezing to death. Someone has to stand up for them.”

This article is the phoniest I’ve ever seen in the T&G. I’d just like to address the two parts that are quickest to debunk.

First, this article, and the T&G articles that appeared at the time, imply that Mr. Patricks and Mr. Hickey weren’t already in touch with social service agencies, which is complete crap. They were and Mr. Hickey still is. Mr. McNeil’s intervention, and the city’s intervention, changed nothing. Last time I saw Joe, he was still drinking and his life was still a terrible mess. (Too bad he wasn’t interviewed for this article.)

Second, the entire article gives a misleading impression of the situation in Worcester. The tone is summed up by this quote:

“I’m fighting for the homeless and I feel I’m the only person fighting on the street,” he said.

There are at least a couple dozen people doing their best to help the homeless “on the street” in this town, and not just publicity hounds like my Catholic Worker community. I’ve never felt alone when fighting for the homeless in Worcester.

Thanksgiving and other items

posted by Mike on November 25th, 2005

Let’s eat

Thanksgiving is one day when America not only makes a point of feeding the hungry, but feeding them in style.

There was a big crowd at St. John’s Free Meal for Thanksgiving Breakfast. Lots of hugs and smiles.

The St. John’s High School football team stopped by with a donation. (Later that day, they beat St. Peter-Marian 28-7.)

The breakfast conversation was sparkling, as always.

Mike: Why are they showing “Night of the Living Dead” on Thanksgiving?

Bruce: The dead gotta eat too, Mike!
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The Re-Dedication of St. John’s Church

posted by Mike on October 2nd, 2005

The first thing you’d notice upon entering the church: There’s no holy water.

The second thing: The tabernacle is wide open, empty.

Last September, the ceiling of St. John’s Church fell in.

Today, October 2, all the repairs were completed, and it was re-dedicated by Most Rev. Robert P. McManus, Bishop of Worcester.

The concelebrants were Msgr. Edmond Tinsley and Rev. John Madden, who is the administrator of St. John’s.
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A Year of Soup

posted by Mike on July 22nd, 2005

. . . and other items.

  • From St. John’s parish bulletin this week:

    Free Meal: Our anniversary week was busy. Last year, we were standing outside the church wondering if anyone would come to break bread, and enjoy soup, with us. This year, we barely had enough soup. “Success,” in this regard, is not needing a free meal, but there is a need now, and we are blessed to be able to serve and to offer a place of physical, emotional, and spiritual nourishment. We are always grateful for your monetary donations as well as lunch meats, tuna fish, mustard, mayo, coffee, and . . . Thank you!

  • Speaking of Darfur-related fasts, there has been a fast in Lafayette Park for most of July.
  • In I’m So Blue, Barbara Solow pays tribute to the progressive South.

Free enterprise

posted by Mike on June 21st, 2005


Bruce and I walked downtown today to have coffee at St. John’s parish.


It’s my job to live the dreams other people only fantasize about.

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