Mass in the Mall? St. Francis Chapel


Where did you go to Mass today?

Me? I went in a shopping mall!

To be precise, we attended the 11:45 am Mass at the wonderful St. Francis Chapel in Boston’s Prudential Center. The Chapel, staffed by the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, is a refuge in the midst of a busy place. We sought the chapel out, since our hotel/home for the next two weeks is within easy walking distance.

But while we sat waiting for Mass to begin, I wondered how many who were nestled into the warm little chapel had wandered in during the midst of a busy shopping day, or were doing business at the nearby convention center or on a lunch break from their shift in the shopping mall. While Mass in the mall may sound a bit odd, isn’t this really the New Evangelization at its finest — finding people right where they are and bringing the Word to them?

Our homilist for the day, presider Fr. Shawn Monahan, OMV, is exactly the type of priest you’d want to see preaching in a mission oriented setting like St. Francis Chapel. Warm, engaging, a terrific speaker with a bright sense of both humor and a keen knowledge of the gospels, Fr. Shawn found a way to tie today’s Gospel passage from Matthew 3 and the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord into a life lesson that was truly relevant for every person worshipping in the chapel. I was happy to learn that Fr. Shawn’s homilies are featured on the free Catholic Homilies app along with other terrific priests such as Fr. Roger  J. Landry and Fr. Larry Richards.

St. Francis Chapel

An interesting thing happened before Mass in the mall began. We sat in the pew — Eric (our son, a senior at Harvard this year), Greg (my husband, whose two week fellowship with the Harvard School of Public Health is the reason for our visit) and me (the wife and mom, always also wearing her blogger hat). A very sweet Sister approached us and invited Eric to help with usher duties by taking up the collection. He was happy to help — I think he was actually sort of tickled to be asked and to receive the two minute basket pushing lesson from the adorable Sister. I thought to myself about our suburban parish where our ushers, all trained volunteers, report for “duty” in their matching navy blazers and professional nametags, doubling as greeters for our huge congregation. How blessed our parish is to have so many volunteers! And yet, what a blessing it was to Eric to play a small role at Mass today, simply because the Chapel needed him. I wondered how many before Eric might have pushed that same basket, perhaps after having just wandered into the chapel in the mall on a whim.

Every type of parish setting is a beautiful member of the Body of Christ. I’m going to look forward during the next two weeks to discovering some new ones, but I’m sure before I head home I’ll be seeking out at least a few more Masses in the mall!

A question for you: Where did you attend Mass this weekend? 

Photo Credit: Cardinal Sean’s blog –

Copyright 2014 Lisa M. Hendey



About Author

Lisa M. Hendey is the founder and editor of and the bestselling author of the Chime Travelers children's fiction series, The Grace of Yes, The Handbook for Catholic Moms and A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms. As a board member and frequent host on KNXT Catholic Television, Lisa has produced and hosted multiple programs and has appeared on EWTN and CatholicTV. Hendey hosted “Catholic Moments” on Radio Maria and is the technology contributor for EWTN’s SonRise Morning Show. Lisa's articles have appeared in Catholic Digest, National Catholic Register, and Our Sunday Visitor. Hendey travels internationally giving workshops on faith, family, and Catholic technology and communications topics. She was selected as an Elizabeth Egan Journalism Fellow, attended the Vatican Bloggers Meeting, the “Bishops and Bloggers” meeting and has written internationally on the work of Catholic Relief Services and Unbound. Hendey lives with her family in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Visit Lisa at for information on her speaking schedule or to invite her to visit your group, parish or organization.


  1. Make sure to go to St. Clement Eucharistic Shrine. They have an 11 AM Mass on Sunday. The church is located on the corner of Boylston and Ipswich Streets.

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