Saints Mary and Joseph Parish is a Jesuit parish responding to the call of Christ through prayer, service and community in Salem, N.H. Ss. Mary and Joseph is the combination of two parishes — St. Joseph, the mother parish (1910), and Mary Queen of Peace (1967). Salem was a farming community, and in 1929 the people of the parish built a beautiful stone church whose stones came from the stone walls on the farms of parishioners. When Interstate 93 was built in the 1950s, the population grew from 8,500 in 1950 to 20,000 in 1960. As a result, Mary Queen of Peace was founded.
The parish is known for a very active Consolers’ Ministry, which meets with the family of the deceased to plan and help with the funeral and then refer them to their bereavement team. The parish also serves two nursing homes and a rehabilitation hospital, runs a food pantry and provides quilts for those in transitional housing and prayer shawls for the sick.
Each year, Ss. Mary and Joseph helps send a team of over 20 to Honduras to visit children at a handicapped school and to run rural health clinics. The parish has also helped to build a well, renovate a church, teach drip agriculture and revive the Catholic community in a Mexican village.
Since the Jesuits arrived at the parish in 2006, they have added Ignatian spirituality with opportunities for the Spiritual Exercises in daily life, a book club and a spirituality group. In addition, an Evangelization Team has been formed to grow the parish. There are over 45 different groups and ministries in the parish, which serves over 3,000 families. (St. Joseph Church pictured above.)