Why are these three churches called "St. J's" and why are they called a Collaborative.
This group of parishes is named "The St. J's" because it is comprised of many "J's" There is St. James Church which is named in honor of both St. James the Greater and St. James the Lesser. There is also St. John the Evangelist Church and St. Joseph's. However, it should always be remembered that above all and forever this is Jesus' Collaborative. Altogether there is a divine providence of titles already found within the collaborative so it kind of named itself.
As to why the group is called a "collaborative" as opposed to any other word that means "group" is because it was given to us by the competent authority in the area. The Archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Seán O'Malley, needs to do this at least temporarily because of the current lack of priests. Priests need to be assigned to more than one parish at a time. Doing this smart is smart.
In this particular collaborative the current redundancies that have existed in other collaboratives do not exist and so there is no need for culling as has had to be faced in other areas going into collaboration around the Diocese.
It should be noted that while it is not formally the case it is nonetheless practically the case that we also serve many populated areas just north of the Massachusetts border as our churches are very close to them. There are many from the southern parts of Brookline and Hollis New Hampshire who are served by this collaborative. To some extent it is a collaborative serving five and a half towns.
Who needs to know about this?
It is more for administrative purposes. People looking for events and services need to know the names of the churches themselves more than anything. If there is an event in either parish of the collaborative it doesn't make sense to say it is the collaborative or in this or that parish. It is more to the point for the people served to say which church the event is in. "You are invited to the 24 Hours for the Lord Program at St. James" for example is better than saying you are invited to some event being held in the collaborative. The reason for that is the collaborative represents an area not a particular human scale destination. It could be a location for a large thing such as an asteroid but that would be silly. For the average person they are looking for the church. The distinction some have used: "worship site" is confusing. It is a particular church building that people are looking for and that is the normal way it is referred to when looking for an event.
The collaborative reality and its title is interesting for people administrating goods and services mostly. The names and locations of particular church buildings are of less interest to people seeking services.
Fr. Jeremy St. Martin