Raising the Roof at OLM!

Raising the Roof at OLM!

 Roofers hard at work!

Roofers hard at work!

Dear Parishioners:                                

As I look out my window I see roofers on top of our Church  hard at work.  They are making good progress in replacing our old roof.  They did discover some rotted plywood  upon removing the old shingles and replaced them.  Other than that the work on the new roof has been smooth.                            

I hope and pray that the new roof  is complete by the time this bulletin is printed! The roofers are working very efficiently and have managed to get the work done without the interference of rain. The new shingles certainly look good and have a 50 year life! We closed the doors to Church and the Office for safety during this project. I thank you for your cooperation and understanding.

We had a joyful and faithful celebration of First Communion last Saturday morning.  Sixty-four children from our parish received Jesus Christ sacramentally in Holy Communion for the very fist time! It was a joyful celebration and we give thanks to God for such a wonderful occasion in the life of our parish family.

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Our First Communion Class also celebrated the Annual May Crowning at the 10:30am Mass on Sunday.  It was a fitting way to mark Mother’s Day as we crowned our Blessed Mother Mary, Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May!  The children consecrated themselves to the protection and patronage of Mary our Mother!  We congratulate these children and continue to pray for them as they grow in the faith.

Our Holy Father, Pope Francis,  says:    "You, who  make your First Communion, always remember this day your whole life: the first day that Jesus came in to us. He comes, makes himself one with us, makes himself our food, our nourishment to give us strength."

 Summer Seminarian Patrick Ryan

Summer Seminarian Patrick Ryan

I am happy to announce that our Summer Seminarian, Patrick Ryan, arrives this week to begin his assignment here.  Patrick is a seminarian studying for the priesthood for the Diocese of Providence.  He recently completed his first year of post-college study of philosophy and theology at Providence College.  He lived at Our Lady of Providence Seminary on Mt. Pleasant Avenue in Providence.

Patrick is from Coventry where he  and his family are parishioners of Saints John and Paul Parish.  He graduated from Coventry High School and Boston University. Patrick will live with us in the Rectory and  work alongside of Fr. Barrow and myself for ten weeks. Besides serving Mass, Patrick will have the great opportunity to immerse himself in the life and ministry of our parish from teaching in our school to visiting our homebound. We look forward to his presence at OLM.

He will be able to see the daily life of parish priests  as well as the life of a parish.  I know you will give him your usual warm welcome. Please be sure to introduce yourself when you see him around the parish or around town!  Welcome Patrick!

Next Saturday morning one of  our former Summer Seminarians, Eric Silva, is to be ordained a transitional deacon for our diocese.    Eric will be ordained a priest next June at the Cathedral, please keep him in your prayers as he continues his studies.  We wish him many blessings and offer our prayerful congratulations on his ordination to the diaconate.  Ad multos annos!

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We are getting much closer to meeting our parish goal of $193,000 for the Catholic Charity Appeal.  Thus far we have heard from just 440 families. Yet we are a parish of nearly 2,500 registered families!  We ask every parish family to consider supporting the CCA and to make a pledge of $300 over a year. The CCA helps the poor and needy across our state. 

Just Imagine all the good work in the name of Jesus that could be done if every family was willing to support the CCA! If you have not yet given your gift, please do so and place it in the weekly collection basket.  Please take one of the pledge envelopes that are located in the vestibule of the Church. If we are to make our parish goal, we truly need the support of every parish family.  In the name of the poor, I thank you for your support.

I am away this weekend attending my niece’s graduation from Georgetown Law School.  She is a graduate of both OLM School and Prout. I am very proud of her and looking forward to the celebration this weekend!

Do good. Be well. God Bless. Go Sox! Go Celtics!

 

First Communion, May Crowning and a New Roof Too!!!

First Communion, May Crowning and a New Roof Too!!!

Dear Parishioners:                                

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Happy Mothers Day! We offer our prayers and best wishes to all our OLM Mothers on this Mothers Day!  Masses on Mothers Day are to be offered for all Mothers, living and deceased.  In particular, we remember those beloved Mothers whose names are inscribed on the memorial envelopes. The late Joszef Cardinal Mindszenty, leader of the Hungarian Catholic Church and a fierce opponent of the communist regime in that nation once wrote a small book in the 1940s entitled, the Mother. In it he reminds us of the importance of motherhood.

He writes beautifully about Mothers: “The most important person on earth is a mother. She cannot claim the honor of having built Notre Dame Cathedral. She need not. She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral--a dwelling for an immortal soul, the tiny perfection of her baby's body . . . The angels have not been blessed with such a grace. They cannot share in God's creative miracle to bring new saints to Heaven. Only a human mother can. Mothers are closer to God the Creator than any other creature; God joins forces with mothers in performing this act of creation. What on God's good earth is more glorious than this; to be a mother?”

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Not only is it Mothers Day this weekend, but we also celebrate First Holy Communion.  Our OLM Second Graders received Jesus Christ in the Eucharist on Saturday morning with great joy and faith. We rejoice with  these children  and their families on this special day.  It is truly a  joyous day in the life our parish. We offer our prayers and congratulations to the 64 children who celebrate this important step in their faith lives.  We pray that they remember the wisdom of St. Padre Pio, who says: "Always remain close to the Catholic Church, because it alone can give you true peace, since it alone possesses Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, the true Prince of Peace.”

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On Sunday at the 10:30am Mass the children of our First Communion Class join us for the Annual May Crowning Ceremony. This joyous and beautiful tradition of the Church and annual Mothers Day tradition at OLM honors the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of the Church. The Church teaches us that we crown the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Queen of the May, "because she was a perfect follower of Christ, who is the absolute 'crown' of creation. She is the Mother of the Son of God, who is the messianic King. She listened to God's Word and kept it in her heart; she remained steadfastly in close union with her Son, all the way to the foot of the Cross; she persevered in prayer with the Church. Thus, in an eminent way, she won the 'crown of righteousness,' 'the crown of life,' 'the crown of glory' that is promised to those who follow Christ." May Mary, our Mother, and our Parish Patroness, intercede for us.

On Monday morning the roofers are scheduled to arrive at  OLM and begin work on a new Church roof.  You may recall the roof was damaged in a wind storm this winter. We were able to patch it up but it is clear the roof needs replacing.   In order to ensure no further damage would occur our Parish Finance Council  thought  it best to replace the  roof sooner rather than wait. The Church roof is almost 30 years old and its clearly in need of replacement.

After following the guidelines and rigorous process of approval set forth by the Diocesan Office of Planning and Finance, Bishop Tobin granted permission for us to move forward with the project. Several companies bid on the roof replacement job with D’Angelo Custom Homes being awarded the contract.  The cost of the roof replacement is $47,200.

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I am thankful to Paul Anderson, OLM Facilities Director,  for his great work on this project. He will vigilantly monitor the roof project this week. We hope that the roof replacement is completed by the end of the week.  The roofers will begin each day after 7:30am Mass to ensure our worship is not disturbed. 

As you know well from maintaining your own homes the costs are high.  We  have old buildings at OLM that need constant care and maintenance.  I am grateful for your generous financial support that enables us to afford such important projects like replacing our roof.  Please pray for good weather this week for our roofers!

Do good. Be well. God Bless. Go Sox!

 

May Means Mary, Mothers and First Communion at OLM

May Means Mary, Mothers and First Communion at OLM

Dear Parishioners:                                

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This week our OLM Second Graders enter First Communion Boot Camp! Each afternoon they gather to rehearse and practice for the big celebration of First Holy Communion next Saturday.  We have 64 students making their First Communion this year.  Our Religious Education Second Graders celebrate First Communion at 10:00am on Saturday and the OLM School Second Graders celebrate Frist Communion at Noon. It is a great celebration of faith and family as these children receive Jesus Christ truly present in the Eucharist for the very first time in their young lives.

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These students have been extremely well prepared by our excellent teachers.  We are grateful to Mrs. Mickey St. Jean, our Directress of the OLM First Communion Program and the teachers in our OLM RE Program, Mrs. Jane Burley and Mrs. Margaret McGrath. In particular, I  thank our OLM School Second Grade Teacher, Mrs. Mary Ryan. After twenty-five years of  teaching  at our parish school she is  to retire this June. We are truly grateful for her dedication over the years.  Mrs. Ryan is an outstanding Catholic teacher  and we  give thanks for the excellent preparation she has provided for First Communion. 

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Next Sunday is Mother’s Day and we offer all masses for all mothers. We also mark  the special day of motherhood at the 10:30am Mass with the May Crowning of the Blessed Mother. It is truly a beautiful ceremony and a moving tribute to our parish patroness and the Mother of the Church, the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Our First Communion Class continues to prepare this coming week, please pray for them and their families.  We pray that they may continue to grow in dedication and love of the Eucharistic Lord.  We pray they and their families continue to celebrate Holy Communion with great joy and a lively faith next Saturday and then every Sunday of their lives!

OLM School celebrates its annual Grandparents Day this coming Thursday, May 10th.  With 295 students, we  expect a couple of hundred grandparents to join us from near and far.  They begin the day in church and then spend time with their grandchildren in the classroom. This special day is truly a great occasion of fun, faith and family.

This Thursday we also celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord Jesus. The Ascension refers to “the entry of Jesus’ humanity into Divine Glory in God’s heavenly domain, forty days after Easter.” It occurred 40 days after the Lord’s Resurrection on Easter Sunday  and took place in broad daylight on the Mount of Olives, in the presence of His Apostles and disciples.  At His Ascension, the Lord Jesus ascended Body and Soul into heaven.

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The Ascension is a Holy Day of Obligation for all Catholics.  Therefore, as it is for every Sunday, Catholics are obligated to attend Holy Mass.  Join us in celebrating the Ascension on Wednesday at the 5:00PM Vigil Mass  on Ascension Thursday at the 7:30am, 9:00am or 7:00PM Holy Day Masses.  Please bear in mind that the 9:00am Holy Day Mass is the OLM School Mass and our students are to be joined by many grandparents. So please be sure to arrive early!

This Sunday we end our Religious Education Classes at OLM for the year.  The program resumes again in the fall.  We thank the many families who participate in our program and also the many dedicated volunteers who  teach the children the Catholic Faith.  Please pray for our RE families that they may stay close the Lord Jesus and remain faithful to attending Sunday Mass.

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May is a month dedicated to Motherhood.  In particular we honor our Blessed Mother with Devotions in the Month of May each Monday night at 7:00pm.  It is a great devotion as we gather as a parish family before the Eucharistic Lord and pray the mysteries of the Holy Rosary accompanied by beautiful music.  May Devotions are a great opportunity for  us to spend some time away from the noisy distractions of the busy world and reflect and pray through Mary to Jesus. Pick up your beads and join us!

Pope Leo XIII tells us: “The Rosary is the most excellent form of prayer and the most efficacious means of attaining eternal life. It is the remedy for all our evils, the root of all our blessings. There is no more excellent way of praying.”

See you on the Ascension! Do good. Be well. God Bless. Go Sox! Go Bruins! Go Celtics!

 

Springing into May with  the Blessed Mother, First Communion and Ordination

Springing into May with the Blessed Mother, First Communion and Ordination

Dear Parishioners:                                
It appears that Spring may have finally sprung.  The sun has been shining more and the flowers are beginning to bloom.  Let’s hope it continues for a few weeks.  Of course, the spring always brings with it the need for spring cleaning. Our crack maintenance crew continue to be hard at work cleaning up the physical plant and getting the yards ready for spring blossoms and green lawns.

Along with this work we also had to install a newly required back flow preventer for our water system in the Church and Rectory.  This was required by law and mandated by the Kent County Water Authority. With the cost of about $4,000 we are now in compliance with the law.  The same project is being implemented at OLM School and we await the cost of that project.  Once completed both the Church and School will be fully in compliance with the law and the good folks at Kent County Water Authority will be happy!

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Speaking of OLM School, just last weekend our OLM Middle School Science Olympiad Team competed in the statewide competition with twenty-five other middle schools. With great pride, I am able to announce that they finished fourth in the state!  We congratulate the team on such a great achievement.

We thank our outstanding OLM Middle School Science Teacher, Dr. Deb Husak, for helping guide the team.  Also we thank the many parent volunteers who  pitched in and helped the team members with their projects.  And we thank the students for their hard work and dedication to this great achievement.  Great job by all!

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Our OLM Mock Trial Team has been advancing in the state competitions as well.  These budding lawyers and future judges from OLM recently beat the Moses Brown Team.  We wish them well with their upcoming competitions. These are but a few highlights of the great work going on everyday in our parish school.

Each school day our outstanding and dedicated faculty help our wonderful school children excel in their academics and in living the Catholic faith.  OLM School continues to excel academically and spiritually in developing the future saints and scholars of our Church and world!  We thank all those who make this possible and all those who continue to support our students and the mission of our school.

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Now that the April vacations are over and soon the month itself ends, we look forward to the arrival of May.  After all April showers always bring May flowers!  May is always a busy month at OLM and this year is no different.  May is also a month dedicated to our parish patroness the Blessed Mother Mary. May Devotions with Eucharistic Adoration and the recitation of the Rosary are scheduled for each Monday of the month at 7:00pm.

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Also on Saturday, May 12th we are looking forward ot our parish celebration of First Holy Communion.  This is always a great occasion of faith, hope and joy for our parish.  Our Second Graders have been preparing all year for the big day, so please continue to keep them in your prayers.

On Mother’s Day as we honor motherhood and our own mothers, we  also honor our Blessed Mother Mary with the annual May Crowing.  This beautiful and joyful ceremony takes place on Sunday, May 13th at the 10:30am Mass.  If you’ve never attended it, be sure to come this year as it is always a very moving tribute to our Blessed Mother.

On May 18th our OLM School 8th Graders  take a special trip to New York City.  There they get to see the sights of the city like the United Nations, Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, and the September 11th Memorial.  In addition, Fr. Barrow  celebrates Mass for the group at the newly renovated and magnificent St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  What a great opportunity for our students to experience

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Finally, on Saturday May 26th at 10:00AM, Bishop Evans  ordains Eric Silva a transitional deacon.  Eric served  at OLM as a summer seminarian two years ago.  As a transitional deacon he begins his final preparation for ordination as a priest next June. All are kindly invited to attend the Ordination Mass at the Cathedral on May 26h. Keep Eric  in your prayers as prepares for ordination.

Spring is indeed sprung! Do good. Be well.  God Bless. Go Sox, Bruins and Celtics!!

 

Praying for More to Hear the Good Shepherd's Call

Praying for More to Hear the Good Shepherd's Call

Dear Parishioners:                               

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This Sunday, the Fourth Sunday of Easter, is traditionally called Good Shepherd Sunday. The name derives from the gospel reading for the day, which is taken from the tenth chapter of St. John's Gospel. In  John’s Gospel,  Christ is described as the "Good Shepherd" who lays down his life for his sheep.                              

Good Shepherd Sunday  also marks the World Day of Prayer for Vocations.  The purpose of this day is to publically fulfill the Lord's instruction to, "Pray the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest" (Mt 9:38; Lk 10:2).  I encourage you to please continue to pray that more young men and women hear and respond generously to the Lord's call to the priesthood, diaconate, religious life, societies of apostolic life or secular institutes.

While the Church appreciates all vocations, She concentrates Her attention today on vocations to the ordained ministries (priesthood and diaconate), to the Religious life in all its forms (male and female, contemplative and apostolic), to societies of apostolic life, to secular institutes in their diversity of services and membership, and to the missionary life.

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In his message announcing the celebration of  this World Day of Prayer for Vocations, our Holy Father, Pope Francis states: The joy of the Gospel, which makes us open to encountering God and our brothers and sisters, does not abide our slowness and our sloth.  It will not fill our hearts if we keep standing by the window with the excuse of waiting for the right time, without accepting this very day the risk of making a decision.  Vocation is today!  The Christian mission is now!  Each one of us is called –whether to the lay life in marriage, to the priestly life in the ordained ministry, or to a life of special consecration – in order to become a witness of the Lord, here and now.”

 Fr. Eric Bennett of the Archdiocese of Boston celebrates Mass.  Father is a native son of Our Lady of Mercy Parish where his parents and family still continue to worship.

Fr. Eric Bennett of the Archdiocese of Boston celebrates Mass.  Father is a native son of Our Lady of Mercy Parish where his parents and family still continue to worship.

At Our Lady of Mercy Parish we have been truly blessed to have vocations come from our parish family.  Two priests, Fr. Eric Bennett of the Boston Archdiocese and Fr. Brian Morris of the Providence Diocese were recently ordained priests. Both these fine priests  grew up in our parish and had their vocation to the priesthood nurtured here at OLM.  In fact,  their families still worship here. 

 The Sisters of St. Cecilia in Nashville, TN.

The Sisters of St. Cecilia in Nashville, TN.

We are also blessed to have a young woman from OLM who is graduating from Providence College this year who is to enter the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia in Nashville this fall. This congregation of religious sisters is booming with young and holy women eager to serve  Christ and His Church.

Each one of us is still called to continue to foster vocations to the priesthood and religious life at OLM.  We must do so by praying for more vocations to the priesthood and more vocations to the consecrated life in the Diocese of Providence.  Our culture is full of distractions and very often God’s call to the priesthood and consecrated life is lost amidst the loud cries of our secular and materialistic society. 

However, many young men and women are being called to take up a vocation to the priesthood and religious life.  It is as Pope Francis once said: “Becoming a priest or a man or woman religious is not primarily our own decision. Rather it is the response to a call and to a call of love.”

 Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence ordains Brian Morris a priest in June 2017 at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, Providence, RI.

Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence ordains Brian Morris a priest in June 2017 at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, Providence, RI.

We can help this effort to increase priestly and religious vocations with our continued prayers and by encouraging young people especially within our own families and in our parish family to consider a vocation to the priesthood or religious life. Remember that prayer, encouragement and support are needed if we are too drown out the noisy secular world around us and let God’s call be truly heard.

Bishop Tobin recently said to the priests of the Diocese of Providence, "Please pray fervently for and work deliberately for more vocations to the priesthood in the Diocese. Of course a priestly vocation originates in the heart of God, but it is nourished in our homes, parishes and schools. You and I were inspired by priests we’ve known and loved. The same is true for future priests; they will be inspired and encouraged by us! God said: “I will give you shepherds,” and I believe Him."

On this Good Shepherd Sunday let us heed the Bishop’s call to pray fervently for more vocations for the Church of Providence. Pray, encourage and support vocations! Do good. Be well.  God Bless. Go Sox!!

 

Spring Soiree Supports OLM

Spring Soiree Supports OLM

Dear Parishioners:                                

Is it spring yet? Snowstorms on Easter Monday and frigid temperatures in April, it must be springtime in New England. Opening Day at Fenway Park look like a Patriot’s game in December!  I’m ready for the sun, the flowers and the warm temperatures to reappear soon! Hopefully this week coming week the sun will shine for all those enjoying the Spring Vacation Week.  While many head south for the sun, let’s pray it warms up around here so the school kids on break can get outside and enjoy it! 

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Last Friday the OLM School Community celebrated the Annual Spring Soiree at Quidnessett Country Club.   Nearly two hundred parents, teachers and friends of OLM School came together not only to celebrate our wonderful parish school but to support it too! With both a live and silent auction, the event raised in excess of $80,000 in one night!

There were some truly terrific auction items like tickets to Hamilton on Broadway, Patriots box seats, golf foursomes at area private courses including the elite Shelter Harbor Country Club, a stay on Block Island, beach houses in Matunuck and the Jersey Shore, Dinner with the Priests of OLM (always a big seller!) and even a Hi-Lo Jack Night with Fr. Healey at the Regency Cigar Emporium!

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We are grateful to the many donors of these great items and especially grateful to the folks who made such generous bids at the auction. Our own Gene Valicenti served as our MC for the night and did an outstanding  job.  I also thank Lisa Cooper, the OLM School PTG President, and her hardworking committee for providing a fun and fruitful night for our school!

The proceeds from this important fundraiser for our school go directly to fund the needs of our school.  As you can imagine the cost of operating a parish school continues to grow as does the need for continued improvement in the area of technology and maintenance of a school built in 1950.  We are truly blessed with a school and parish community that understand the importance of Catholic Education.  The generous spirit and tremendous financial support by our school parents, parishioners and friends of OLM School help to ensure that our parish school can continue to succeed in helping to form the next generation of saints and scholars. 

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Speaking of saints and scholars, we could use some at the RI Statehouse these days.  In the last two weeks the so-called “progressive” agenda has gained momentum with hearings on bills that would attack the sanctity of life.  Once again the sick, suffering and terminally ill are being threatened with legislation that would lead to euthanasia. 

Also a bill that would expand abortion on demand up until the ninth month payed for by taxpayers was also considered by our elected officials. Thankfully a good number of people turned out for these hearings and spoke in defense of human life. 

These bills are a sign of our times as some elected officials desire to create a “progressive paradise” in RI where the innocent unborn and the sick aren’t welcomed but rather put to death. Sadly those supporting such extreme legislation include our local RI State Representatives, Evan Shanley from Warwick and Julie Casimiro from North Kingstown.  Pray that they and other elected officials heed the words of Pope Francis:   “All human life has inestimable value even the weakest and most vulnerable, the sick, the old, the unborn and the poor, are masterpieces of God’s creation, made in his own image, destined to live forever, and deserving of the utmost reverence and respect.”  

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Sadly the voice of the voiceless at the statehouse is diminishing as agents of the culture of death continue to advance their agenda  with the support of many of our elected officials.  However, I wish to commend RI State Representative from East Greenwich,  Anthony Giaurusso, for his consistent support of the sanctity of life. He is an elected official who has the courage of his convictions and is not afraid to protect the unborn and vulnerable.

It’s Easter and the Risen Christ is truly alive! Never lose hope but rejoice and be glad!  Pope Francis reminds us in his new exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate: “Do not be afraid of holiness!”

Do good. Be well.  God Bless. Go Sox!!