Dear Parishioners: I hope by now everyone has their power back!  The blizzard hit us hard last weekend here at OLM.  We lost power on Friday and it wasn’t restored until after Fr. Shemek celebrated the 4:00PM Mass on Saturday in the dark and cold.  There was a band of brave souls who made it out for the Mass.  Saturday night the power was restored and so Sunday Masses had light and heat but not very many people!  I am grateful to our maintenance crew who worked so hard plowing and shoveling all that snow.  Also I wish to thank Sister Jeanne, OLM Principal, who took in Sisters Edna, Lucy and Rose to the St. Rose Convent during the blizzard.  Both our convents lost power and I was grateful to the Warwick Police for transporting the good sisters from OLM to St. Rose Convent so they could be safe, warm and well fed!

Pope Benedict XVINo sooner did we start recovering from the blizzard when news arrived of  Pope Benedict’s startling news that he is to resign as our Pope at the end of the month.  The Holy Father has decided that age 85 he doesn’t have the physical strength to continue leading our Church with the vigor needed for the job.  This is the first time in centuries that a reigning Pope has resigned and so it has left many asking what will happen. Pope Benedict will step down and the College of Cardinals will gather in conclave in Rome to elect a successor.  This will take place in March and I hope we might have a new Pope by Easter!  In the meantime, let us pray for our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, and offer our thanks to God for giving us such a gentle, wise and humble shepherd to lead our Church.

We were reminded on Ash Wednesday that “we are dust and to dust we will return” and to “repent and believe in the Gospel.”  As we begin our Lenten journey of forty days, I invite you to consider joining us each day for Daily Mass at 7:30 AM or 12:05 PM  and to walk the Way of the Cross each Friday at 7:00 PM, Our Lenten Year of the Faith Lecture Series begins this Monday night at 7:00 PM in the OLM School Auditorium with the young and dynamic Father Joseph Upton speaking on the Sacraments of the Church.  A complete listing of the series is in this week’s bulletin.  In this Year of Faith and during this Lenten Season, these lectures are  a great way to deepen our knowledge and understanding of our Catholic Faith.

One of the three pillars of Lent is almsgiving.  Pope Benedict XVI explained "In inviting us to consider almsgiving with a more profound gaze that transcends the purely material dimension, Scripture almsgiving 2013teaches us that there is more joy in giving than in receiving (Acts 20:35). Every time when, for love of God, we share our goods with our neighbor in need, we discover that the fullness of life comes from love and all is returned to us as a blessing in the form of peace, inner satisfaction and joy." One of the many ways we bear witness to almsgiving during Lent is through the annual Catholic Charity Appeal.  I am happy to announce that Kevin and Nancy McDevitt will serve as the General Chairs of the CCA here at OLM We will kickoff the Charity Appeal the first weekend of March with the in-pew part of the drive.  This is the first time OLM has used in-pew solicitation for the Charity Appeal but most  parishes use this system very effectively as the means to obtain pledges and donations.

ccalogoLast year Our Lady of Mercy Parish fell short of reaching its goal for the Charity Appeal but I am confident that with the strong leadership of our Chairs and your generous response we will not only reach our goal of $195,000 but surpass it!  I also wish to thank Stephen and Antonia Zubiago for agreeing to serve as the Chairs of the Bishop’s Partnership in Charity portion of the Appeal.  The BPC is for those donors who can generously donate $1,000 or more to the Charity Appeal.  We will be reaching out to our BPC donors in the coming weeks as the kick-off the Appeal at OLM approaches.

Have a great Lent! I wish a happy and healthy vacation this week  to all  our school children! Remember Fridays are for fish and Stations of the Cross. God Bless.