Dear Parishioners: Enough snow already! The second weekend in a row it snowed! Just as we cleaned up after the Blizzard Nemo, Mother Nature decided to bring us another snowstorm.  I’ve had enough of the white stuff for a while.  Pray that if it snows again it will be on a Tuesday or Wednesday so everyone can get out for Mass!

How is your Lent going? Are you keeping up your Lenten promises to pray, fast and give alms?  If you’ve slipped because of the snowstorms or vacation, don’t worry and just start again.  It’s forty days and it’s well worth the effort to get closer to the Lord and His Church.

There’s no better way to pray then to come to Mass, so considering making it part of your daily life during Lent.  The Mass is the source and summit of our lives as Catholic disciples and we can gain strength to live a life of holiness and faith. Why not join us for Daily Mass at either 7:30AM or 12:05PM?

40 days of LentWhen’s the last time you went to Confession? Was it a week, a month, a year or even a decade ago?  No matter, you’re always welcomed back to the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Confessions at Our Lady of Mercy during Lent are offered on Mondays from 5:30PM until 6:30PM, so stop by on the way home from work!  We also continue to offer Weekly Confession on Saturdays at 3:00PM. Get Confession on your calendar, it’s good for the soul!

Of course, we also have Stations of the Cross every Friday at 7:00PM.  It is one of the most important devotions honoring the passion of Jesus.  What matters most in the Stations of the Cross is to follow Jesus Christ in his passion and to see ourselves mirrored in him. By accompanying him on the Way of the Cross, we gain his courageous patience and learn to trust in God who delivers us from evil. I hope you are able to make the Stations at least once during Lent.

One of the three pillars of Lent is fasting. Reflecting on this ancient and venerable practice, Pope Benedict suggests: "Denying material food, which nourishes our body, nurtures an interior disposition to listen to Christ and be fed by His saving word. Through fasting and praying, we allow Him to come and satisfy the deepest hunger that we experience in the depths of our being: the hunger and thirst for God." 

During Lent we fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday but we are also asked to fast from meat on201080-fasting Fridays.  Fasting and abstaining from meat on Fridays is a great Lenten discipline. How is it going for you?   We are called to refrain from the indulging in the pleasure of a good steak or a juicy hamburger not as a punishment but as a penitential practice to grow closer to the Lord who died for us on Good Friday.  If we aren’t  focusing on Jesus and on the Cross when we abstain from the meat, then the matter can become less about Lent and more about “should I have the meatless pizza, a grilled cheese sandwich or a Lobster Roll?” We all know that it’s so much more than that.

Next weekend I will be speaking at all Masses about the Catholic Charity Appeal.  This annual drive  calls us to financially support the good works of our Diocese.  It is an important part of our lives as Catholics in Rhode Island.  Every parish in the state is called upon to assist in helping those most in need and the most vulnerable in the Ocean State. Our CCA Chair, Kevin McDevitt, will also lead us through the in-pew pledge portion of the Appeal at all Masses.  Please pray for the success of the CCA and consider making a pledge next week.  Thank you for your generous support.

Pope Benedict XVI looks towards crowds gWe continue to pray for Pope Benedict and for our Church during this time of transition. I ask you to especially pray on Thursday for the Holy Father on his last day as Pope and invite you to join us for a special Mass at Noon in thanksgiving for his Pontificate.  We are thankful for his service and leadership of our Church but also hopeful as we await the election of a new Pope.  May the Holy Spirit continue to guide us!  Remember Fridays are for fish and Stations of the Cross. God Bless.