Dear Parishioners: This weekend we kickoff the annual Catholic Charity Appeal at Our Lady of Mercy.  This is our chance as Catholics to support the many good works of our Diocesan Church in Rhode Island.  The many agencies and charities funded by the CCA include  educational and formational endeavors, refugee services, elder care and nursing homes, outreach to the poor and homeless, prison ministry and  crisis help for the truly needy. Unlike many other charities what makes the CCA unique is that  its many services and good works are always done in the name of the Lord Jesus.  It is as Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta used to remind people, that we are called to see “Jesus in the distressing disguise of the poor.”

These “distressing disguises” include funds  the poor, the sick, the elderly, the immigrant, the prisoner and the most vulnerable among us.   The Catholic Church and her many agencies are the second largest social service provider after the government.  Our call as Catholic disciples includes financially supporting the many good works done in the name Jesus by our Diocesan Church.  I hope you will consider pledging a gift to support the Catholic Charity Appeal.  If you have never done so, please consider doing it this year.Emmanuel-House-Bishop-Tobin-300x199

Your gift can be pledged over 12 months and can be paid by check or credit card.  We are asking each family to  consider a pledge of $250.  This is a pledge of about $20 per month over the year or about the cost of large pizza with a couple of toppings.  It is about $5.00 per week or the cost of large Dunkin Donut coffee and donut.   Would you give up the pizza or the coffee to help someone in need? I am reminded of the words of the great martyr of the second century, Saint Polycarp: “If you can do good, do not put it off, because almsgiving frees you.”  Please do not put off supporting the Catholic Charity Appeal.  In the name of the thousands of poor, sick and truly needy who benefit from it, I thank you for your generous response.

As we continue to travel the great Lenten Fast of Forty Days, I invite you to join us on Monday night at 7:00PM for the next installment in our Lenten Lecture Series.  Father Jeremy Rodrigues will speak on the significance of Holy Week in our lives as Catholics. The Sacred Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter is among the most important celebration in the Church Year.  We had a great crowd for our last lecture and I hope you can make some time to join us this Monday at 7:00PM in the Lent_cross-palm-nailsOLM School Cafeteria.

Also next weekend we welcome Father Tim Reilly to Our Lady of Mercy for our annual Lenten Mission.  Father Reilly serves as the Chancellor of the Diocese of Providence and also as the Assistant Spiritual Director at Our Lady of Providence Seminary.  He is dynamic preacher and will preach all the weekend Masses as well as each night of the Mission.  A Mission is a great opportunity to devote some time to prayer and reflection during this Lenten Season.  Mark it on your calendar and please join us next week.

Also I ask for your prayers for the success of the Mission for our entire Parish Family. We said “Farewell” to Pope Benedict on Thursday and now we offer our prayers for him as he goes into a  life of prayer devoted to the Church.  May God continue to bless Benedict for his years of dedicated Vatican Pope 2service to His Church.  As I write this column the news media is full of speculation about who is to be elected the next Pope.  As the College of Cardinals enters into conclave we pray for our Church and for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in choosing the successor of Saint Peter and the new Vicar of Christ on earth. May the cardinals gathered in Rome elect a worthy and wise man to lead our Church in this 21st century.   Forget all that the media suggests about who the next Pope is to be and remember the old adage, “he who goes into the conclave as Pope, leaves as cardinal!”  Only God truly knows!  Thanks for your support of the Catholic Charity Appeal. See you at Stations on Friday night! God Bless.