Dear Parishioners: I hope you were able to make it to all or part of our Parish Lenten Mission this past week. Father Tim Reilly did a wonderful job and truly gave us much to think and pray about in our lives.  I am grateful for his presence in our parish and in your name, thank him for an outstanding job of preaching the Gospel to our parish.

The sound we hear this weekend is the new sound system in our Church.  It was installed this week and has been fully operation since Wednesday.  AVCOM Technologies from North Kingstown finished 2_S_1replacing all the old speakers with new Bose  speakers, old microphones with  new sets and replaced much of the old wiring.  This system should enhance your hearing of the Mass  and make it much clearer throughout the entire body of the Church.  In addition to the new speakers you see at either side of the altar, there are two more toward the rear of the Church, two in the vestibule, two in the sanctuary, two in the choir loft and  one new speaker in the cry room. This should ensure no matter where you are seated, you can clearly hear what’s being said  or sung at Mass.  The system also comes with special devices for those who are hearing impaired. If you need one of these devices, please contact the Parish Office and let us know.

The work for the new system was done quickly and AVCOM has a sterling reputation in the Diocese, having installed sound systems in the Cathedral, St. Rocco, St. Jude and Blessed Sacrament.  The total cost of this project was $20,000 and was funded thanks to your generous support of the Annual Collection.  We also anticipate modernizing and updating the   Church bathrooms in the weeks after Easter.  We are currently taking bids for the work and hope to renovate the bathrooms, install new fixtures and changing tables in both bathrooms.  This project is also possible because your generosity to the Annual Collection.

It’s hard to believe that Lent is drawing to a close as next weekend we look forward to the solemn celebration of Palm Sunday.  The complete schedule for Holy Week is printed in this week’s bulletin and I encourage to clip it out and put it on your refrigerator as a reminder.  Holy Week is the most sacred and special time of the year yet sadly too  many Catholics skip attending the ceremonies of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. Father Shemek, Deacon  John and I are all looking forward to celebrating our first Holy Week at Our Lady of Mercy.

If you have never attended Holy Week before, we invite you to consider doing so this year. Before Holy Week comes, we do have two very special feasts to celebrate at OLM. Namely the Feasts of St. StJoseph5Patrick and St. Joseph!  I invite you to join us Tuesday for Italian Mass at 12:05 to mark the Solemnity of St. Joseph.  Monsignor “Alberto” Kenney will offer the Mass in Italian along with some Italian hymns.  He will also offer the traditional St. Joseph’s Day Table Blessing of breads and pastries.  So bring your Italian bread and goodies to be blessed. Following the Mass, please be our guest for a zeppole!   Happy St. Joseph’s Day!

This Sunday is the great Feast of St. Patrick, the Apostle of Ireland and we will mark it next Saturday after Mass.  Join us in the OLM School Cafeteria for  corned beef sandwiches,  Irish soda bread, Saint_PatrickIrish music and Irish dancers!  All we ask is that you make a donation to OLM Outreach for our efforts in  supporting McAuley House.  Hope you can make it!

In a special way we mark Palm Sunday by returning our Lenten Rice Bowls which we have sacrificed to fill these last few weeks.  All the proceeds from Operation Rice Bowl go to support the poor and hungry served by Catholic Relief Services.  We ask that you count up all your coins and write out a check, it makes it much easier for our volunteer counters. We continue to pray for the Conclave to elect our new pope.  As I write this column we continue to await the white smoke and the words “habemus papam,” “We have a Pope!”