Dear Parishioners: Happy Fathers Day! This day has an important place in American life and while it is not on the Church’s liturgical calendar we still recognize the importance of Fatherhood. So let us remember all Fathers today both the living and deceased and give God thanks for the gift of Fatherhood.
I recently finished reading a book given to me by a friend entitled “A Good Man: Rediscovering My Father, Sargent Shriver.” Sargent Shriver is well known to many as the brother-in-law of President Kennedy who founded the Peace Corps and an outspoken advocate for the Special Olympics which was founded by his wife Eunice Kennedy. He also served as the founder the Job Corp, Head Start and was the architect of President Johnson’s War on Poverty and served as US Ambassador to France. Sargent Shriver was also an unsuccessful candidate for Vice-President and President.
However, it is not any of these roles that are recounted in the book by his son, Mark Shriver. Rather the book recounts the much more important role of Father that Sargent Shriver lived out with love and faith. Sargent Shriver was a devout Catholic who attended Mass daily his entire life. His son tells the story of man who while busy with a very distinguished career always had time for his wife and children as well as his faith and God. It is quite a poignant story of the relationship between a Father and his son.
Mark Shriver’s book is an excellent read and it tells of his attempt to understand the lessons of his Father’s life including Sargent Shriver’s final struggle with Alzheimer's Disease. These lessons speak of the durability of faith, the endurance of hope, and the steadfastness of love.
On this Fathers’ Day perhaps we might take a moment to recall our own Fathers in prayer. For those Fathers who have gone before us, we might offer a prayer of thanksgiving for their love and for their gift of Fatherhood. For our Fathers still living, we might pray that they continue to offer a strong example of faith, hope and love for their children. Fatherhood should be celebrated as it is one of the most important roles lived out in life. Happy Fathers Day to all our Fathers of Our Lady of Mercy, may God continue to bless and guide you!
This past Thursday night we celebrated the Graduation Mass for the Our Lady of Mercy School Eighth Grade Class. The class of 2013 now moves on to high school in the fall. We thank them for their presence in our school and for their commitment to academic excellence and the Catholic values that so distinguish our parish school. We also thank their parents for their support and sacrifice in ensuring their children a first-class Catholic education at OLM. Finally we thank the dedicated administration and faculty at OLM for guiding and teaching these young men and women not only wisdom but also the important lessons of faith, hope and love. May God continue to bless our OLM School alumni with wisdom and mercy as well as guide them to always be men and women of faith, hope and love. Congratulations OLM Class of 2013!
Next weekend will be Father Shemek’s last week serving at Our Lady of Mercy. In the year he has been here he has brought tremendous energy, faith and joy to our community. He is a fine priest and I know he will be missed by many including me. As he leaves our parish and moves on to his new position as Pastor in Tiverton, keep him in your prayers. You will have a chance to thank him for his ministry and say farewell next weekend after the 10:30AM Mass at a Farewell Reception in Mercy Park.
While we celebrate Fatherhood and also say Farewell to our OLM Class of 2013 and soon to our own Father Shemek, I reminded of the words of St. Francis de Sales who tells us : “Do not fear what may happen tomorrow. The same loving Father who cares for you today will care for you tomorrow and everyday. Either he will shield you from suffering or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace then and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginings.” Happy Fathers Day! God Bless.