Dear Parishioners: This weekend we offer a “Fond Farewell” to Father Shemek. There will be a Reception for him Sunday following the 10:30AM Mass. He offers his last Mass here at OLM on Tuesday at 7:30AM and then will take some time to pack up and move on to his new assignment in Tiverton. As you know Bishop Tobin appointed Father Shemek the new Pastor at Saint Christopher’s Church and Saint Theresa’s Church in Tiverton in May. He begins his new assignment on July 1st.
While he has only been year for a year I know he will be truly missed. His priestly ministry at Our Lady of Mercy has been full of joy and faith which he has willingly shared with all of us. I too shall miss Father Shemek as he has been a great Associate Pastor to work with and a great joy to live with here at OLM. Also he is also a great cook and I freely admit I’ll miss that too!! Saturday night dinners just won’t be the same!! I am quite sure he will excel in his new assignment as a first time Pastor of two parishes. His friendly demeanor and deep faith are no doubt to serve him well as he pastors the good people of Tiverton. Father Shemek is a kind and compassionate priest who lives his faith with great joy. He truly has lived the words of St. Paul to the Ephesians: “Never have grudges against others, or lose your temper, or raise your voice to anybody, or call each other names, or allow any sort of spitefulness. Be friends with one another, and kind, forgiving each other as readily as God forgave you in Christ.” I am truly grateful to God for allowing me to serve with such a fine priest as Father Shemek. So in your name I say “Farewell and Thank You Father Shemek! ” Dear Father Shemek please know you are always welcome back home to OLM and we truly look forward to seeing you again soon. Ad multos annos!
Last Friday was the last day of school at OLM and other schools while many schools finished up this past week. Friday, June 21st, was the first official day of the summer season. It’s hard to believe that summer has arrived and the Fourth of July is around the corner. Where did the time go?! Despite all the rain we’ve had recently summer always means warm weather and sunny days ! It also means that many parishioners go to their summer homes and travel away on vacations with family and friends. Summer is a time to rest and relax from the usual schedule and routine.
I’ve been reading a new book entitled “Pope Francis: His Life in His Own Words.” It is a book of conversations with the man who was then Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio. It offers some great insight into what kind of person the Holy Father is and how he thinks about all kinds of things concerning faith, life and death. Responding to the question, “Do we need to rediscover the meaning of leisure?” Pope Francis replies: “Together with a culture of work, there must be a culture of leisure as gratification. To put it another way: people who work must take the time to relax, to be with their families, to enjoy themselves, read, listen to music, play a sport. But this is being destroyed, in large part, by the elimination of the Sabbath rest day. More and more people work on Sundays as a consequence of the competitiveness imposed by a consumer society.” In such cases, he concludes, “work ends up dehumanizing people.”
The Holy Father is on to something here especially for us as Americans. Our culture has become frantic with work all day and all week. Stores open seven days a week for twenty-four hours a day including holidays! I hope we can all listen to the wisdom of Pope Francis and take some time away from work this summer. Spending time with friends, reading a good book, going to one of Rhode Island’s beautiful beaches or just sitting in the backyard contemplating life serve us well. May we enjoy the summer while it lasts! I hope you join us next Sunday at the 10:30 Mass of Thanksgiving for Sister Lucy and Sister Rose. A reception follows the Mass as we offer our gratitude to the good sisters for their ministry at OLM. God Bless. Have a great week!