Dear Parishioners: What a nice farewell send-off we had for Father Shemek last weekend. The weather was great and there was a good turn out of parishioners for his Farewell Reception at Mercy Park. I am grateful to Doug Green and the Reception Committee for providing a wonderful reception for Father Shemek. We say farewell to Father Shemek and wish him well as moves to his new assignment in Tiverton.
This weekend we are offer our thanks to God for the ministry of Sister Rose and Sister Lucy here at Our Lady of Mercy. These good and holy sisters have served our parish with dedication and faith these many years and we offer our thanks and gratitude to them as they retire from pastoral ministry. Later this summer they will be moving on to their new homes at convents in New Jersey and Bristol, Rhode Island. I hope you can join us following the 10:30AM Mass for a Farewell Reception for the Sisters at Mercy Park.
Also this is Brother Roger’s last weekend as our Music Director at Our Lady of Mercy. After many years serving our parish Brother is moving on to new endeavors. We thank him for his years of service and wish him all the best for the future.
Goodbyes can always be challenging as the ending of a relationship means having to say farewell. But we trust that the next step on the journey will be good, because the people we say goodbye to are in good hands, in God's hands, and He'll always be there for them. A spiritual writer once suggested: “Goodbyes, when reflected upon in faith, can draw us to a greater reliance upon the God of love, our most significant other. With God we can learn to live in hope, with greater meaning, and deeper joy. We all need to learn how to say goodbye, to acknowledge the pain that is there for us so that we can eventually move on to another hello. When we learn how to say goodbye we truly learn how to say to ourselves and to others: ‘Go, God be with you. I entrust you to God. The God of strength, courage, comfort, hope, and love, is with you. The God who promises to wipe away all tears will hold you close and will fill your emptiness. Let go and be free to move on. Do not keep yourself from another step in your journey. May the blessing of the God be with you.’ ”
Parish life, I've come to discover more and more, involves a lot of 'hellos' and 'goodbyes', in an endless cycle—because those we meet, those we care for, those we serve, those we love, are never really ours to keep. They merely pass through our hands, through our lives, and then we let go. And that's alright. Because in the end, that's what a parish is meant to be. It is not the final destination, only a path, a bridge, a road, one that ends not in ourselves, but in God alone whose work we all strive, however imperfectly, to do every day.
Next weekend we get to say “Hello” not “Farewell” as our new Associate Pastor, Father Ryan Connors, begins his priestly ministry at Our Lady of Mercy. Father returned from Rome last week shortly after his trunks arrived at the Rectory from Italy. He stopped by the Rectory to say “Hello” and get familiar with his new home at Our Lady of Mercy. Father Connors is very excited about serving here at OLM and beginning his first parish assignment. Father has been slowly moving into his rooms and unpacking. He will be at all the Masses next weekend and you will have a chance to meet and greet him after Mass. So get ready to say, “Welcome, Father Connors!” and give him your usual warm Our Lady of Mercy welcome.
It was seventeen years ago I arrived at my first parish assignment at St. Augustine’s Church in Providence. I spent seven happy years there working with Monsignor Connerton and the good people of that parish. It seems like just yesterday I was unpacking my trunks! I hope the time doesn’t fly as fast for Father Connors. Keep him you prayers as he comes to serve our parish and begin his priestly ministry with and for us. Have a Happy Fourth of July! Summer is here! Enjoy it while it lasts! God Bless.