Dear Parishioners: Is the image at the Church of the Presentation in North Providence truly an image of the Virgin Mary? Is it a miracle as some people have suggested? Or is it simply a stain on a cross? All week crowds have gathered at the North Providence Church to look at the image on the cross that appears to resemble the Blessed Mother. The media have flocked to the site and run news stories all week. The Diocese of Providence this week issued the following statement:
“The Catholic Church is always very cautious in evaluating alleged miracles. It is highly unlikely that the image of the Virgin Mary that individuals are seeing on the cross of the Church of the Presentation in North Providence is the result of divine intervention. Nonetheless, God often works through ordinary means, and if the image on the cross, even if it is the result of natural causes, inspires individuals to a renewed faith in God and greater charity for their neighbor, that’s a positive message to be welcomed and embraced. Catholics are also reminded that the best way to express their love and devotion for our Blessed Mother, is to attend Holy Mass this Thursday, August 15th, the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven, a holy day of obligation.”
Miracle or stain, the remarkable thing is that people stopped to look and pray. However, as the above statement suggests the best way to pray is to come to Mass. The Eucharist is the best prayer we have and it should always be the “source and summit” of our Catholic Faith. How sad it would be if someone went to North Providence to see the image of the Blessed Mother but skipped Mass this week on her Feast of the Assumption.
The other Diocesan news this week is that the Catholic Charity Appeal thanks to the generosity of the faithful has surpassed this year’s $7.8 million goal despite the state’s continued economic challenges. I offer my thanks to the 632 OLM parishioners who so generously responded to the call to support the many good and charitable works of our Diocesan Church. Our parish goal was surpassed as we raised at OLM a total of $227,860, the third highest total in the state. We finished behind St. Luke Church in Barrington and Christ the King Church in South Kingstown. Thankfully for the Appeal many parishes reached or surpassed their goal.
We also surpassed our goal of 600 parish households participating in the Charity Appeal. However, we are a parish of over 2,000 registered parishioners and only about 25% helped to reach this goal. Again I thank our Catholic Charity Appeal Chairs, Steven and Antonia Zubiago and Kevin and Nancy McDevitt for their leadership in helping surpass our parish goal. Their leadership and your great generosity are also deeply appreciated by Bishop Tobin who recently sent a note of thanks for the great effort made by our parish.
Of course, your generosity to the poor and needy extends well beyond the Catholic Charity Appeal and includes your great support of our OLM Outreach. Your generous support in the monthly Outreach envelope continues to support the work of our Outreach Office. It also allows us to financially support the good work of McAuley House and Emmanuel House in Providence and House of Hope in Warwick which serve the homeless and destitute. Also we’ve been able to help Whitmarsh Home for Boys where OLP Brother John McHale does such great work.
We’ve also been able to help pro-life groups support women in crisis pregnancies along with helping mothers of newborns getting the supplies they need for their children. In the name of the poor and needy, I offer my gratitude for your continued generosity and support of the OLM Outreach charitable works. Your deep love and respect of the poor is a great witness of your Catholic Faith. Your charity helps many people in need and I know they too are grateful. It’s the last week of summer for many of our OLM students so be sure to enjoy it! God Bless. Go Sox!!