Dear Parishioners:This time of year always brings to mind my first day of school in September 1970! On his way to work that day my Father brought me to the Rhodes School in Edgewood. It was to be my first day of Kindergarten. He walked me to Mrs. Johnson’s room in the basement of the school and said his goodbyes! I remember being very, very nervous. Amazingly I still remember Mrs. Johnson’s face and tender voice as she led me to my seat in my new classroom. Among the many students there were two of my next door neighbors. As I looked at these familiar faces, I remember feeling more at ease. Over that school year Mrs. Johnson would teach us to read, write, add and subtract. These basic skills would serve as the foundation for the rest of our lives. In fact, I depend everyday on what I learned from Mrs. Johnson forty-three years ago, especially those 26 letters of the alphabet! I am grateful to her and so many of the great teachers I had over the 22 years of education. Each day I use the basic skills learned in Kindergarten and the knowledge gained over a lifetime of education. None of which would be possible without the dedication and diligence of good teachers. As the school year begins please join me in remembering with gratitude the women and men from your own school days who taught and readied you for life. Let us offer a prayer of thanksgiving for the teachers who taught us, inspired us and prepared us for the journey of life. This week we also remember the many young children who make the first trek to a new classroom and meet their new teacher. Those at OLM School and at schools all across the state and nation enter into the new world of school this week. Yes, the First Day of School is Wednesday for our OLM students and teachers. May God bless all our students, staff and teachers with a great school year. May it be a year filled with faith, hope, joy and wisdom. Welcome back students, study hard and pray often!! Last Friday night Father Connors and I took a road trip to Tiverton to visit Fr. Shemek. His new digs in Tiverton are very nice and he is certainly thriving in his new parish by the sea! The pastoring of not one but two parishes presents many challenges but Fr. Shemek seems to be settling in very nicely in his new role. As usual he prepared a wonderful meal and we had a great night of priestly fraternity. I ask you to please keep Fr. Shemek in your prayers as he is to be installed as Pastor of St. Theresa and St. Christopher Parishes by Bishop Tobin next Sunday morning. I hope to attend the Mass of Installation next week and celebrate the special day with Fr. Shemek. In your name I bring him the congratulations and prayerful best wishes of the Our Lady of Mercy Parish Family. Next weekend is also the inaugural weekend for the new addition to our Mass schedule. We begin a weekly Sunday Evening Mass at 5:00PM on September 1. It begins in September and will continue until the last Sunday in June. Many parishioners have expressed their thanks for this Mass and I hope many turn out for it. One parishioner told me that he hoped to take his whole family to the Sunday 5:00PM Mass and then to dinner. A true family event both spiritually and physically nourished! So please spread the word among your family, friends, neighbors and even the strangers you meet at Dave’s Market. There is now a “Last Call” Mass in East Greenwich right at OLM on Sunday evenings! We’ve been making some improvements on our parking lots. A large pothole lot has been repaired and new striping is to be laid down. The new handicapped spots and these improvements add to the safety and protection of both parkers and pedestrians. I know it’s hard to believe that the month of August ends this week and school begins on Wednesday! Yes, summer is coming to a close, too quickly for many and not soon enough for others! But time flies for all even summer vacationers! So enjoy the week. God Bless. Go Sox!!Hope to see some of you at the new Sunday evening Mass at 5PM!