Dear Parishioners: We welcomed our OLM students, staff and faculty back this past Wednesday. The First Day of School was a great beginning of the new academic year complete with great excitement and energy. What a blessing our school is for our parish and community. In a recent column on Catholic Education Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the Archbishop of Washington, observed that “the children attending Catholic schools along city streets, suburban neighborhoods and in the rural countryside come from all backgrounds, and through challenging academic programs rooted in Catholic values learn to be the future leaders of our church, our communities, our nation and our world.” This Friday at 9:00AM we formally mark the opening of the school year with a Mass of the Holy Spirit. I invite all parishioners to join with our students, faculty, staff and school families as we call upon the Holy Spirit to guide us during the school year. What a great way to celebrate our Catholic Faith as it is lived out and taught in our school on a daily basis. If you cannot attend the Mass, then please remember to pray for our students, staff and faculty.
This weekend we kick-off the new 5:00PM Sunday Evening Mass at OLM. This addition of a fifth Mass to our weekend schedule should afford those at OLM and in the area yet another opportunity to get to Sunday Mass. In the past OLM parishioners who sought an evening Mass on Sundays would often attend the 5:30PM Sunday Mass at nearby St. Francis de Sales Church in North Kingstown. However, Fr. Procaccini, the new pastor at St. Francis, recently announced changes in their Weekend Mass schedule which includes eliminating the 5:30PM Mass. So I urge you to invite your friends and neighbors to join us at Mass on Sundays. Perhaps you might make a special effort to invite someone who has fallen away from the Church or routinely skips Mass to come join us. Pope Francis reminds us: “Where does Jesus send us? There are no borders, no limits: he sends us to everyone. The Gospel is for everyone, not just for some. It is not only for those who seem closer to us, more receptive, more welcoming. It is for everyone. Do not be afraid to go and to bring Christ into every area of life, to the fringes of society, even to those who seem farthest away, most indifferent. The Lord seeks all, he wants everyone to feel the warmth of his mercy and his love.”
Next weekend we welcome to OLM, Father Nicholas Smith who will be preaching at all Masses. Father Smith is one of our Senior Priests who served many years as Chaplain at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Pastor at St. Francis de Sales in North Kingstown and later at St. Francis of Assisi in South Kingstown. He comes to us next weekend to speak about the Senior Priests’ Collection which is scheduled for the weekend of September 14th and 15th. This important collection helps fund the pension fund for Senior Priests in Providence. I’m sure you will give him your usual warm Our Lady of Mercy welcome! This
Monday we mark the “unofficial” end of summer as the nation celebrates Labor Day. Each year the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issues a Labor Day Statement. This year they write: “Labor Day is an opportunity to take stock of the ways workers are honored and respected. Unfortunately, millions of workers today are denied this honor and respect as a result of unemployment, underemployment, unjust wages, wage theft, abuse, and exploitation.” As we celebrate Labor Day with picnics, golfing, boating or at the beach, let us take time to pray for the gift of work that gives each us human dignity. May we also remember all those who are unemployed and seeking work. Labor Day is a day to rest from work but also a day to remember in prayer workers and rejoice in the dignity that work bestows upon us. Have a great week. Keep praying for our students returning to school. Let’s hope we have a crowd at Sunday Mass at 5PM! Enjoy the holiday and Happy Labor Day!