Dear Parishioners: Last Saturday we joined millions across the globe who took up Pope Francis’ call to pray and fast for peace.  Over a hundred thousand people joined the Pope in St. Peter’s Square as he led them in prayer image4_adapt_465_lowand called upon world leaders to choose a path toward peace not war.  I write this column on Tuesday morning in expectation of President Obama’s Address to the Nation later tonight.  He is to speak directly to the American people about the situation in Syria and the response by our government to the evil attacks with chemical weapons upon the Syrian People.    It appears that the President will have to make a very compelling argument to both the U.S. public and the U.S. Congress that military strikes in Syria are just and necessary.  Most Americans and increasingly many members of Congress are opposed to any type of military action in Syria. I hope you continue to pray for the President and  Congress as they weigh what decision to make in this situation.  Any decision they make and any course of action taken is to have serious diplomatic ramifications as well very serious implications for the young men and women who make up our military and possibly even the safety and  security of our nation. We must also pray for all of our troops that they might be protected from all harm.  And please continue to pray for peace in our world.  May Our Lady, the Queen of Peace intercede and guide our world into the way of peace not war!

In his homily for the Vigil for Peace, Pope Francis called upon Catholics and all people of good will to work and pray for peace and reconciliation  in our world. Here is an excerpt from his powerful and prophetic homily:   “Is it possible to change direction? Can we get out of this spiral of sorrow and death? Can we learn once again to walk and live in the ways of peace? Invoking the help of God, under the maternal gaze of the Salus Populi Romani, Queen of Peace, I say: Yes, it is possible forPope delivers blessing after praying Angelus at Vatican  everyone! From every corner of the world tonight, I would like to hear us cry out: Yes, it is possible for everyone! Or even better, I would like for each one of us, from the least to the greatest, including those called to govern nations, to respond: Yes, we want it! My Christian faith urges me to look to the Cross. How I wish that all men and women of good will would look to the Cross if only for a moment! There, we can see God’s reply: violence is not answered with violence, death is not answered with the  language of death. In the silence of the Cross, the uproar of weapons ceases and the language of reconciliation, forgiveness, dialogue, and peace is spoken.” Yesterday, September 14th, was the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross.  It is a feast in which we acknowledge the centrality of Christ's cross.  The crucifix is the definitive revelation of the fact that we are loved totally by the one person, God, who knows us through and through, and that's what we most need to know. May the Cross of Christ lead our world to overcome war and violence and follow His way of peace  and reconciliation.

In your name, I thank Fr. Nick Smith for his presence here at OLM last week.  His homily was excellent and he was very pleased with the warm reception given him by so many parishioners.  I also thank you for your generosity to this week’s second collection,  the Priests Retirement Fund 232323232fp73482_nu=3353_;___887_WSNRCG=3875_33;_3336nu0mrjCollection.  Your support of this important fund has always been very generous and it is greatly appreciated.  I hope you are as excited as Father Connors and me about next Sunday’s Parish Picnic. We are looking forward to spending a great afternoon gathered as a parish family.  So please join us from 1PM until 4PM as we celebrate our faith with a great spirit of fun and fellowship.  Of course, Fr. Connors great juggling skills will be on display! The Patronal Feast of our Parish is September 24th and so in anticipation of it we  start to celebrate next Sunday with the picnic.   May Our Lady of Mercy guide our parish to  continue to grow in faith, hope and charity.  Pray for Peace! God Bless! Go Sox! Go Pats!!!!!