Dear Parishioners:Merry Christmas! Yes the Christmas Season is just beginning! Christmas is a season full of joy, hope and faith not just a day. The Eternal Word has become Man and dwells among us. The longings of the patriarchs and prophets are fulfilled. With the shepherds we hurry to the manger and adore the Incarnate Son of God, who for us and for our salvation descended upon earth. The purpose of Christmas is beautifully expressed in the Preface of the Nativity: "For in the mystery of the Word made Flesh a new light of your glory has shone upon the eyes of our mind, so that, as we recognize in him God made visible, we may be caught up through him in love of all things invisible."
Christmas at Our Lady of Mercy is always a joyful, faithful and hopeful celebration. We give thanks for the gift of God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ born on Christmas day. We also give thanks to the many people who made Christmas so beautiful and solemn at OLM. Let’s give thanks and praise where it is due! The OLM Decorating Committee under the direction of Cecelia Franzone did a tremendous job of making our Church truly beautiful. Jeffery Allard and Deirdre Donovan along with our musicians, Adult and Children’s Choirs gave us the great gift of wonderful music. Our fine Altar Servers ensured the great feast was celebrated with solemnity and reverence. Our fine ushers did a great job of welcoming and ushering our many visitors! Our lectors proclaimed the readings with great joy and faith. Our Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion helped many people receive the Body of Christ with reverence and respect. We thank them all!
In “The Joy of the Gospel,” Pope Francis writes about a “practical relativism” in which we act, in our day to day life, like God doesn’t really exist. He said that this can result in a heart that No to selfishness and transforming us Disillusioned with reality, with the Church and with themselves, they experience a constant temptation to cling to a faint disillusioned and Christmas is the May we continue these Christmas days and throughout the New Year to celebrate the wonder and beauty of this holy season and may we continue to adore Him in all we say and do.
The Holy Father calls us to say “No to selfishness and spiritual sloth.” He talks about the dangers of “acedia,” which is an emptiness or listlessness that results in not really caring about anything. He warns of a “gray pragmatism,” transforming us into “mummies.” He says: “Disillusioned with reality, with the Church and with themselves, they experience a constant temptation to cling to a faint melancholy, lacking in hope which seizes the heart.” Pope Francis asks us to say “no to a sterile pessimism.” He says, “Our faith is challenged to discern how wine can come from water and how wheat can grow in the midst of weeds.” He writes about a “defeatism” which can turn us into “disillusioned pessimists, ‘sourpusses’” and urges us to say “yes to a new relationship with Jesus.”
Christmas is the opportunity to open our hearts to Jesus’ coming today, in the midst of our darkness and restore the light of peace, joy and hope. On the threshold of the New Year, “come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!” May we continue these Christmas days and throughout the New Year to celebrate the wonder and beauty of this holy season and may we continue to adore Him in all we say and do.
I offer my thanks to the Hill Funeral Home for donating the beautiful 2014 OLM Calendars to our parish. These calendars are a gift to each of you so please take one as you leave Church. If you know of a neighbor or family member who needs one, take one for them too! The calendars highlight all the important dates of our Church Year and provide easy contact information for the parish. We are grateful to the Carparco Family of Hill Funeral Home for their generous donation.
Fr. Connors and I wish to thank the many parishioners who were so kind to us at Christmas. The cards, best wishes and generous personal gifts are appreciated and we are grateful for your thoughtfulness. Your support and encouragement of our priestly ministry is truly appreciated . We wish you and your families a continued Merry Christmas and many blessings for the New Year in 2014! God Bless