Dear Parishioners: The Blessing of Throats on the Feast of St. Blaise is always a popular devotion especially during these days of colds and flus. It is a great tradition to ask for the intercession of the Fourth Century Bishop and Martyr, St. Blaise. I pray and hope his intercession protects all from diseases of the throat and all other ailments. In the meantime we continue to pray for all those who are sick especially those in our parish. This Tuesday we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes which Blessed John Paul II declared as World Day of the Sick in 1993. When he did so he suggested that it be “"a special time of prayer and sharing, of offering one's suffering for the good of the Church and of reminding everyone to see in his sick brother or sister the face of Christ who, by suffering, dying and rising, achieved the salvation of humanity."
The tradition of praying for the sick finds its foundation in the teachings and ministry of Jesus Christ who cured the sick and prayed for the ill and infirm. It is a tradition continued throughout the history of the Church as described in the Letter of St. James: “Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the priests of the church, and they should pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up. If they have committed any sins, they will be forgiven. The Church continues to encourage her sick and infirm members to receive The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick so that their faith and hope is strengthened and they will not give in to discouragement. Fr. Connors and I routinely anoint the sick and often we do anoint parishioners who are going in for surgery. We are most happy to do so and also to visit the sick at hospitals and at home. We just need to know if you are in the hospital or going in for surgery. Due to the privacy laws hospitals no longer notify us of parishioners who are hospitalized as they used to in the past. So if you are hospitalized or know of someone who is sick or hospitalized from OLM, please contact the Parish Office and let us know. In the meantime, we can all pray for the sick in our daily prayers. I ask you to please do so in a special way this Tuesday.
Tuesday also marks the first apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1858 to fourteen-year-old Bernadette Soubirous. Between February 11 and July 16, 1858, the Blessed Virgin appeared eighteen times, and showed herself to Saint Bernadette in the hollow of the rock at Lourdes, France. On March 25 she said to the little shepherdess who was only fourteen years of age: "I am the Immaculate Conception." Since then Lourdes has become a place of pilgrimage and many cures and conversions have taken place. The message of Lourdes is a call to personal conversion, prayer, and charity. May Our Lady of Lourdes intercede for all the sick, suffering and dying in our world.
The snow on Monday prevented Fr. James Ruggeri from coming to OLM. However, we were able to reschedule his talk to Monday, February 24th at 7:00PM. Fr. James works with the poor in Providence and is known as the “Saint of Smith Hill.” I think you will find his talk inspirational and challenging. So mark your calendar. In fact, please join us on Mondays the rest of month for all of our Adult Ed Lecture Series.
Last week we sent out Annual Tax Statements to all OLM parishioners who donated last year. If you have not received yours or if yours is inaccurate in any way please contact Mrs. Sandra Demers at the Parish Office. I offer my sincere gratitude and thanks to the many parishioners who so generously support the parish financially. We couldn’t pay our bills without your generosity and I am deeply appreciative. Congratulations to Fr. Connors! His homily for Catholic Schools Week was so good it has now been posted on the Diocesan Catholic Schools webpage. Great work!! I am away this weekend on holiday visiting with friends in Southern California. See you next Sunday. God Bless.