Dear Parishioners: Last week Sister Jeanne ,OLM School Principal, informed me that she will not be returning as our School Principal next year. After seventeen years of service at OLM School she intends to move on to new endeavors. Sister Jeanne first arrived at Our Lady of Mercy to teach the First Grade but then soon took the helm as School Principal. Her tenure at OLM School has been marked by tremendous growth in the school as well as an ever growing tradition of excellence. As a Religious Sister of Mercy she has dedicated fifty-four years to serving the Church in Catholic Education. Twenty-two of these years were spent as a classroom teacher and thirty-four in administration. After so many years of fruitful service she certainly deserves some time of rest and renewal. Her excellent leadership of our parish school will be missed by our school children, families and faculty but Fr. Connors and I will also miss her wise counsel and joyful spirit.
In the secular world people retire from their jobs and take up golf, knitting, gardening or sailing. In the religious world, sisters, brothers and priests do not really “retire” from their chosen vocation. Instead they take up service to God and His people in a new way and in new venues. So Sister Jeanne may be leaving OLM School but she isn’t ‘retiring” as a faithful and loving servant of God and dedicated Sister of Mercy. We thank her for all she has done for our parish school and for our Church. We are deeply grateful for her dedication to making Our Lady of Mercy one of the best schools in the Diocese. Her commitment to excellence and her deep faith have made OLM School a great success and so we say: “Well done good and faithful servant!” In the coming months we will officially celebrate Sister Jeanne’s service to our parish and we will inform you of the details once they are arranged. We will soon begin working with the Diocesan Catholic School Office to assemble a search committee for a new principal. During this time of transition, I ask for your prayers for Sister Jeanne and our parish school, may Our Lady of Mercy continue to guide and protect us all.
Next weekend we will formally begin the Annual Catholic Charity Appeal (CCA) at OLM. Each year we are asked to support the charitable works of our local Church by donating to the CCA. The good works of our Diocesan Church need our financial and spiritual support in order to continue bringing the “Good News” to the poor, the sick, the suffering and the needy. OLM has always been a leader in the Diocese in supporting the Appeal and I am hopeful that your generosity can once again help us not only reach but surpass this year’s parish goal of $193,684. Last year we were able to raise almost $230,000 and I am confident with your support we can do that again. Last year also saw a great increase in the number of parishioners supporting the Appeal with over 600 parish families pledging their support. For nearly 150 of these families it was the very first time they ever donated to the Catholic Charity Appeal! We take up our in-pew solicitation of the CCA at all Masses next weekend. I am grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Kevin McDevitt for once again serving as the Chairs of the OLM Catholic Charity Appeal and Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Zubiago for chairing the Bishops Partners in Charity at OLM. Whatever gift you can afford to give to this crucial charitable appeal is greatly appreciated and I look forward to your support next weekend.
Ash Wednesday saw great crowds at Masses as we came forward to pledge the next forty days “repenting and being faithful to the Gospel.” Lent has begun and with it the call to pray, fast and give alms. I hope and pray that it is truly a time of reform, repentance and renewal for you and your family. With a greater commitment to prayer, fasting from sin, and giving to the poor and needy we can deepen our faith and renew our relationships with one another and God. Lent has begun, are you ready!? So pray, fast and give alms! Remember Fridays are for fish and the Stations of the Cross! God Bless.