Dear Parishioners: We officially kick off the Annual Catholic Charity Appeal at Our Lady of Mercy this weekend. I am grateful to Mr. Kevin McDevitt for his leadership of this part of the Appeal.  Many of you may have already received a mailing with a pledge card, if you have already made your pledge it will be credited to OLM. Our Charity Appeal goal this year is $193,684, one of the highest in the Diocese.  Last year we raised $227,860 with 632 parish families pledging their support. It is notable that there were over 100 first time contributors last year.  I am confident that we can again surpass our goal and hopeful that more of our 2,200 parish families might support ccalogo_faith_good_worksthe good works of the Church.

The Catholic Charity Drive funds the works of the Catholic Church here in Rhode Island and the many social service agencies that provide assistance to the poor, the needy, the sick, the elderly, immigrants, and refugees. Your donations help feed and house the homeless at Emmanuel House, provide assistance for the elderly and poor at the St. Martin de Porres Center, provide and the sacraments to prisoners at the ACI, aid the poor in affording heat in the cold winter months, and help refugee families find a place of freedom and welcome here in Rhode Island. We are asking every parish family to prayerfully consider a pledge of $250 this year.  Also if you have never contributed to the Catholic Charity Drive, we encourage you to please to do so this year.  The Catholic Charity Appeal is the main source of support for our diocesan agencies providing for the physical, educational, and spiritual needs of Rhode Islanders each year.  It is our responsibility to ensure that these agencies and programs have the resources available to help our brothers and sisters in need.  Thank you for your generosity in supporting the good works of our Church.

It’s hard to believe but this week we celebrate the  feasts of St. Patrick and St. Joseph.  On Monday we mark St. Patrick’s Feast at the 12:05PM Mass.  There will be Irish hymns,SaintPatrickShamrock readings in Irish and Irish soda bread and coffee following the Mass.  Our guest homilist is Fr. Nick Smith, one of our great Senior Priests and a native of Ireland.  Please join us! On Wednesday we mark the Solemnity of St. Joseph at the 12:05PM Mass.  The Mass is to be celebrated by Bishop Evans in s a solemnity it doesn’t technically count as Lent!) Our guest homilist this year is Fr. Joseph “Giuseppe” Upton, the zeppoleProut Chaplain. So please join us for this celebration!

Soon the NCAA begins the “March Madness” as its basketball tournament is called. last weekend as our OLM Basketball teams played in the CAL Tournament.  Two of our teams, sixth grade boys and girls, were crowned State Champions and several others were runners up.  Congratulations to them all on a great season!   These celebrations in Lent might be a distraction for some.  But not to worry, next weekend we begin our Annual Parish Mission with Fr. Mark Spalding serving as our Mission Preacher.

This is our annual “retreat” as a parish where we can refocus, renew and refresh our faith.  So mark your calendars now for the Mission.  All the details are in this week’s bulletin. On lent3Saturday afternoon we celebrated  Confession for the RE Frist Communion Class and next Saturday we do the same for the OLM School Class.  I ask your prayers for these children as they receive God’s merciful forgiveness and grace for the first time in Confession. When did you last make a good Confession? Last Sunday Pope Francis reminded us:  “Lent is a favorable opportunity for all of us to make a journey of conversion, renew the promises of our Baptism, and renounce Satan and all his works and seductions in order to walk the paths of God and ‘to arrive at Easter in the joy of the Holy  Spirit.’”  So pray, fast and give alms! Remember Fridays are for fish and the Stations of the Cross