Dear Parishioners: This weekend the NCAA is having its Final Four. We had our own version last weekend at the New England CYO Basketball Championship Tournament. This year the Diocese of Providence was the host and we had two OLM teams in the tournament. Our OLM School 6th Grade Girls team who were the RI State Champions this year played through the semi-finals but were eliminated. Meanwhile our OLM Parish 5th/6th Boys Parish Team advanced to the Championship Game but was defeated by St. Mark’s Team from Stratford, Connecticut. Congratulations to both teams on a great season!
Fr. Connors was at Bishop Hendricken High School this week speaking at their Annual Career Day. He is a great promoter of vocations to the priesthood and religious life. This week he also took a group of high school young men to visit with the seminarians at the OLP Seminary in Providence. A couple of weeks ago he took a group of young women to visit the Dominican Sisters Convent in Connecticut. I urge you to help him in promoting and praying for vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Speaking of vocations, I was asked by our Diocesan Vocation Director, Father Carl Fisette, to host a seminarian studying for the priesthood at OLM. We don’t know which seminarian for the Diocese of Providence it will be but he will arrive in late May and be with us through the summer months. Fr. Connors and I are looking forward to working with him and introducing him to the life of a parish priest. Brian Morris from OLM is currently a seminarian pursing his studies for the priesthood at St. John’s Major Seminary in Boston. Brian will be home for Holy Week assisting us at the Sacred Liturgies. I ask you to continue to pray for him as he continues his priestly formation.
There is a full schedule for Holy Week in this week’s bulletin. Next Sunday we begin with the great celebration of Palm Sunday and the proclamation of the Lord’s Passion. We celebrate this feast with great solemnity especially at the 10:30AM Mass as we begin the procession once again from outside the Church. On Palm Sunday we commemorate Christ's entry into Jerusalem for the completion of the Paschal Mystery. It sets the tone as we enter into the celebrations of Holy Week. As God’s faithful people, we remember Christ's triumphal entrance into Jerusalem on a donkey. In Jesus' time, a huge crowd assembled, put their cloaks on the ground, and waved palm branches, acclaiming Christ as the King of Israel, the Son of David.
We now wave our palm branches and sing as the priest enters the Church: “Hosanna to the Son of David, the King of Israel. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.” These words of praise are echoed every day at Mass at the Sanctus (Holy, Holy). In his homily for Palm Sunday last year Pope Francis reflected on the procession stating: “We waved our palms, our olive branches. We too welcomed Jesus; we too expressed our joy at accompanying him, at knowing him to be close, present in us and among us as a friend, a brother, and also as a King: that is, a shining beacon for our lives. We accompany, we follow Jesus, but above all we know that he accompanies us and carries us on his shoulders. This is our joy, this is the hope that we must bring to this world. Please do not let yourselves be robbed of hope! Do not let hope be stolen! The hope that Jesus gives us.”
On Palm Sunday we take up the Rice Bowl Collection. This important collection helps to support the great work of Catholic Relief Services feeding the hungry around the globe. Your donations support CRS’ humanitarian relief programs in nearly 100 countries worldwide. As we have fasted, prayed, and given alms during Lent, we have been following Jesus’ call to live in solidarity with the poorest and most vulnerable. Please roll your coins collected in your Rice Bowls during Lent and make returns by check payable to OLM. In the name of the hungry of the world, I thank you for your generous support. God Bless. Go Sox!!