Dear Parishioners: Happy Easter! What a glorious celebration of Holy Week and Easter we had at Our Lady of Mercy. We saw large crowds at all the Liturgies of Holy Week and standing room only crowds on Easter Sunday. At the Easter Vigil Mass we baptized an adult into the Catholic Faith, received a convert into the Catholic Church and confirmed two adult Catholics in their faith. It was a joyful celebration of the Risen Lord and our Catholic faith. Such beauty and joy wouldn’t be possible without the hard work of so many good people.
We thank Cecilia Franzone and her dedicated troop of decorators for making our Church so beautiful for Lent, Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Easter. They did a tremendous job and we are grateful! We thank our musicians, Deirdre Donovan and Nick LaRoche, and our parish choirs for their great gift of beautiful and prayerful music. We thank our great Altar Servers who provided reverent service at all the Holy Week Liturgies and Easter Sunday. We also thank our Lectors and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion for their faithful service during such a special time for our Church and Parish. And of course we thank our loyal Ushers for their welcoming and ushering of the many people who came to Church. It was truly a beautiful and faith-filled Holy Week and Easter at OLM and I am grateful to all who participated and helped to make it such a meaningful experience. With the Easter Season well underway, we continue to celebrate our faith with joy and hope.
The hymn of glory we sang at the Easter Vigil, the Exsultet, declares: “Be glad, let earth be glad, as glory floods her, ablaze with light from her eternal King, let all corners of the earth be glad, knowing an end to gloom and darkness.”For the 50 days Easter we celebrate the Lord's resurrection from the dead, culminating in his Ascension to the Father and sending of the Holy Spirit upon the Church. We mark this season with hope and joy over the glorified life and the victory over death, expressed most fully in the great resounding cry of every Christian: Alleluia! All faith flows from faith in the resurrection and it is as St. Paul said: "If Christ has not been raised, then empty is our preaching; empty, too, is your faith."
The word "Easter" comes from Old English, meaning simply the "East." The sun which rises in the East, bringing light, warmth and hope, is a symbol for the Christian of the rising Christ, who is the true Light of the world. The Easter or Paschal Candle is a central symbol of this divine light, which is Christ. This candle which was blessed at the Easter Vigil is used at Baptisms, Confirmations and Funerals and during the Easter Season is kept near the ambo (pulpit) throughout Easter Time until Pentecost.
Today in Rome Pope Francis is to canonize two Popes as Saints. Blessed Pope John Paul II and Blessed Pope John XXIII are now Saints of our Church and offered as examples to us for their heroic and holy lives of faith and service.Pope John Paul, known as a globetrotter who made 104 trips outside Italy, served as pope from 1978 to 2005 and Blessed John XXIII, known particularly for convoking the Second Vatican Council, was pope from 1958 to 1963. We turn in prayer to these good and holy Churchmen and ask for their intercession for our Church and Parish. I am grateful to the San Martino Family for donating a beautiful statue of Saint Pope John Paul II in memory of Maria San Martino. This statue will be placed in our candle room so we make seek the regular intercession of John Paul. Pope Francis said Blessed John was "a bit of the 'country priest,' a priest who loves each of the faithful and knows how to care for them; He was holy, patient, had a good sense of humor and a man of courage, especially by calling the Second Vatican Council.” Pope Francis said of Blessed John Paul : "I think of him as 'the great missionary of the church, because he was "a man who proclaimed the Gospel everywhere." We rejoice in the Risen Lord and rejoice in our two new Saints! St. Pope John Paul II and St. Pope John XXII, pray for us! God bless. Happy Easter!!