It’s hard to believe but its already Fourth of July weekend. The summer is in full swing as we once again celebrate our nation’s founding. We not only celebrate having overthrown the shackles of British colonial oppression but we also celebrate our freedoms and liberties. Pope emeritus Benedict once called religious liberty “the most cherished of America’s freedom.” However, even in our own nation religious liberty is under threat as the culture becomes more secular. Those who hold to deep religious convictions are frequently criticized but also forced even by the government to violate their conscience. We do not face the violent persecution that our fellow Christians face in other nations. In countries like Syria, Iraq, China, Egypt and Nigeria, Christians often face not only government oppression but violent attacks and murderous persecution. Pope Francis recently commented on the increased persecution of Christians across the globe. He stated: “Nowadays, persecution of Christians is stronger than it was in the first centuries of the Church, and there are more Christian martyrs than in that time. This is happening 1700 years after the edict of Constantine, which granted Christians the freedom to publicly profess their faith.” As we celebrate our independence this weekend, we must not take our liberties especially our liberty to come to Mass and worship as Catholics for granted. We also pray for our brothers and sisters who follow Christ and our persecuted, oppressed and even put to death because of it. May freedom of religion soon ring for all people!
Last Sunday we marked our last Sunday 5:00PM Mass until September. This was the first year we had the 5:00PM Mass on Sunday evenings and it seemed to work pretty well. There was a dramatic decrease in attendance during the month of June, so we may consider ending it in May next year. In any case, if you are looking for a Sunday evening Mass in July and August, there are a few so-called “Last Call” Masses down at those beach parishes and a 5:00PM at Saints Rose and Clement in Warwick. And if you are travelling this summer, go to masstimes.org to find a Mass near your vacation destination!
You may have noticed in the bulletin the results of the Catholic Charity Appeal here at Our Lady of Mercy. I want to offer my thanks to the many parishioners who generously supported the Appeal. We more than surpassed our parish goal of $193,000. As of June 29th our total was $242,470.50! We came close to our parish participation goal of 600 with 594 OLM parishioners supporting the Appeal. In the name of the poor who benefit from this charity, I offer my thanks and gratitude to the many who gave so generously and also to our Chairs, Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Zubiago, and Mr. and Mrs. Kevin McDevitt. Thanks for all your generous support!!
Sister Jeanne Barry, RSM, our former parish school principal, is to move into the Mercy Convent. The convent has been empty since Sister Edna moved to Mercy Mount Nursing Home. Sister Jeanne has been living in the Mercy Convent at Saints Rose and Clement but the parish is taking over the convent there for other purposes. So if you see boxes coming and going at the Mercy Convent, know that it is Sister Jeanne moving in to her new home. Welcome to the neighborhood! We are looking for high school age boys and girls who would like to work weekends as Sacristans setting up for Masses. Training is provided along with a small stipend. If you are interested or just want more information, contact Fr. Connors. It’s a great opportunity for our youth to serve the parish. This weekend we welcome to Our Lady of Mercy Mr. Henri St. Louis as our new Director of Music and Organist. Be sure to give him your usual warm OLM welcome! May St. Cecilia, the patroness of Church musicians, pray for him and all our church musicians at OLM! Hope you had a great Fourth of July! Enjoy the summer while it lasts! God Bless America!