Dear Parishioners: We offer our Summer Seminarian, Nick Robenhymer, a fond farewell this weekend. Nick has been with us just over ten weeks as part of his preparation for priesthood. After graduating from Providence College this past spring, he came to OLM for the summer. Now he departs to begin his priestly formation and theological studies at St. John’s Seminary in Boston. I hope you can stop by to wish Nick well after the 10:30AM Mass in Mercy Park. He was a joy to have at the parish this summer and helped in many ways. Nick provided some much needed help with our new Vacation Bible School and we learned then that he can play the Ukulele!! His help coordinating and serving Masses, visits to the sick, catechetical instruction with both individuals and parish groups were a great experience for him as well as our parish. We thank Nick for his joyful and prayerful presence at OLM. Keep him in your prayers as he enters the next stage of priestly formation at St. John’s Seminary. I am grateful to Fr. Carl Fisette, the Director of Vocations, for choosing OLM to participate in the seminarian program and assigning Nick to our parish.
Our own native-son of OLM, Seminarian Brian Morris, spent his summer serving at St. Pius Parish in Westerly and leaves today to serve two weeks at the Shrine in Lourdes, France. While there Brian is to assist pilgrims especially those who have come in need of healing and suffer from physical disabilities. I have asked Brian to pray for our parish and the intentions of all of our parishioners while he is there. Lourdes has long been a place of pilgrimage since Our Lady appeared to St. Bernadette in 1858. Many come to be cured in the waters of the beautiful grotto where the Blessed Mother spoke her message to the young French farm girl. The core of the message was that God comes to tell us that he loves us, and he loves us as we are with all our successes but also with all our wounds, our weaknesses and our limitations. Let us turn to Our Lady of Lourdes and beg her intercession for our parish and for our seminarians preparing for the priesthood.
Last week I received a call from my classmate, Father James Ruggeri. He is the Pastor of St. Patrick’s Parish in the Smith Hill section of Providence. Father James is one of the finest priests of our Diocese and is commonly called the “the Saint of Smith Hill.” He is tireless servant of the poor and has established a new Catholic high school for economically disadvantaged students, runs a weekly soup kitchen and provides aid and assistance to the poor and needy of his parish. He called and asked if the good parishioners of OLM might help provide school supplies for the students of his parish as they prepare to go back to school this fall. Father James knows well the generous and supportive nature of OLM as we routinely send him financial support from our Outreach Collection. The details of the “Backpack Drive for St. Patrick’s” are in this week’s bulletin if you care to help out. In the name of Father James and the poor he so faithfully serves, I offer thanks and gratitude for your support.
Don’t forget to put Sunday, September 21st on your calendar as we look forward to another celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Mercy. We will once again have our Annual Parish Picnic complete with all the fun and games, good food and good times we have had the last two years. So put it in your book or on the kitchen calendar now! Who knows we may even be able to see Fr. Connors not only juggle but perhaps ride his unicycle this year!!
Tomorrow, August 4th, is the Feast of St. John Vianney, the patron saint of parish priests. He is often referred to as the "Curé d' Ars". He became internationally known for his priestly and pastoral work in his parish because of the radical spiritual transformation of the community. His holiness and zeal were apparent to all who met him. He spent hours and hours hearing confessions and was devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary. I kindly ask for your prayers for Fr. Connors and myself and also for all priests on this special feast day. God Bless.