Dear Parishioners: As Father Connors announced at Masses last weekend, Bishop Tobin has appointed me to serve as the Dean of Deanery VII. Deans are appointed by the Bishop to represent him to the priests of the deanery; bring the concerns and needs of the priests to the attention of the Bishop; work with and provide support to the priests; and coordinate the pastoral activity of the deanery. A Deanery is a geographical grouping of parishes and there are eight in the Diocese of Providence. Deanery VII encompasses all the parishes from East Greenwich south to Westerly. There are 16 parishes including St. Andrew’s on Block Island. The duties of the Dean require I visit each parish once a year and hold meetings for the priests throughout the year. In June our previous Dean, Msgr. Paul Theroux, was transferred to a new parish in another deanery and caused the vacancy. I am grateful to Bishop Tobin in appointing me as Dean and for his trust and confidence in me. I ask for your prayers as I take on this new duty and also your understanding as I take on additional diocesan duties outside the parish. Of course, I continue my primary duty as the full-time Pastor of Our Lady of Mercy. But also continue to serve as the Director of the RI Catholic Conference and Chief Lobbyist for the Diocese at the RI Statehouse.
We must also thank Bishop Tobin for sending us such a very talented young priest in Fr. Connors. There are only a few parishes with an associate pastor and we are blessed to have him. He is a tremendous help to me and truly a great asset to our parish. In fact, Fr. Connors has been busy preparing for our Annual Parish Picnic on September 21st. He is organizing the activities for the day and tells me that there are some exciting new additions to the picnic. There are Pony-Rides for the children once again along with other games for the kids. The Knights of Columbus are grilling hamburgers and hot dogs. And I hear that our resident juggler, Fr. Connors, might be riding his unicycle on Picnic Day! So be sure to mark your calendar for this big day! Also please note the schedule of events for the Feast of Our Lady of Mercy in the bulletin this week. We kickoff our events with the Parish Picnic on Sunday, September 21st. On Monday, September 22nd we gather in prayer for our parish and an inspiring talk on “Mercy” from Fr. Chris Maher. On Tuesday, September 23rd our talented parish choirs and musicians offer a concert of music dedicated to Our Lady. And lastly on Wednesday, September 24th, the actual date of the Feast of Our Lady of Mercy, our 7:30AM Mass is to be celebrated with great solemnity and followed by a reception. Join us for all of these special events in the life of our parish. We look forward to our patronal feast and turn to Our Lady of Mercy for her powerful intercession for our parish. It is a great time to celebrate the joy of our parish family with faith and hope. So join us as we gather for fun and fellowship, prayer and praise!
We began our new school year with a Mass on Monday for the dedicated and talented teachers of our parish school. We welcomed our returning teachers and also our new teachers along with our new principal. On Wednesday we saw the smiling faces of our school children on the first day of school. The excitement on Wednesday was incredible especially for those beginning school for the very first time! On this Friday, September 5th at 9:00AM we celebrate the Opening Mass of the School Year. At this Mass of the Holy Spirit we call forth the power of the Holy Spirit upon our school community especially our new principal. May it truly be a year of faith, hope and love and may our school children continue to grow in faith, holiness and wisdom. Monday is Labor Day and a day to relax but also a day to give thanks to Almighty God for the gift of work in our lives. Let us also remember in prayer the unemployed and all those struggling to find work. Work brings dignity and security to life so please pray for those seeking it. Happy Labor Day! God Bless