Dear Parishioners:Last week we watched in horror as yet more innocents were killed by terrorists. This time it was in France but we have seen it in United States, Spain, England, Australia, Pakistan and across the Middle East. These horrific attacks by Jihadists should cause us all to pause and pray. We pray for the many victims and their grieving families, we pray for the police and military who protect us from such attacks, and we pray for peace and justice among peoples and nations. We even pray for the terrorists and all those filled with hatred and violence that they may have a conversion of heart. Praying for our enemies is never easy yet we know we must do so as Christians. So let us pray for all those who seek to do us harm, all those who kill in the name of religion, all those who persecute and oppress peoples and nations, that the God of love might guide them away from violence and hatred to His peace and justice. Prayer must be the weapon we use to wage war on hatred, violence, terror and injustice!
I invite you to join with us in prayer this Thursday as we mark the anniversary of the tragic Supreme Court Decision Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion in our nation. This is yet another sad occasion that calls for our prayers, We join Catholics and many others across the nation in observing a Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children. Thousands are to attend the March for Life in Washington, DC on Thursday to support the right to life for the unborn and rally in defense of life. Pope Francis reminded us of the great and urgent need to defend life when as Archbishop of Buenos Aries he said: “Defend the unborn against abortion even if they persecute you, calumniate you, set traps for you, take you to court or kill you.” I hope you can stop in Church on Thursday and offer prayers in support of life.
This weekend we are privileged to have with us one of our outstanding young priests, Father Chris Murphy. Fr. Murphy serves as Chaplain at Hendricken High School and also as Assistant Vocations Director for the Diocese of Providence. These two important jobs keep him busy and so I am grateful that he was able to take some time to be with us at Our Lady of Mercy. Father is here to preach at all Masses about his important work in promoting vocations to the priesthood. We are blessed to have a vocation from the parish as Brian Morris of Our Lady of Mercy continues his studies at St. John’s Seminary in Boston. We continue to pray for him and his vocation. However, we must also take up prayers for more vocations to the priesthood for the Diocese of Providence. Presently there are twenty young men preparing for the priesthood for our diocese. This June we are scheduled to ordain three young men to the priesthood. However, we may have as many as six priests retiring from active ministry this year. So you can see there is urgent need for more vocations! We are blessed at OLM with two priests, a deacon and even a seminarian from the parish. However, many other parishes have just one priest for two churches and sometimes even just one priest for three churches! There is a great need for more priests to serve God’s people here in Rhode Island. So I urge you to please pray for more vocations to the priesthood. Also please encourage your sons, grandsons, nephews, brothers and any young man you may know to consider the priesthood.
I hope you survived the cold and frigid weather over the last week. We saw temperatures below zero with cold, snowy and gusty winds! Thankfully the new gas boiler in church was working overtime. It is hard to keep the heat at a high level in our large church but the new boiler sure did a great job. The old boiler in the Rectory had a more difficult time but Paul Anderson, our crafty maintenance man, managed to apply some Band-Aids to it and keep the heat on for us! We hope to replace the Rectory boiler in the spring. Have a great week. Pray for peace, in defense of life and for vocations! Welcome to OLM Fr. Murphy! I am away on vacation this week. God Bless. Go Pats Go!!!