Dear Parishioners:I hope you had a Happy Independence Day last weekend. The Fourth of July is always a great holiday to celebrate with family and friends. Fireworks, hot dogs, hamburgers and apple pie are the American standard for the holiday. But it is also a day to reflect upon what it means for us to be a citizen of the United States. Sometimes we take our citizenship for granted and forget the freedoms we enjoy. Not every nation allows such liberty as we do here in the US. Not every nation has the bounty and blessings we enjoy in the US.
As you know Father Shemek, our former Associate Pastor at OLM, became a U.S. citizen last month. He is a native of Poland but came to our country to serve the Church as a priest. When I called him to congratulate him and told him that to become a US citizen was a great event in his life but I also reminded him that it meant he had to vote and pay taxes now! There was a great story last week in the Rhode Island Catholic aboutFather Shemek entitled “Following God’s Call to America’s Shores.” Father has been living and working as a priest in the US on a religious worker visa. With help from the Diocesan Office of Immigration and Refugee Services, Father Shemek was able to obtain his citizenship after taking an exam. On upon becoming a US citizen in June Father Shemek said: “When you come to live here you become a friend of the United States. But after citizenship, it becomes a family.” Welcome to the family Father Shemek!
We continue to give thanks to God for our nation. Perhaps we might offer this prayer I recently came across. Let us pray:
Lord, in your Infinite Wisdom, you have inspired men and women to forge this great nation. If ever a state was founded upon the principles of the Bible, it is truly the United States. No other nation has given it’s people the power – and the privilege – to effect and influence the lives of so many. Please help us to be aware of the gift and the responsibilities that this power grants us all. We beseech You to stretch Your hand over those serving our nation, our soldiers and our leaders. Fill them with Your Presence that they may see what is Right. O Jesus, You gathered men and women to do Your work for the time when You returned to the Father in Heaven. Grant us the wisdom and the courage to be Your disciples, the strength to work Your will in exercising our civic duties. Blessed Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Patron of this nation, please fill our hearts with love and reverence. Please intercede for us, that we may be enkindled by the Holy Spirit with the grace to know what is right and the conviction to ensure that God’s will be done. For Your Many Blessings, we thank You, O Lord. For Your Glory, not ours, let us go forth. We ask these things through the Lord Jesus Christ and our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. Amen.
During the weekend of July 25 and 26 the Mission Co-op will be held at OLM. This is our annual commitment to spiritually and financially help the good works of the missions of our Church. Each year every parish across the state takes a weekend and dedicates it to the missionaries. These missionaries preach all the weekend masses and the second collection goes to support their good work. This year we welcome the Missionhurst Missionaries to OLM. On the weekend of July 25/26, Father Roy Shea, CICM who works in the missions of Brazil joins us at OLM. He is to preach all the weekend Masses about the good works of Missionhurst. There is more about this in the bulletin this week. The entire second collection that weekend is taken up in support of the Missionhurst Missions. There is no envelope so please be prepared for the collection. We also commit to praying for the missions and the missionaries that they may continue to spread the good news of the Gospel to the four corners of the earth. May God bless them and their good works. Have a great week! Enjoy the summer! God Bless.