Dear Parishioners: Happy Labor Day! For an American Catholic, one of the gratifying things about Labor Day must be that it is celebrated in September. In much of the rest of the world, it’s celebrated in May. Instead of affirming the dignity of free working men and women, it has been traditionally used to celebrate the communist views of the revolutionary “worker” and worker collectives of “May Day” . Our own American bishops played a crucial role, in the nineteenth century, in convincing the larger Catholic Church that workers and free labor unions could be instruments of a just social order – not the anti-Christian forces they often were, and can be, in Europe. This may all seem like ancient history to Catholics and others today who assume that there is nothing necessarily anti-religious in associations of laborers.
In continental Europe, however, large numbers of workers were swept by their economic struggles into communism, atheism, and opposition to the Church. But that did not happen here in the United States. One reason was the Knights of Labor, in the 1880s which was the largest union in the country and Catholic. Still, there were many European bishops who wondered about Catholics belonging to such associations. It took the collaboration of the legendary James Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore with Terence Powderly, the Catholic president of the Knights of Labor, to reassure Rome that groups like the Knights served the Catholic vision of a just social order. The Vatican gave its approval to Catholic membership in the Knights in 1888. Labor Day became a holiday in 1894.
This Labor Day as we take rest from our work, let’s not forget those who have gone before us and made it possible. Let us also thank the Lord for the great gift of serving Him and His Kingdom in whatever work we do or labor we find ourselves. Celebrate the dignity of work on Labor Day and remember the words of the Catechism: “Work honors the Creator’s gifts and talents received from Him.”
School work began this past week with the return of the our school children to OLM School. Summer fun is truly over now as a new academic year begins for students across the state. Students begin to get homework, projects and papers to do, and teachers begin to correct papers, quizzes and tests! The work of school has begun, may God Bless it!
In just two weeks we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Mercy. We begin the week with our Annual OLM Parish Picnic on Sunday, September 20th! This great event commences the Week of Mercy in celebration of our patroness, Our Lady of Mercy. A full schedule of events is planned that week, a special Prayer of Mercy on Monday in anticipation of Pope Francis’ visit to the US, a Concert of Mercy on Tuesday night as we sing in tribute to Our Lady, a Work of Mercy on Wednesday as we feed and clothe the hungry, and a Celebration of Mercy with a Feast Day Mass on Thursday, September 24th at 9:00AM.
There are more details in the bulletin about the events. We are in need of some volunteers for the picnic and sign-ups are to take place after Masses. We need some folks to help set-up, serve as greeters, help with food and games, and help clean-up. It is always a great day to celebrate together as a parish family. We will also have our traditional tug-of-war between Team Healey and Team Connors. So be sure to put the picnic on your calendar. We hope you can make all or some of the Week of Mercy Events! It is truly a sign of our vitality and life as a parish family as we gather to celebrate our faith and our blessings with one another.
I have been told there is a slight chance that Pope Francis may stop by our parish picnic in order to pose for pictures with OLM parishioners. Fr. Connors is working on it with his connections in Rome and I have every confidence in his ability to pull something off for the picnic as he has in years past! So say a pray! Have a Happy Labor Day! Enjoy some rest from labor! Welcome back students and teachers! Be well. Do good. God Bless. God Bless America!