Dear Parishioners: What a week for our nation and our Church. Pope Francis’ Apostolic Visit to the United States dominated the headlines and filled the airwaves. From his arrival at Andrews Air Force Base to his departure from Philadelphia, the Holy Father showed the whole country his humility, his faith and his love. Millions of people came out to see him and be with him at the large Masses and at his visits to schools, convents, seminaries, prisons, and homeless shelters. His was truly a “Mission of Love” which provided inspiration for many people and much food for thought for all us. His simple message to us was very challenging and provocative.
Of course there are those complainers and cynics both in and outside the Church who like to find fault with Pope Francis’ style or with his words. Yet Pope Francis simply asked us to answer the call to serve the poor, work for economic opportunity for all people, be good stewards of the earth, protect religious minorities from persecution, promote religious freedom everywhere, defend human life at all stages and welcome the stranger, the immigrant and the refugee.
In Philadelphia, Pope Francis said: “Most of you know the story of Saint Katharine Drexel, one of the great saints raised up by this local Church. When she spoke to Pope Leo XIII of the needs of the missions, the Pope – he was a very wise Pope! – asked her pointedly: ‘What about you? What are you going to do?’. Those words changed Katharine’s life, because they reminded her that, in the end, every Christian man and woman, by virtue of baptism, has received a mission. Each one of us has to respond, as best we can, to the Lord’s call to build up his Body, the Church." Pope Francis went on to suggest: “One of the great challenges facing the Church in this generation is to foster in all the faithful a sense of personal responsibility for the Church’s mission, and to enable them to fulfill that responsibility as missionary disciples, as a leaven of the Gospel in our world.”Pope Francis is asking each one of us, priest and laity, old and young, rich and poor, “what about you?” What are you going to do to serve the Lord and His Church?
The Franciscan Apostolic Sisters offer us a great witness of service to the Church as we welcome them to Our Lady of Mercy Parish. Sister Lourdes and Sister Emma moved into their new home this past week. We officially welcome them to OLM at the 10:30AM Mass this Sunday. The Sisters are excited to be living and working at our parish. They hope to help out in our parish school, with our RE Program, visit the sick and home-bound, and most importantly pray for our parish and us everyday! Welcome to OLM Sr. Emma and Sr. Lourdes!
We install our Religious Education teachers this weekend. These men and women volunteer much of their free time to ensuring that the children of our parish learn about Jesus and his teachings. We thank all of our RE teachers and aides who provide a great witness of the faith and answer the call to serve the Church. We thank Mickey St. Jean and Doug Green who direct this important part of the life and ministry of our parish. We give thanks to God for the families who participate faithfully in it, the teachers and aides who volunteer so willingly to serve it, and the children who are so open to learning more about their Catholic Faith.
Fr. Connors is in Rome attending the ordination of Seminarian Nathan Ricci. Nathan is from Warwick, a graduate of Bishop Hendricken High School and also Providence College. He and fifty of his classmates are to be ordained Transitional Deacons by Cardinal Dolan at St. Peter’s Basilica. In June 2016 Nathan is to be ordained a priest for service in the Diocese of Providence. Prayerful congratulations to Nathan and his classmates!
I offer my sincere thanks and deep gratitude to the many parishioners who have thus far generously donated to the Annual Collection. It is a great start to this critical collection and I am always so grateful for your support and generosity toward the parish. Be well. Do Good. Go Pats. God Bless.