Dear Parishioners: The horror and tragedy of last week’s attacks in Paris still continue to shock the world. The innocent victims of the demented and depraved Islamist terrorists were killed indiscriminately and mercilessly by these fanatics. At his weekly Angelus Address Pope Francis expressed his sorrow and support for Paris, stating: “To the president of the Republic of France and all of its citizens, I express my deepest sorrow. Such barbarity leaves us stunned and makes us question how the heart of man could come up with and carry out such horrific acts, which have shattered not only France, but the whole world. I want to vigorously reaffirm that the path of violence and hate does not resolve the problems of humanity and that to use the name of God to justify this path is blasphemy. We ask Our Lady to protect us and to watch over the beloved French nation, the eldest daughter of the Church, all of Europe and the whole world.”
On Thursday we celebrate Thanksgiving Day. Families and friends gather together to share a meal of turkey and the trimmings as they give thanks to God for the bounty of the earth and their own blessings. I invite you to join us on Thanksgiving for Mass. Bishop Evans is to celebrate the Mass and Fr. Eric Bennett, who grew up here at OLM and whose family are still parishioners, is to serve as our guest homilist. Start your Thanksgiving Day off the best way with Mass!
I thank our twelve new OLM Altar Servers who recently completed their training and have been serving for the first time over the last few weeks. They now join the sixty-four other Altar Servers currently serving God and OLM. We commend them all for their service to our parish.
Next weekend we are holding a Winter Coat Drive. We are collecting new and gently used winter coats for the homeless and needy. As the winter weather begins to get colder and wetter we are asking for your help in providing warm coats for the neediest among us. I thank our OLM Youth Group and the Junior Legion of Mary for coordinating this work of mercy for our parish. Thank you for your support of this OLM work of mercy.
I congratulate our OLM Outreach Director, Doug Green, who is to be inducted into the East Greenwich Wall of Honor for his many good works and his outreach to the poor and needy. The induction ceremony is to take place this spring. We are honored by this recognition for Doug and our parish. In the meantime, Doug’s good work continues this week with the preparation of Thanksgiving baskets for the needy. Your generous donations of non-perishable foods, gift cards and to the Outreach Collection make this possible. In the name of the poor and needy who benefit from your support and generosity of OLM Outreach I thank you.
We celebrate the end of the Church Year this weekend with Christ the King. Next Sunday we celebrate the First Sunday of Advent which begins the New Church Year and the season of prayerful preparation for Christ’s coming.
This week’s bulletin contains a copy of the Annual Financial Report for OLM for the Fiscal Year July 1, 2014-June 30, 2015. Our weekly budget revenue has increased by $70,000. In fact, we had a total increase of $127,000 in our income. We were able to reduce last year’s loss of $101,000 to $18,000 this year. We made many capital improvements in the Church, School and Cemetery. This includes a new truck and snow plow, renovating and upgrading classrooms in the school, general improvements to the physical plant and the purchase and installation of a new natural gas burner for the Church. I encourage you to read the report.
Of course this is not possible without your generous financial support in the Weekly Collection, the monthly Outreach Collection and the Annual Parish Collection. I thank you for your continued support of the mission and ministry of Our Lady of Mercy Church and School. A Happy Thanksgiving Day to you and your families. Let us all give thanks to God for our blessings! Pray for Paris! Be well. Do good. God Bless.