Dear Parishioners: I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving with your family and friends. It is a great day to spend time with the ones we love and to stop and give thanks for the blessings God has bestowed upon us. We give thanks for much here at Our Lady of Mercy. We give thanks for the tremendous spirit of charity and mercy. It is this spirit that helped to support our OLM Outreach efforts this Thanksgiving. Thanks to your support we were able to provide many needy families and individuals a holiday basket. Thank you for your generosity!
We begin the New Church Year this week as we usher in the Holy Season of Advent. It is a season of prayerful preparation and joyful anticipation of the coming of Christ. We pray with patience and perseverance as we prepare the way for Christ to come into our lives and our world. Advent is a time to recall the cry of the early Christians: “Maranantha!” “Come, Lord Jesus!” We join the cry as we too call out: “Come, Lord Jesus!” Come into our lives, come into our homes, come into our hearts and come into our world! If the Lord Jesus is to truly come into our lives and hearts we must come to Him at Holy Mass, we must prepare ourselves with a good Confession and we must commit ourselves to prayer and devotion to the Lord. As Pope Francis reminds us: “The season of Advent, which we begin again today, restores this horizon of hope, a hope which does not disappoint for it is founded on God’s Word. A hope which does not disappoint, simply because the Lord never disappoints! He is faithful! He does not disappoint! Let us think about and feel this beauty. “
We look forward to the hope and joy of Christmas and Christ’s Second Coming but we also look back. Each year we send a report to Bishop Tobin with all the sacramental statistics of the parish. We reported to the Most Reverend Bishop the following: we are a parish of 2,120 registered families and 7, 150 people. There are over 400 children who attend Catholic School and over 400 who attend our Religious Education Program. Last year we welcomed 41 people into the Church with the Sacrament of Baptism. We had 81 young children receive their First Holy Communion last year and 111 received the Sacrament of Confirmation. We joyfully joined 24 couples in the Sacrament of Marriage last year! And sadly we had 64 parishioners laid to rest with a Mass of Christian Burial.
Overall these statistics indicate that our parish is active and youthful! However, they also suggest that many of our 2,120 families are not joining us for Mass on Sundays and some are not bringing their children forward for the Sacraments. Let us pray for our parish that this Advent may be one of renewal for all our parish. May we renew ourselves by faithfully and worthily receiving Christ in Holy Communion at Sunday Mass, humbly seek God’s merciful forgiveness in Confession and seek out Christ’s real presence in the Sacraments.
We are holding a Winter Coat Drive this weekend thanks to our Junior Legion of Mary and our OLM Youth Group. We hope to collect new and gently used coats for the homeless and the needy. There is always great need for warm coats during the winter weather so often cold and snowy. If you cannot drop off your donated coat this weekend, please feel free to drop it off during the week at the OLM Outreach Office in Mercy House. Thank you for your generous support of this work of mercy as we seek to “clothe the naked.”
The Year of Mercy called forth by Pope Francis is to commence on the Holy Day of the Immaculate Conception, Tuesday, December 8, 2015. Bishop Tobin commences this Jubilee Year of Mercy here at Our Lady of Mercy as he celebrates the 9:00AM OLM School Holy Day Mass. He honors us and our parish by celebrating the inaugural Mass for the Year of Mercy here at our parish dedicated to Our Lady of Mercy. Happy Advent! Prepare the way! “Come, Lord Jesus!” Be well. Do Good. God Bless. Go Pats!