Dear Parishioners: God have Mercy! How many times have we used or heard that phrase in our lives. We have just begun the Jubilee Year of Mercy which calls us to rejoice in the reality that God does have Mercy! The Year of Mercy began on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Tuesday. Across the world the Church is united in celebrating God’s Mercy. We celebrate in the Sacrament of Confession and we celebrate each time we take up a Spiritual or Corporal Work of Mercy.
On Monday night, the Vigil of the Holyday, some visiting priests, Fr. Connors, and I were all blessed to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation with the children of our RE Program and their parents. It was a fitting way to anticipate the great Jubilee of Mercy with the forgiveness of sins!
On Tuesday as we celebrated the great feast of the Immaculate Conception with Holyday Masses, we were joined by Bishop Tobin. He celebrated the 9AM OLM School Mass and officially opened the Year of Mercy for the Diocese of Providence. We thank him for his pastoral visit to our parish dedicated to mercy and we are grateful for his wonderful message of mercy offered at the Mass. The Year of Mercy is only beginning and so we continue to celebrate and acknowledge God’s mercy and also realize the great need of God’s mercy many people have across the globe.
I hope you are able to join us for one of the best events we have at OLM. On this Saturday we gather to “feed the hungry.” It is a truly terrific event sponsored by Catholic Relief Services and hosted by OLM. We anticipate packaging 20,000 meals for the hungry and poor in Africa. It is our first parish Work of Mercy as we kickoff the Year of Mercy.
On his recent Pastoral Visit to Africa, Pope Francis delivered a homily at a Mass at the University of Nairobi where some hundreds of thousands of Kenyans gathered to pray with the Holy Father. In his words he spoke of the need for mercy. He stated: "The health of any society depends on the health of its families. We are called to respect and encourage one another, and to reach out to all those in need. Always be concerned for the needs of the poor, and reject everything that leads to prejudice and discrimination, for these things are not of God. Men and women who are channels of God’s grace, who enable his mercy, kindness and truth to become the building blocks of a house that stands firm.” The Holy Father urges us to always be concerned for the poor no matter who they are and no matter where they are from. As Catholics we serve all of God’s children not matter their race, religion or nation of origin.
At OLM we are doing this in many ways. We continue our winter coat drive for the homeless until December 18th. Also many of our RE students are adopting for Christmas the elderly residents of the Little Sisters of the Poor Jeanne Jugan Home, and many in our OLM School have recently adopted refugee families who are in need this Christmas. In addition to these acts of mercy and thanks to your generous support of the OLM Outreach collection, we are able to support some great charities.
Over the last weeks we have donated $1,000 to Mary’s Soup Kitchen at St. Patrick’s Church in Providence, $600 to the Whitmarsh Home for Boys, and $500 to the Assumption Parish Food Pantry in Providence. Also the OLM Outreach Office serves many local families in need on a daily basis. Thanks to your donated food and gift cards we are able to help the hungry. We are also able to help with rents, utilities and prescriptions. These are truly difficult financial times for many families and they truly need our mercy and our charity. Thank you for your support!
We can be truly proud as a Church of the many ministries of mercy across the globe helping the needy and also of the great ministry of mercy at our parish. So join the celebration of Mercy: go to confession, help the poor pray for the sick and reach out to the isolated! Be well. Do Good. Live Mercy! God Bless. Go Pats?!