Dear Parishioners: On Friday we prayed for the legal protection of unborn children in our nation. I am grateful for the many parishioners and others who turned out to spend some time in prayer and adoration for this great cause. Also I thank Fr. Joe Upton, the URI Chaplain, for his inspiring words about “Living the Gospel of Life.”
This week at the RI State House the RI Right to Life Committee and other committed pro-lifers are to gather to give voice to the voiceless unborn. The Right to Life Rally is to take place on Wednesday, January 27 from 3:00PM until 4:00PM in the State House Rotunda. It is a tremendous opportunity to call upon the state’s political leaders to work to protect and respect all human life.
Also this week at the RI Statehouse this week, the RI Families for School Choice are hosting an event to highlight the need for expanded parental choice in education. This group includes families from Catholic and Jewish schools as well as supporters of school choice in education. The event is Thursday, January 28 from 2:00PM to 5:00PM in the State Room of the RI Statehouse. The featured speaker is the national school reform leader Kevin P. Chavous. He is a former Washington, DC City Councilman and was instrumental in helping DC establish a school voucher for economically disadvantaged children.
In RI we have a Tuition Scholarship Tax Credit program that helps economically poor students obtain scholarships for the school of their choice. Tax-credit scholarships allow taxpayers to receive full or partial tax credits for donating to nonprofits that provide K–12 private school scholarships. The amount of tax credits distributed is capped at $1.5 million, which, in turn, affects the availability and size of scholarships. It is a great program for those who own small businesses to obtain valuable tax credits as they aid poor children.
Speaking of choice in education next Sunday we kick-off Catholic Schools Week. There is a great week of events planned at our parish school. Our excellent students are to speak at all Masses next weekend about OLM School and its many benefits. Also on next Sunday we are hosting an Open House at OLM School from 10:00AM until 12:00PM for any families who might be interested in exploring our school. All parishioners are invited to stop by and take a tour of the school to see the many great things that are going there.
When I was growing up (many years before Fr. Connors was born), if people asked where you were from, you never said a town but "St. Paul's" or "OLM" People understood that the success of a parish school was tied to the success of the parish. The same is true today. When our parishes flourish, our schools flourish. When there are more people at Mass, when more families understand the mission of Catholic schools, they succeed.
Here at OLM, our 13th Pastor, the late Fr. Brady, had a tremendous concern for the children of the parish. With the permission and encouragement of then Bishop Russell J. McVinney, the fifth Bishop of Providence, Fr. Brady purchased a home on First Avenue for use as a convent and invited the Sisters of Mercy to staff the new parish school. In September of 1950, the first parish students enrolled at Our Lady of Mercy School. The Kindergarten class was in the Convent, and grades one and two in the basement of the Church. Under the direction of the first principal, Sr. Helena McNulty the number of students grew rapidly. In the summer of 1951, Fr. Brady then purchased three acres of land on Fourth Avenue and began construction of a new school building. The new school opened in January of 1952 and remains a vital part of our parish today.
I hope you’ll attend one or all of the many important events taking place this coming week. Have a great week! It’s good to be home. We look forward to another Pat’s victory this weekend! Be well. Do Good. God Bless.