Dear Parishioners: It was a beautiful Funeral Mass for the late Justice Antonin Scalia last Saturday. The liturgy of the Mass of Christian Burial was enhanced by the beauty of the music and the Basilica in which it was celebrated. It was truly a Catholic moment for all to see and appreciate the beauty and profound meaning of the Mass. The Justice’s son, Father Paul Scalia, delivered an eloquent homily. His opening line of the homily described what every Funeral Mass should be. He stated: “We are gathered here because of one man. A man known personally to many of us, known only by reputation to even more, a man loved by many, scorned by others, a man known for great controversy, and for great compassion. That man, of course, is Jesus of Nazareth.”
Speaking from my own experience it is truly a privilege but also a highly emotional time for a priest to celebrate a parent’s Mass of Christian Burial. The fact that a Catholic of Justice Scalia’s stature did not have his funeral Mass celebrated by a cardinal or bishop, but by his son, is as important as it is sentimental. It demonstrates the priority of Antonin Scalia the Christian over Justice Scalia the public figure. May he rest in peace.
The foundational call of Christians to charity is a frequent theme of the Gospels. During Lent, we are asked to focus more intently on "alms giving," which means donating money or goods to the poor and performing other acts of charity. As one of the three pillars of Lenten practice, alms giving is "a witness to fraternal charity" and "a work of justice pleasing to God."
We have a great opportunity this weekend to truly take up the Lenten call to alms giving as we commence the Catholic Charity Appeal here at OLM. Our parish goal this year is $193,864 and I am confident that we can once again surpass the goal. Last year OLM pledged over $240,000 to the CCA. We are grateful to the 518 parish families that helped to reach and surpass the goal. Yes, only 518 of our over 2,000 registered parish families offered any support for the Appeal. ! I pray and hope that more parish families might consider giving to the Appeal and help support the many good works of the Church across our state.
Imagine if every family took up the call to give alms! We are asking each parish family to consider pledging a gift of $300 over ten months. This is a $30 per month pledge that helps to ensure the works of mercy are available to those in need. While I know that every family might not be able to pledge such an amount, I ask each and every parishioner to prayerfully consider making a pledge. No pledge is too small.
Over the years the CCA has seen a sharp decline in the number of Catholics who support it. I hope the good parishioners of OLM can demonstrate our generosity by not only going over our parish goal this year but also by increasing the number of parishioners who participate. In the name of the poor, the sick and the suffering who benefit from the CCA, I thank you for your generous support of the Appeal.
Two important upcoming events at OLM to note. The first is the All-Day Confessions next Saturday, March 5 from 9:00am until 3:00pm. This is a special event in recognition of the Year of Mercy and All-Day Confessions are to be celebrated across the globe next Saturday. So spread the word among our family, friends and neighbors. Come experience God’s forgiveness and mercy available in the Sacrament of Confession.
Also, next weekend we welcome to OLM, Fr. Joe Upton, the Chaplain at URI and Prout. Father Upton is here to lead us on our Annual Parish Lenten Mission. His theme is: “Rediscovering the Power of the Gospel.” I’ve known him many years and he is a tremendous young priest and a gifted preacher. I am grateful he is taking time out of his busy schedule to be with us for this time of Mission. So please make room on your schedule for the Parish Mission.
It’s Lent! Remember that Fridays are for fish and Stations! Pray. Fast. Give Alms. Make the Mission! Support the CCA! Be well. Do Good. God Bless.