Dear Parishioners: maxresdefaultPope Francis spoke last week prior to the Worldwide Day of Confessions for the Jubilee Year of Mercy and stated: “Let us put back at the center – and not only in this Jubilee Year! — the Sacrament of Reconciliation, a true space of the Spirit in which all, confessors and penitents, can experience the only definitive and faithful love, that of God for each of His children, a love that never disappoints.”

Last Saturday’s All Day of Confession at OLM was certainly not disappointing. Fourteen priests heard confessions consistently throughout the day of hundreds of people. It was a true celebration of God’s love, forgiveness and mercy found in the humble confession of sins against God and neighbor. Many people returned to the Sacrament of Confession after decades away from the Church.Confession-787067

In speaking about Confession, Pope Francis went on to say: “We must certainly not water down the demands of the Gospel, but we cannot risk frustrating the desire of the sinner to be reconciled with the Father. For what the Father awaits more than anything is for his sons and daughters to return home.” If you have not yet been able to get to Confession during this Lenten Season, there are still ample opportunities here at OLM. Confession is offered every day of the week except Sunday and twice on Monday. So please come home again to the Sacrament of love and mercy!

In a very special way we celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation this Saturday and next Saturday. Our First Communion Classes make their First Confessions and receive God’s love and mercy sacramentally for the very first time in their young lives. It is truly an occasion of faith for them, their families and also for our parish family. Please keep these children in your prayers as they continue to prepare for First Holy Communion in May.

Fr. Joe Upton did a superb job preaching our Parish Lenten Mission. His message was profoundly challenging and gives us much food for thought. I hope you enjoyed our time on Mission and were able to make the Mission with your family. I thank all those who came out in such good number throughout the Mission. In your name, I offer my gratitude and thanks to Fr. Upton for taking the time from his very busy schedule to lead OLM on Mission.

There are still more great events happening here at OLM as this week we celebrate Glorious St. Patrick and Good St. Joseph. patrick-windowThese two big Feast Days for the Irish and the Italians are also big feasts for all the Church. So plan on attending the festivities here at OLM . Join us for the St. Patrick’s Day Mass on Thursday at 12:05pm. Bishop Evans is to celebrate the Mass and Fr. Bernie O’Reilly, a native son of County Cavan, Ireland, is our homilist. It is to be a grand celebration complete with Irish hymns and readings in the Irish language. A reception follows the Mass with Irish cookies and coffee. Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh!

Also next Saturday we mark the Feast of St. Joseph with Mass celebrated by Bishop Evans in Italian. Our homilist is Monsignor Albert Kenney, the Vicar-General of the Diocese. Not to worry! Monsignor studied in Rome, speaks fluent Italian and his wonderful Mother’s maiden name is Spinale! Our St. Joseph ‘s Day celebration takes place on Saturday, March 19th at the 8:30AM Mass complete with Italian hymns. A reception of zeppoles and coffee follows Mass. Bouna Festa di San Giuseppe!

Next weekend we celebrate Palm Sunday and begin Holy Week! Palm is to be blessed at all Masses and the Holy Week Schedule in this week’s bulletin. Also we take up the Rice Bowl Collection next week so please be prepared to make your returns. I ask you to be please write a check and not return coins as that makes it easier for our counters on Monday morning. Thank you for your generous support. Yes, Lent is ending but continue to pray, fast and give alms. Empty your Rice Bowls for the Collection next weekend! Be well. Do Good. God Bless.