Dear Parishioners: The Month of May is here! We begin this month dedicated to Our Blessed Mother Mary with May Devotions this Monday at 7:00PM. We gather together in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and pray the Rosary. Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament will be offered. So please join us every Monday night at 7:00PM for May Devotions. It is a great chance to pray together, adore the Eucharistic Lord, and venerate the Blessed Mother.
Of course, the arrival of May also means that our OLM Religious Education Program ends after another fruitful year of formation and education in the Catholic Faith for the children of our parish. We offer our thanks to Mickey St. Jean and Doug Green who lead our excellent program. We are grateful to our many volunteer teachers and aides who donate so much time and talent teaching our children. And we thank the many families who so faithfully participate in our excellent program.
Next week is one of the highlights of the year at Our Lady of Mercy. First Communion Mass is to be celebrated next Saturday. The children of our RE Program celebrate Frist Communion at 10:00am and the OLM School First Communion Mass at Noon. On next Sunday, Mother’s Day, the entire Frist Communion Class celebrates the May Crowning at the 10:30am Mass. I ask you to please continue to pray for the First Communion Class as they celebrate this great occasion of faith and joy, receiving Jesus Christ for the very first time. First Communion is a great day for our children and their families but also for our Parish Family too. These 64 children will experience the power and the glory of the Eucharistic Lord in their lives for the very first time.
Pope Francis instructed a First Communion Class in Rome, suggesting: "The Eucharist is such a great gift. That's why going to Mass is so important. Going to Mass not just to pray, but to receive Communion, the Bread and Body of Christ. It saves us, forgives us and it makes us one with the Father. How beautiful!”
This week we celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord on Thursday. It is a holyday of obligation and therefore all Catholics are obligated to attend Mass on the Ascension. We offer four Masses for the holyday. The Vigil of the Ascension is on Wednesday at 5:00pm and on the holyday itself there is a 7:30am Mass, 9:00am School Mass and 7:00pm. Certainly ample opportunity for us to get to Mass.
St. Leo the Great preaches on the Ancension: “Accordingly, dearly-beloved, throughout this time which elapsed between the Lord's Resurrection and Ascension, God's Providence had this in view, to teach and impress upon both the eyes and hearts of His own people that the Lord Jesus Christ might be acknowledged to have as truly risen, as He was truly born, suffered, and died. And hence the most blessed Apostles and all the disciples, who had been both bewildered at His death on the cross and backward in believing His Resurrection, were so strengthened by the clearness of the truth that when the Lord entered the heights of heaven, not only were they affected with no sadness, but were even filled with great joy. And truly great and unspeakable was their cause for joy, when in the sight of the holy multitude, above the dignity of all heavenly creatures, the Nature of mankind went up, to pass above the angels' ranks and to rise beyond the archangels' heights, and to have Its uplifting limited by no elevation until, received to sit with the Eternal Father .”
Father Connors and I are headed to New Jersey this week for the ordination of the Most Reverend James Checchio as the Bishop of Meutchen. Bishop-elect Checchio served as the Rector of the North American College in Rome where Fr. Connors completed his seminary studies. He has been a friend of mine for many years. He is one of the youngest bishops in the country, having just turned 50. The ordination is on Tuesday and we return on Wednesday in time for the holy day! Please pray for the Bishop-elect. Remember May is for Mary! Be well. Do Good. God Bless. Go Sox!