Dear Parishioners: Did you make a New Year’s resolution?  How is it going? I read that gym memberships surge in January due to the amount of people  resolved to get in shape.  Apparently it is a big money maker for heath clubs as they collect new membership fees and the new members drop out quickly!

What about a spiritual resolution for 2017?  Did you make one?  Confession once a month? More faithful attendance to Sunday Mass? More time for family and less on career? How about more time for prayer?  Perhaps even committing to stopping by Church once a day or once a week for some quiet time of prayer and reflection with the Lord?  These are all good spiritual resolutions you can add to the usual resolutions we make like getting in shape and stopping bad habits!

Bishop Tobin has declared 2017 to be a Year of Mary here in the Diocese of Providence.  This takes on particular significance for our parish which under the patronage of Mary under her title, Our Lady of Mercy. Perhaps we might resolve as individuals and as a parish to pray more for her intercession for our world, our Church, our Parish, our family and our community.  We might also try to pick up our Rosary Beads more often and turn to our Lady for her help and guidance in 2017.

Let each one  of us resolve to make this new year a year of   prayer.  Let us  pray for more than simply our own needs and concerns.  Let us turn to Our Lady of Mercy and resolve to pray once a day for her powerful intercession this year. In this Year of Mary for our local Church there is no better intercessor than the Mother of God, Mary our Mother!

Pray for those you know and those you don’t.  Pray for Pope Francis, Bishop Tobin, and Bishop Evans.  Pray for the clergy and religious  of OLM.  Pray for the priests of the Diocese of Providence.  Pray that more young men and women might answer God’s call to serve the Church as priest and religious. Pray for Deacon Brian Morris from this parish who  is to be ordained a priest  of Providence this June.

Pray for world leaders. Pray for peace among nations. Pray for our new President, our new congress,  our new General Assembly and all our  newly elected leaders. Pray for wisdom and justice, charity. Pray for all refugees, migrants,  the many victims of war and violence.  Pray for an end to terrorism and hatred of any kind.

Pray for marriages, that they will be strengthened.  Pray for families who are struggling and parents who are overwhelmed.  Pray for mothers. Pray for unborn children.  Pray for fathers. Pray for those who grieve the loss of a loved one.

Pray for those who feel they are alone and who suffer in silence.  Pray for those people we often forget and those we often overlook or even avoid.  Pray for the homeless, the jobless, the addicted, the mentally ill and all those who suffer in any way.  Pray that the new year might truly give them a new beginning.

Pray for people who  live in hope, that they never lose hope. Pray

that more people will come to know Jesus Christ, the hope of the world.  Pray that Catholics who have fallen away from the faith might come back to Mass and the Sacraments.  Pray that more of us might spread the Gospel of Joy with our words and deeds.

Yes,  by all means let us resolve to drop some pounds and give up some bad habits this year.  But please resolve to make 2017 a year of more prayer.  May it be a year truly dedicated to our patroness, the Blessed Virgin Mary, as we turn to her in prayer and beg for her most powerful intercession.

St. John Vianney reminds us: “We do not have to talk very much in order to pray well. We know that God is there in His holy tabernacle; let us open our hearts to Him; let us rejoice in His Presence: This is the best prayer.“

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Epiphany and the end of the Christmas Season.  Epiphany means manifestation. What the Church celebrates today is the manifestation of our Lord to the whole world.  Having been made known to the shepherds of Bethlehem, Christ is revealed to the Magi who have come from the East to adore Him. Christian tradition has always seen in the Magi the first fruits of the Gentiles. They lead in their wake all the peoples of the earth, and thus the Epiphany is an affirmation of universal salvation.

Fr. Connors and Fr. Ricci have returned to Rome to resume their studies.  We thank them for their priestly service to our parish during the Christmas Season.  It was a joy to have them here and we were truly blessed. I have again resumed my duties lobbying at the Statehouse this past week, please pray for my work there!  Happy Epiphany! Be well. Do good. God Bless. Go Pats!!!  Resolve to pray more in 2017!