Dear Parishioners: With great gratitude we offer our thanks to Father Chris O’Connor who led us on Mission this past week. His witty and wise sermons provided much food for thought for all of us about what it means to be an authentic Catholic disciple. I hope you were able to get to some of the Mission Talks as Fr. O’Connor is a gifted preacher and was well worth the time. In your name, I thank Fr. O’Connor for taking the time to be with us and offer such inspirational words. He is a busy priest who does great work at St. John’s Seminary preparing future priests. I am so grateful to him for his kindness and generosity in leading our Parish Mission. Please keep Fr. O’Connor in your prayers as he continues his important priestly ministry.
I also thank the visiting priests who joined us for Confessions during the Mission. They report that many people came forward to receive the Sacrament of Mercy and that is a great thing! Also I thank the many people who turned out for the Mission each night, it was a wonderful time for our whole parish to come together and deepen our understanding of our Catholic Faith.
We had a small celebration this Saturday morning at the 8:30am Mass. Mrs. Claire Sharpe celebrated her 107th Birthday by coming to Mass! It was a great celebration for her and her family and we were so delighted she was able to come to Church for Mass. She is a woman of deep faith and love of Christ and His Church and truly an inspiration to us all. A very Happy Birthday to Claire and God’s Blessings!
This is the last weekend of Lent as next Sunday we celebrate Palm Sunday and the start of Holy Week. Palm Branches will be distributed and blessed at all Masses. At the 10:30am Mass next Sunday, we will begin our Solemn Entrance from Mercy Park. Pray for spring weather! Also at all Masses next Sunday we solemnly proclaim the Passion of Our Lord according to the Gospel of Saint Matthew. Pope Emeritus Benedict teaches us:
“Palm Sunday is the great doorway leading into Holy Week, the week when the Lord Jesus makes his way towards the culmination of his earthly existence. May these days call forth two sentiments in particular: praise, after the example of those who welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem with their "Hosanna!", and thanksgiving, because in this Holy Week the Lord Jesus will renew the greatest gift we could possibly imagine: he will give us his life, his body and his blood, his love.”
I hope and pray that the Holy Season of Lent continues to help prepare each us for the coming glory of Easter. Our prayer, fasting and alms-giving should help us to truly celebrate the great feasts of our faith with a sense of renewed faith. If you have not yet gone to Confession, I urge you to please do so before Easter. We have Confessions every Monday night at 6:00pm and Saturdays at 4:00pm.
Next weekend we also take up the annual Rice Bowl Collection for Catholic Relief Services. Those humble paper bowls that were given out on Ash Wednesday are hopefully now overflowing with your sacrificial donations for the hungry of the world. Catholic Relief Services was founded in 1943 by the U.S. Bishops to serve World War II survivors in Europe. Since then, they have expanded in size to reach more than 100 million people in 101 countries on five continents. For over 40 years, CRS Rice Bowl has provided material support to those who hunger for food throughout our world.
All the monies collected for the Rice Bowl Collection go directly to CRS efforts to feed the hungry. We are grateful for the tremendous support that OLM has shown over the years for this collection. Again this year the hungry of the world are counting on us to help them through our prayer, sacrifice, self-denial and charity. I ask that you please not return loose coins but either cash or a check as this makes it much easier for our Monday morning collection counters. In the name of the poor and hungry who are aided by Catholic Relief Services, I thank you for your generous support of the Rice Bowl Collection and ask for your continued prayers for the good works of CRS. As Catholics we should take great pride in the incredible work of CRS in bringing Christ to the neediest of the world. It is such works that we support here at OLM!
Please remember that the Saturday 4:00pm Mass is now moved forward to 5:00pm and Confessions from 3:00pm to 4:00pm! I am away this weekend preaching the Lenten Mission at St. Theresa & St. Christopher in Tiverton. Fr. Shemek, our old OLM friend, invited me months ago and I couldn’t say “No” to him! It is still Lent so don’t forget to Pray, Fast and Give Alms! Be well. Do good. God Bless!