Dear Parishioners:

It’s a weekend for celebrating with joy and faith at Our Lady of Mercy. On Saturday 82 of our parish children received their First Holy Communion.  This is always a day of faith, joy, love and hope for our parish and for these children.  We thank all those who helped to make the celebration such a special day.  We thank Mickey St. Jean and her assistants who work so hard in making our First Communion Program such a great success.  We also thank Mrs. Mary Ryan and Mrs. Mary Martin-Tuite who prepared the OLM School Second Grade so well.

We thank the parents of these children for supporting and encouraging their children in the Catholic Faith.  Parents are the primary teachers of their children in the faith and so what begins on a child’s baptism day continues everyday as parents bear witness to the Risen Christ in their lives. Pope Francis reminds us that: “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!”

The great gift received at First Communion Day is just the beginning for these children and their parents. They must strive to live the Catholic faith daily and be nourished by the Eucharist every Sunday. We pray for these dear children and their families that they may always stay close to the Eucharistic Lord and faithful to Sunday Mass. Last year Pope Francis speaking to a First Communion Class in Italy reminded the children that “you, who make your First Communion, must always remember this day your whole life: the first day that Jesus came in to us. He comes, makes himself one with us, makes himself our food, our nourishment to give us strength.”

The celebration of First Communion continues as we celebrate the May Crowning of our Blessed Mother at 10:30am Mass.  The Month of May is dedicated to Mary and so as we celebrate Mother’s Day today we crown our Blessed Mother, the Queen of our lives! Saint Pope John Paul II reminds us of the importance of the May Crowing. He states: “The queen symbol was attributed to Mary because she was a perfect follower of Christ, who is the absolute ‘crown’ of creation. The maid of Nazareth consented to God’s plan; she journeyed on the pilgrimage of faith; she listened to God’s Word and kept it in her heart; she remained steadfastly in close union with her Son, all the way to the foot of the Cross; she persevered in prayer with the Church. Thus, in an eminent way, she won the ‘crown ofrighteousness,’ ‘the crown of life,’ ‘the crown of glory’ that is promised to those who follow Christ.”

In honor of the 100th Anniversary of the Apparitions in Fatima, Portugal, a generous parishioner recently donated a beautiful statue of Our Lady of Fatima to the parish.  This is the statue to be crowned today by our First Communion Class and is to remain in the sanctuary the rest of the month.  Our celebration of Our Lady of Fatima continues on Monday with May Devotions at 7:00pm.  Father Jorge Rocha, a native of Portugal and Associate Pastor at St. Francis Xavier Church, will lead us in our May devotions and share with us the importance of Our Lady of Fatima to our lives as Catholics.  Pope Francis is in Fatima this weekend to celebrate the anniversary and yesterday he canonized two the child visionaries who saw Our Lady there.  These two shepherd children are now Saints Jacinta and Francisco! May they now intercede for us and our intentions in Heaven!

A Happy Mother Day to all our Mothers! We honor all Mothers today as we remember them with prayer and thanks at Masses. May Mary our Mother, guide and bless all Mothers with her gentle mantle of peace and love.  Congratulations to our First Communion Class! Be well.  Do good. God Bless.  Our Lady of Fatima, St. Jacinta, and St. Francisco, pray for us!