Although its hard to believe our Summer Seminarian Hiep ends his time with us next weekend. He arrived back inMay and now he has one week left. The ten weeks have flown by but it has been joy to have Hiep with us here at OLM. After finishing next weekend, Hiep will be traveling home to Vietnam with two classmates from St. John Seminary. It will be their first visit to Vietnam but Hiep returns home to visit his sister and her family and his older brother who is a Pastor there.
We are grateful for Hiep’s presence and ministry among us this summer. He is a very capable young man and will make an outstanding priest. Please pray for him as he continues his studies for the priesthood. Also join us next Sunday following the 10:30am Mass as we say “Farewell and Thank You Hiep” with a reception in Mercy Park. Heip isn’t the only one leaving this week!
Our good Franciscan Apostolic Sisters, Sister Emma and Sister Lourdes, depart Tuesday for their Annual Retreat in Nebraska. They are taking the Franciscan Sisters from Scalabrini Villa with them. They make their way there via Peoria, Illinois where a few of their sisters serve the Bishop and Cathedral Parish.
They then drive from Peoria to Seward, Nebraska to begin their retreat at St. Gregory the Great Seminary. A good number of the Franciscan Apostolic Sisters serve on the seminary staff there. They host the Annual Retreat and Community meetings every year.I know the Sisters are praying for us during their time of retreat. So please keep the good Sisters in your prayers for their safe travel and also for a fruitful retreat. They return to OLM on August 7th, renewed, rested and ready!
In late June I attended a meeting of area priests with Bishop Tobin at St. Bernard’s Parish. It was the first of three regional meetings for the Bishop with his priests. It was a time for the Bishop to discuss new initiatives and share ongoing concerns with his priests and also for the priests to share their thoughts with Bishop Tobin. It was a positive meeting despite some concerning news about the fiscal stress facing the Diocese.
Bishop Tobin alsoannounced that the Diocese of Providence is to launch a capital campaign next year to raise$50 million. This campaign is to mark the 150th anniversary of the founding of our Diocese in 1872. The two-year campaign, titled “Grateful for God’s Providence,” begins in January 2018 at parishes across the Diocese. The much needed campaign seeksto increase resources to stabilize and also maintain the viability of parish and diocesan funds. The rising costs of the care for elderly priests, seminary education for future priests, Catholic schools, and increasing social services for the poor are the main part of this effort.
Bishop Tobin announced that “the faith and generosity of Catholics in this diocese
continues to be remarkable. I am very confident that the campaign will be successful, and I hope that every member of our church participates in this historic campaign.” Guidance in Giving, a New York-based company that advises Catholic groups on fundraising, is advising the campaign. They have operated similar campaigns across the country including therecent and very successful campaign for over $90 million in the Archdiocese of Newark, NJ.
Without a doubt this is challenging news for every Catholic in Rhode Island who values their faith and their Church. But it is also a unique opportunity to ensure a firm foundation for the future of the Church’s ministry and missionfor the next generation of Catholics.
I know that our forebears in the faith, thoseimmigrant Catholics who helped found the Diocese of Providence in 1872 alsofaced many serious challenges. These included religious discrimination, limited resources and strong resistance to the Church’s mission. Not muchhas changed in 150 years but now its our opportunity to secure a future in faith. I do not know when the campaign beginsat OLM but I will mostcertainly keep you informed.
Please pray for Sister Emma and Sister Lourdes this week and during their upcoming retreat! Do good. Be well. God Bless. Go Sox!!