Dear Parishioners:

Last Sunday we had a great “Farewell” send off for our Summer Seminarian Hiep. I thank Doug Green and his dedicated committee for their great work on the reception.  We wish Hiep all the best as he departs OLM. Let us continue to pray for him.

August is coming this week! The summer is rolling right along and as usual too fast.  Our crack Maintenance Staff are working very hard at our parish school.  They are cleaning,  painting, and remodeling some of the classrooms. This workcontinues over the next few weeks.  The first day of school is set for August 30th!!!

Speaking of going back to school, this weekend we launch our Annual Back Pack Drive to benefit the school children of St. Patrick’s Parish in Providence. Fr. James Ruggeri, the Pastor of St. Patrick’s Church and my dear classmate, contacted me earlier this summer to seek our support.  I am grateful to Doug Green, OLM Outreach Director, and his volunteers who are organizing the project. They have the backpacks ready to fill with supplies, they just need the supplies!  And that’s where you come in and help!

There is a list of much needed supplies in the bulletin. Simply purchase the supplies you wish to donate and then drop them off in the collection containers in the Church vestibule. We begin this week and are collecting supplies up until August 13th. We hope to pack the back packs for deliveryto St. Patrick’s the week of August 14th.  Our Confirmation Class is helping us with this project but if you wish to volunteer to help please contact Doug Green. 

If you don’t have the time to purchase school supplies for the needy children then I invite you to consider a donation.  All you have to do is make the check payable to OLM and mark “Backpack Drive” in the memo. Simply put it in an envelope marked OLM Outreach and either mail it to the Parish Office or drop it in thecollection basket at Sunday Mass. I thank you in advance for your generous support of this good work of charity.  Fr. Ruggeri and thegood people of St. Patrick’s are always very grateful to OLM for all that we do for them.  As, Pope Francis, reminds us:  “ We have to state, without mincing words, that there is an inseparable bond between our faith and the poor. May we never abandon them.”

I am traveling to Annapolis, Maryland this week to attend the Annual Meeting of the National Association of State Catholic Conference Directors.  As you know I serve as the Director of the RI Catholic Conference and the lobbyist for the Church at the RI Statehouse.  In Annapolis, I will be meeting with colleagues from nearly 40 other states with Catholic Conferences.  This meeting affords us the opportunity to meet and discuss issues of common concern and share strategies in advocating for Catholic principles in the public square.

On the docket for discussion are   state and federal budgets, poverty, immigration, Catholic education, abortion, physician assisted suicide, healthcare and criminal justice reform.  We will also be updated on national public policy issues by the staff of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.  This includes analysis of the Trump Administration, Congress and Supreme Court by many experts from Washington, DC.

While State Catholic Conference Directors advocate on a state level, we also interact frequently with Federal Officials.  The sharing of insights about our common educationaland advocacy efforts for the Church in the public square is usually a very fruitful and productivetime.  It is alwaysinstructive to learn what helps and what does not help the cause of the common good. Pope Francisreminds us that “a good Catholic meddles in politics, offering the best of themselves, so that those who govern can govern.”

Of course, it’s not all business at this meeting and we have a chance to see the local sights.  We are getting a guided tour of the U.S. Naval Academy, a dinner cruise on the Chesapeake Bay and guided tours of the historical sites of Annapolis.  I have also arranged to take a side trip to Camden Yards to watch the Baltimore Orioles play.  I return this Friday and thank Fr. Barrow for hiscoverage during my absence.

Do good. Be well. God Bless! Go Sox!