Dear Parishioners:
We say so long to our Summer Seminarian Hiepthis weekend.  After ten weeks, his time at OLM has come to an end ! He leaves for a visit home to his family in Vietnam this week. He then returns to St. John Seminary in late August to begin his Second Year of Theology.   We are going to miss him here at OLM!  Hiep has been a great help and a joyful presence in our parish.

I thank him for his hard work and willingness to learn new things while he was with us.  He is a fine young man and without a doubt is going to be a terrific priest!  On Sunday following the 10:30am Mass please join us in saying β€œFarewell and Thank You” at a reception in Mercy Park.  I hope you can stop by andsay thank you and farewell to Hiep. May God bless him in his studies for the priesthood. I ask you to please continue to pray for Hiep and his vocation to the priesthood.

We need more seminarians such as Hiep here in our Diocese of Providence.  So also please pray for an increase of vocations to the priesthood and religious life.  Encourage young men in our parish and in your own family to consider the priesthood. I am convinced that God continues to call men to serve His Church as priests but sometimes His call gets lost in the noise of our culture.

Our OLM Youth Activities Coordinator, Michael LaChimia, is also leaving us.  Michael has also been teaching Religion at OLM School.  He is beginning a Doctoral Program in Philosophy at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. I thank him for his time serving our parish youth and teaching in our parish school. We wish him well as he works towards his Ph.D.!

I am happy to announce that Ryan Clearyis to replace Michael as our new OLM Youth Activities Coordinator.  He takes up this role in August and is to work closely with Fr. Barrow in reaching out to the youth of our parish.  Ryan has also been hired as our new OLM Middle School Social Studies Teacher.  He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame where he also earned a Masters in
Education.  Ryan, his wife and daughter just moved to Rhode Island from Ohio.  He has been teaching at Catholic Schools in Texas and Ohio for the last ten years.  He is to also serve as the Director of OLM Athletics.

Last week you may have read some of thenumerous news reports that Pope Francis had just issued a statement restricting the use of gluten-free communion hosts at Mass.  Many headlines werein fact wrong and the stories misleading about what actually happened. A circular letter to all bishops was issued in early June by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.  There’s nothing new contained in it.

Pope Francis released the letter as a β€œreminder.”  Communion wafers and wine are no longer being exclusively made by Catholic religious communities, and so it is vital that bishops pay attention to what the Eucharistic materials are made from that they use. The Letter also reminds bishops that: β€œHosts that are completely gluten-free are invalid matter for the celebration of the Eucharist. Low-gluten hosts (partially gluten-free) are valid matter, provided they contain a sufficient amount of gluten to obtain the confection of bread without the addition of foreign materials and without the use of procedures that would alter the nature of bread.”

Sacraments are valid when they are celebrated with valid matter (the things and/or persons central to the particular sacramental sign) and with valid form (the words and gestures particular to celebrating the sacrament). Water, for example, is valid matter for Baptism. Lemonade and Coca-Cola are not. The Church’s Eucharistic discipline requires that the hosts used for communion be made of only wheat. There are a   number of low-gluten options   available. Several of our OLM parishioners already receive these hosts regularly at Mass.

All this may strike the secular press and even many Catholics as a lot of fuss. But matter does matter. Jesus made it so, when β€œon the night he was betrayed he himself took bread.”  Each element of the Eucharist has a divinely-instituted purpose and meaning that cannot be replaced,  Ignore the erroneous news stories about this issue.

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