School has ended and Friday was the first official day of summer! It’s hard to believe that it’s here already and soon we’ll be celebrating the Fourth of July! But now we can head to the beaches, sit by the pool, play some golf, take ride on the boat or just read a book under the shade of a tree! “What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness,” said the great American novelist, John Steinbeck. Hopefully we can enjoy some time of refreshment, renewal and relaxation that come with the summer months. And as we do let us remember the blessings bestowed upon us by our loving God, the Creator of all things!
Next weekend we offer a fond farewell to our Parish Deacon John Dowd. Deacon Dowd and his wife, Cathy, have sold their home in North Kingstown and moved to Wakefield. He has served as our Deacon for the last six years and with his move to South County his time of ministry at OLM is coming to an end. Deacon Dowd is to preach all the Masses next weekend and following the 10:30AM Mass I invite you to the Reception for him and his wife at Mercy Park. They have been an important part of our OLM family these many years, so please stop by to offer best wishes and thanks to them. While serving at OLM, Deacon Dowd has faithfully baptized your children, prayed for your beloved dead, taught Baptism Class, led our Men of St. Joseph, preached the Gospel, led us in devotions and adoration of the Lord, and ministered to the residents of the St. Elizabeth’s Home. In your name, I offer my sincere gratitude for his faithful, zealous and loyal service to our parish and to the Church. We wish both him and his wife, much health and happiness in their new home. Ad multos annos!
Those of you who regularly read the R.I. Catholic saw the new priests assignments. We are grateful that our own Fr. Barrow is not moving to another assignment! Yes, he is to be with us for another year (we hope and pray for a few more!!). I am grateful to Bishop Tobin for allowing Fr. Barrow to continue to serve OLM as the Associate Pastor for another year. Over the years OLM has been truly blessed with fine, zealous and holy young priests to serve as our Associate Pastors. In this age of fewer priests, we must be truly grateful for the blessings of these young priests. I know I give thanks to God everyday and to Bishop Tobin for the blessing of having both Fr. Barrow and Fr. Connors assigned here at OLM.
In his homily at the Ordination Mass a couple of weeks ago, Bishop Tobin reminded the newly ordained priests, Fr. Silva and Fr. Rowley: “Without a doubt you will encounter difficulties and disappointments in your life and ministry. But in good times and in bad there must be something much deeper and much more profound than a superficial happiness. There must be a quiet, confident joy that underlines your life and your ministry as a priest. A joy born of the knowledge that you have been chosen by the Lord and that you are doing his work. And even in the midst of difficulties you have very, very good news to share with others.”
This week we celebrate this priestly joy and ministry at OLM. On Sunday, June 23rd, Fr. Connors marks his seventh anniversary of priesthood, on Monday, June 24th I mark 24 years of priesthood and on Thursday, June 27th, Fr. Barrow celebrates his fourth anniversary of ordination. I humbly ask for your prayers for our priestly ministry. May we priests continue to live the Bishop’s instruction given on the day of ordination: “Know what you are doing, and imitate the mystery you celebrate: model your life on the mystery of the Lord's cross.”
If you see a large group of smiling and happy children around OLM this week, then know you’ve discovered our Vacation Bible School! All week these children gather to pray and have fun while they learn more about their Catholic Faith and our Lord. We are grateful to our Youth Activities Coordinator, Billy Burdier, who has organized this great week for the parish children. VBS is always a great week of fun and faith at OLM! Enjoy the summer but please don’t not forget there is no vacation from going to Sunday Mass! God Bless! Be well. Do Good. Go Sox, please!!