Dear Parishioners: Yes another Sunday and another snowstorm! Enough already! Last Sunday’s storm was messy but didn’t produce too much snow. Lots of slush and puddles with no place for all the water to go! We sprung a few leaks in Church due to the weather but Paul Anderson and our crack maintenance crew were on top of it. I wish to thank them again for their hard work in cleaning up after all these storms. It requires lots of hours of work late at night and early in the morning. They are dedicated to clearing up all the mess from the storms so the path to Church and School is clear and safe. We are grateful for their hard work, dedication and service to the entire parish.
How is your Lent going? Have you kept your fast? Have you persevered in prayer? Don’t give up! If you’ve fallen from the sacred fast of Lent, start all over again. A wise priest once told me the forty days of Lent can be made up lots of mini-Lents for those who forget to fast, abstain from meat or neglect their prayers. Like our Lord we can get up when we fall and begin the Lenten journey anew!
This weekend we kickoff the annual Catholic Charity Appeal at Our Lady of Mercy. Our parish goal this year is $193,864. It is a familiar goal for us as it was the same last year. Of course, last year thanks to your generous support we surpassed the parish goal raising just over $248,000! The second highest amount raised by any parish in the Diocese of Providence. Only Saint Luke’s Church in Barrington raised more for the CCA.
The funds raised by the Catholic Charity Appeal support a variety of agencies and programs that meet the spiritual, educational and social needs of our sisters and brothers in Rhode Island. The CCA supports numerous ministries and programs of the Diocese of Providence which provide social, educational and spiritual support to thousands of Rhode Islanders each year regardless of race, creed or background. The ministries supported by the Fund range from social service ministries providing direct support to the poor, the hungry and homeless, to immigration and refugee services. The Catholic Church is the second largest social service agency in the nation, second only to the government.
In Rhode Island no other Church group offers the vast network of charitable support, educational support and social service support as does the Diocese of Providence. As Catholics we can take pride that our Church continues to preach the Good News of Christ to the poor, the needy, the imprisoned, the refugee, and the outcast. We do so quite effectively and efficiently but more importantly we do so willingly and lovingly. It is the great untold story of our Church.
You can help keep this story alive with your generous support of the Catholic Charity Appeal. Any gift you can make is appreciated and truly needed. We are asking each parish family to consider a pledge of $250 payable over 10 months. We also ask those who have been greatly blessed to consider becoming a Bishop’s Partner in Charity with a gift of $1,000 or more. The CCA has remained steady in raising it’s goal but in recent years has seen a steep decline in the number of donors supporting the goal. This is due in part to the number of Catholics no longer participating in the life of the Church and supporting the mission of the Church financially as have previous generations. Last year 620 families from OLM donated to the CCA raising $248,000! We are grateful but what of the other 1,900 families at Our Lady of Mercy Parish?
In his message for Lent, Pope Francis spoke of making our hearts more like the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He says: “In this way we will receive a heart which is firm and merciful, attentive and generous, a heart which is not closed, indifferent.” We must remember that as committed Catholics we can never remain indifferent to the plight of the poor. I urge you to please support the CCA. It not only can make a difference, it does and it will make a difference. Thank you! It’s Lent so Fridays are for fish and Stations of the Cross! God Bless.