Almost everybody loves a birthday – unless you are of an age when you would just as soon forget another birthday. But generally speaking, everybody loves a birthday. It’s a time to celebrate a life and to inaugurate a new year of that life as best wishes and blessing are shared. Cake, ice cream, and presents top off the day.
Today, the feast of Pentecost, we celebrate the birthday of the Church. Jesus’ mission takes on a new life as the Holy Spirit fills the faithful with gifts needed to continue Jesus’ work in the world. Now it is up to the Church to be the presence of Christ in the world.
And today I would like to celebrate a gift that has been given particularly to THIS Church of Our Lady of Mercy. With Fr. Mark, I offer congratulations and gratitude to OLM parishioners Cynthia Hapke, Kimberly Harris, Douglas McIlvaine, and Emilia (MiMi) Tse who graduated on May 5th with a Lay Leadership Certificate from the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary. They received their certificates from Cardinal Blasé Cupich during an academic convocation held at St. Mary of the Lake. The two-year program forms parish volunteers who demonstrate leadership potential. The program seeks to deepen their personal spirituality and engage in theological reflection; to study Church doctrine, Scripture, sacramental theology and Church history; and to refine their communication and leadership skills. Graduates of the certificate program are prepared to assume many roles of volunteer leadership in their parish. Previous OLM graduates of the program include: Bettye Abbott, Phil Britton, Claudia Molina, and Zara Tan. These eight parishioners truly have been a gift of the Spirit to our community through their leadership and involvement in so many ministries at our parish. May God continue to bless them and us as Cindy, Kim, Doug, MiMi, Bettye, Phil, Claudia and Zara so generously share their gifts of the spirit with us!
The Holy Spirit has also gifted us with a new Director of Religious Education for K – 5. Our new DRE is Mary Jo Trapani. She served for 16 years as Director of Religious Education and RCIA at Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish in Madison, Wisconsin. In her letter of application she wrote: “Led by the Spirit, I am seeking the DRE position at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church to engage students, their parents and volunteers creatively in the faith in order to facilitate personal encounters with Christ that energizes them to witness a life of discipleship.” We look forward to welcoming Mary Jo and the gifts she will bring to our children, families, and staff. She is in the process of re-locating to our area and will begin her position on June 18, 2018.
As Pentecost concludes the Easter season, may the joy of the Risen Lord continue to fill your heart!
Have a Blessed Week!