June 24, 2018 The Nativity of St. John the Baptist

This weekend we are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the founding of our parish.  On June 22, 1988 Bishop Joseph Imesch established our parish and appointed Father Gerald Tivy as the founding pastor.  The newly created parish was first known as The Catholic Community of Fox Valley but was soon after, the overwhelming sentiment of the parish decided Our Lady of Mercy would be our identity. The first Mass for the newly founded parish was celebrated on August 20, 1988 at Waubonsie Valley High School. Father Tivy undertook the pastoral responsibility of forming and expanding a new community of faith as well fundraising for the building of a permanent place for that community to worship.  On September 20, 1997, a little more than nine years after the founding of our parish, the beautiful church we worship in today was dedicated by Bishop Imesch.  We thank Fr. Tivy, his staff, and all those founding families and those who joined the parish in those formative years for the sacrifices and dedication it took to build a community of faith and place to worship!

In 2000, after serving as pastor for 12 years, Fr. Tivy was transferred and Fr. Hugh Fullmer was appointed pastor.  During the 17 years Fr. Hugh served as pastor, the parish community continued to grow spiritually and in membership with the addition of many programs and outreach.  Also the need for permanent meeting space for RE classes, social events and parish meetings became apparent.  Fr. Hugh undertook a capital campaign to build the Parish Life Center.  Completed in 2007, the Parish Life Center is used to capacity today, with rarely an evening without something going on in the PLC.  Fr. Hugh is responsible for establishing Aurora’s longest running carnival event….MercyFest!  An event he took great delight in!  So thanks to Fr. Hugh and his staff of the 17 years he served as pastor for all their hard work at continuing to build a community of faith and service as well as building the PLC we all enjoy today.

And so it is, that one year ago on June 21st that Fr. Mark and I were appointed to serve the parish community of Our Lady of Mercy.  We have enjoyed getting to know many of you and truly appreciate the support and affirmation you have given us.  As Fr. Hugh always told me, Our Lady of Mercy is a great parish.  And it certainly is.  It is Fr. Mark’s and my vision that we continue to build here….not in physical facilities, but to build a community of ever growing disciples.  We want all who come here, parishioner or not, to experience a life changing encounter with Jesus.  To do that, we are shifting from maintenance or maintaining mode to MISSION mode.  We want to evaluate everything we do here in light of how what we are doing (programs, ministries, etc.) create the opportunities for encountering Jesus.  We will be starting Alpha in the fall – a series for anyone with questions about life, faith, God, Jesus, purpose to come together and share a meal and discussion.  In the mission mode, we want to reach beyond the doors and boundaries of Our Lady of Mercy to share the good news with those who don’t know Jesus or have fallen away from the Church.  This is a huge building project!  Not of bricks and mortar, but of something that will endure even longer – FAITH!  We look forward to your help!

Have a Blessed Week!

Father Don