May 24th | Ascension Sunday

“Why are you looking at the sky?” Today we celebrate the Ascension of Jesus to heaven. For forty days after his resurrection, he had been appearing to his disciples and speaking with them about the Kingdom of God. We are told in today’s Gospel that Jesus and the eleven disciples went to a mountain in Galilee where he told them, GO and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit and to teach them to observe all that he commanded. This is why the disciples were asked as to why they were looking at the sky. It was time to get going!! Making disciples is our mission and vision here at Our Lady of Mercy. Since the shutdown of our church, offices and parish programs due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been a challenge in making disciples without the one-to-one or group in person contact. None-the-less, our staff has risen to the challenge!!

I want to applaud and recognize our staff who have been constant in their devotion to making disciples – this time electronically! First, I am so very grateful to Fr. Mark and Zara Tan for their outstanding work in providing for the livestreaming of Sunday and daily Mass, as well as programs to keep us spiritually nourish us during this time. Thanks to Mary Jo Trapani our DRE, Dave Miserendino our Youth Minister, and Candy Rice our EDGE Director, as well as their support staff Jean Rehmer and Jean Palasz who have kept parents, catechists, and children supplied with on-line faith formation content. Trust me, none of them have been sitting home twiddling their thumbs wondering what to do!

I also want to thank parishioner Nick Meriage owner of Creative Digital Masters and his team Ann Meriage, Fred Harris, Deanna Trampani and Maddy Rusen for the professional services of livestreaming our Sunday Mass. Nick donated our first livestream Mass and has discounted by half all our subsequent livestreamed Masses. Our weekday Masses are livestreamed at no charge.

Also, making disciples, congratulations to parishioners Jason and Carrie (Beelner) Nadziejko, 2003 graduates of the University of Iowa who were recipients of The University of Iowa’s 2020 Fr. Ed Fitzpatrick Discipleship Award. Newman Singer alumni, they married in 2004, moved to Chicago and started a family in 2005. They settled in Aurora in 2007 and are currently the parents of two teenage girls. The family is involved at OLM as cantors, religious education instructors and altar servers. Both Jason and Carrie credit the Newman Center as being “a rock and constant” when they were college students and as adults raising a family. They said: “We looked for a parish family that exemplified that same stead and sturdy constant the Newman Center provided to us. We are thankful when we can use our time, talent and treasure to serve our faith family at OLM.” As recipients of the Fr. Ed Fitzpatrick Discipleship Award, the Newman Catholic Student Center at the University of Iowa has made a $500 donation in Jason and Carrie’s honor to Our Lady of Mercy Parish.

Have a blessed week!

Father Don